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Roots Travel Is About More Than Your Family Tree

Hear Judith Fein discuss her book at the San Diego Jewish Book Fair on Tuesday, Nov. 11

"The Spoon from Minkowitz: A Bittersweet Roots Journey to Ancestral Lands," is author Judith Fein's story about her lifelong obsession about her grandmother's village in Russia.

Interest in genealogy has exploded with the rise of the Internet. Sites such as lead subscribers on a journey through records and photographs to find out more about their family heritage.

But Judith Fein dug deeper than documents.

Fein, author of "The Spoon from Minkowitz: A Bittersweet Roots Journey to Ancestral Lands," said as a child she learned almost nothing about her family's past. Despite her curiosity and constant questions, Fein was only able to find out six things about her grandmother's life before she came to America:

  • Her grandmother lived at the bottom of a hill.
  • A school for Russian girls was at the top of the hill.
  • The floor of her house was made of goat excrement.
  • When her grandmother was 10 years old she dried tobacco leaves.
  • A market in her village was held on Tuesday.
  • The biggest city near her village, Minkovitz, which is in what is now Ukraine, was Kamanetz Podolsk.

That was all she knew.

But those six facts — the only clues Fein had about her grandmother's life — were all she needed to fuel a lifelong obsession about her grandmother's life in the village of Minkowitz.

Through her story of her own roots journey to Minkowitz, which is chronicled in her book, Fein said she hopes it will encourage others to make a voyage into their own heritage.

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