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Ira Siegal Links Family Roots to a BZBI Torah

April 20, 2020

BZBI member Ira Siegal recently delivered a well-received lecture to the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Society’s Philadelphia chapter.

Ira’s great grandfather, Moshe Schreider, a widower, moved from Belarus to Dublin in 1885 with his son Isaac (Ira’s grandfather, born in 1883) and daughter, Anna (born in 1885). He brought a Sefer Torah with him.

Ira researched the rest of the story with Dr. Munro Price, a history professor at the University of Bradford, UK. It turned out that Munro is the great grandson of Matisyahu Schreider, a Hebrew teacher. His son, Hyman Schreider, became the head of Jewish education in Dublin. One of the students Hyman tutored for Bar Mitzvah was Chaim Herzog, later president of the State of Israel.

Ira used BZBI yizkor (memorial) books and cemetery tombstones to conduct additional research. He found that the  Torah was handed down to Ira’s great grandfather, Moshe Schreider and then his son, Isaac Schreider, an admired singer in the Yiddish Opera. Isaac emigrated to Philadelphia in 1908. He davened (prayed) at the Neziner Congregation, and in 1927 became president of the shul until his death in November 1947. In 1984 the Neziner Congregation was merged with BZBI. The torah was moved to our building and Ira’s parents later had it repaired and rededicated.

Four of Isaac’s great-grandchildren have read from it on their B’nai Mitzvah, and in 2015, Ira had the opportunity to do so on the fiftieth anniversary of his Bar Mitzvah.

To read more about the Schreider-Siegal family Torah, see this 2015 D’var Torah by Ira Siegal for Colin Flanagan’s Bar Mitzvah, located here.