Romania: Films and genealogy enthrall audience
Romanian Enjoyment, an evening dedicated to the heritage of the Jews of Romania, took place in front of a full auditorium on November 22, 2012. The first part of the event featured a lecture by Haim Ghiuzeli, Director of the Databases Department of Beit Hatfutsot on the fascinating story and history of Jewish Romanian family names. Ghiuzeli focused on the various ways in which the Jews of Romania adopted these names during the 19th century while providing explanations on the meaning of some of the more popular family names – such as Cusmaru, Cojocaru, Pitaru, Opincaru, Ciubotaru, and many others.
Romania was a meeting place for Jews who immigrated there from Galicia, Ukraine, Hungary and Moravia as well as Sephardic Jews who arrived from the Ottoman Empire. As a result the family names of Romanian Jews can be traced back to various sources and languages, amongst them Yiddish, German, Russian, Hungarian and Spanish, as well as Romanian.
The second part of the evening featured a selection from the museum’s rich collection of rare films introduced and moderated by Rivka Aderet of the International School for Jewish Peoplehood Studies (ISJPS) at Beit Hatfutsot. One of the highlights was “A Romanian Wedding”, a rare movie showing the wedding of a Jewish couple in the Romanian city of Ploesti in 1926. The audience also enjoyed fragments from a documentary film describing the daily life of the tiny Jewish community of Radauti, northern Romania, in the early 1970s, as well as more recent documentary footage on the former Jewish community of Sacel in the region of Maramures, and a field trip across Romania by the renowned American musicologist and kleizmer artist Yale Strom and his wife Elizabeth Schwartz who went in the search of the musical heritage of the Jews of Romania.