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Oliver Pollak


Oliver B. Pollak is a freelance writer in Richmond. He may be contacted via [email protected]

Scholars Detail Growth of American Jewish History

Conversations with Colleagues, On Becoming An American Jewish Historian, edited by Jeffrey S. Gurock (Brighton, MA: Academic Studies Press, 2018) 270 pages. Conversations Between Colleagues has a personal, useful and informative festschrift flavor that honors the profession of American...
Tristan Surtel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Jewish Historians of England

Twenty Years On, Views and Reviews of Modern Britain by Peter Stansky; Pinehill Humanities Press, 2020. Peter Stansky born in Manhattan, graduated from Yale, Harvard, and King’s College, Cambridge where he earned his doctorate studying...
Photo opportunity outside of the Idaho Potato Museum in Blackfoot, ID. 130 Northwest Main St; Blackfoot, ID 83221

There are museums for so many interests

Fantasize. Plan an imaginary trip. Breakout mentally from pandemic limitations The world is awash with museums. It demonstrates the human need to remember and pass on artifacts of the heights and depths of civilization. The Reader’s...

Downsizing generations of family photos

I owned a Kodak Brownie, 16 mm Minox, Petri, Minolta, film in a box, Cannon and a Polaroid. Karen had an Olympus and a Fuji. Between us we have owned three Cannons. Fabled German...

Following up a 101-year-old tragedy

The 1918-1919 “flu” epidemic took between 2,800 and 7,500 Nebraska lives, 974 of them in Omaha. On July 4, 1919, the weekly Omaha Jewish Bulletin published “Breaking Lives and Homes for Profit.” It read: Fanny Skulke came with...
Plague of the Frogs - G.N.Petrov (ru:Г.Н.Петров) / Public domain

Books, Internet tell of plagues through history

I am sheltering in place. The health departments of the six Bay Area Counties have ordered stringent social distancing to protect all of us, seniors included. I’m more than a bit of a nut...

Book Review: ‘Jews in Medicine’

Jews in Medicine, Contributions to Health and Healing through the Age by Ronald L. Eisenberg Jerusalem and New York: Urim Publications, 2019, 464 pages, $29.12 This 464-page encyclopedic reference book starts with the Talmud and...

A pair of Polish films at S.F. Jewish film festival

What do you get when you have two films: a husband with a wife from Paris who wants to bury her one-year-old son’s foreskin in Poland; and a brother and a sister from Toronto...

Nazi, Soviet literature profit centers for bookseller

The New York Times reported on February 7, 2019 about a court decision in which the Austrian government has to pay a property owner in Braunau, a town of about 16,000 people in upper Austria, $1.7...
Photo by Anomalous_A via Flickr

Obituaries and the Greatest Generation

Holocaust Survivors are our Greatest Generation. Their resilience and immigrant contribution to American life is formidable and compelling. The Bay Area is home to between 210,000, and 350,000 Jews. During 2018, the biweekly J of Northern...