Non­fic­tion

The Wed­ding Photo

January 1, 2013

A vis­it to an aban­doned, Pol­ish Jew­ish ceme­tery in 1993 launch­es a 20-year search to solve the mys­tery of Who is Buried in Sarah’s Tomb?” 

A vis­it with a cousin unearths a breath­tak­ing pho­to of a Berlin fam­i­ly wed­ding from 1926, and leads to dis­cov­er­ing their unimag­in­able post-wed­ding his­to­ry. An archivist in Prague dis­cov­ers a secret uncle whose life takes the read­er from the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art in New York to the Vatican. 

A mem­oir by Philip Roth shocks a daugh­ter into unlock­ing a father’s con­cealed past. In The Wed­ding Pho­to, Dan A. Oren embarks on a genealog­i­cal jour­ney that opens new worlds. This book offers path­ways for any­one inter­est­ed in doing their own genealog­i­cal research.

The Wed­ding Pho­to is a soft-cov­er book, 224 pages, rich­ly illus­trat­ed with full-col­or pho­tos and diagrams.

Discussion Questions

Cour­tesy of Dan Oren

  1. Is doing geneal­o­gy a worth­while invest­ment of time and resources?Is doing geneal­o­gy a worth­while invest­ment of time and resources?
  2. Is there a place for geneal­o­gy in children’s or adult Jew­ish education?
  3. Whose respon­si­bil­i­ty is the upkeep and pro­tec­tion of aban­doned Jew­ish ceme­ter­ies in Poland and East­ern Europe?
  4. Whose respon­si­bil­i­ty is the upkeep and pro­tec­tion of aban­doned Jew­ish ceme­ter­ies in North America?
  5. What should or shouldn’t be done about per­son­al prop­er­ty resti­tu­tion in Poland and East­ern Europe? And if some­thing should be done, who should be doing it?
  6. What are the Patrimony”-like sto­ries of hid­den Jew­ish back­ground in your family?
  7. Is assim­i­la­tion inevitable?
  8. What do the sto­ries of Lud­wig Pol­lak and The Wed­ding Pho­to teach about Jew­ish security?
  9. What does The Boy in the Sailor Suit” teach us?
  10. What is keep­ing each of us from dis­cov­er­ing our own stories?