Go Back Home
Click below to view the pages for each family
Display/Hide All
 Chaiken Family of Nezhin
 Chazanov Family of Nezhin
 Fine Family of Bialystok
 Geffen Family of Vilkomir
 Goldberg Family of Jablonka
 Katz/Hollander Family
 Zavelsky Family of Glukhov
One Hundred Years Ago...1917
Births 1917
Julius Geffen
Dorothy Gefen
Sylan Geffen
Vera Florence Fine
Golda Geffen
David Geffen
Clara Geffen
Births 1817
Abraham Broida
Leyseer Geffen
William Geffen
David Bentzel Geffen
Reva Gen
Bessie Geffen

Engagements and Marriages

Joseph Geffen and Ann Ngo

On September 6, 2015

Joseph Geffen and Ann Ngu were married.
Joseph is the son of Theodore and Adele Geffen,
grandson of Joseph and Pearl Geffen and great grandson
of Rabbi Tzvie Hirsch and Taibe Geffen.




Nessa Geffen and Micah Bookman

Nessa Geffen daugter of Karan Sue Kessler and Peter Geffen,
was married December 10, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency, Jersey City.

In the Photo, the children, spouses and grandchildren of Peter and Karan..
.Peter, Susie, Micah, Nessa, Julia, Jonah, Lu holding Eva, Daniel.
Bottom row, Bina and Shula

Flower girls at the wedding.
Grandchildren, Bina, Shula and Eva



May 2017

A daughter was born to Jeremy and Sarah Baron.


May 2017

A daughter, Yael Rine, was born to Shmuel and Dafi Adler


From Judith and Kenneth Wills

A daughter, Vivian Vallejo Haraszthy, was born on July 30, 2016 to Vanessa and Kyle Haraszthy. Vanessa is the daughter of Tom Wills and the first great grandchild of Judith Geffen Wills and Kenneth Wills.



Welcome to The Family

A wonderful story with a very happy ending, or should we say beginning. Gary Land knew he was adopted and was on a quest to find his birth parents. His wife, Becky, conducted a very long and complete search. With the help of many people and finally some good luck, Gary found his father, Jon Vladimir Geffen. Jon is the son of Igor Ilyitch Geffen. Gary also found his sister Brook Geffen Prett, his brother Dr. Jon Ferrell Geffen and two aunts and one uncle.

We welcome the Lands to the Geffen Family



Gary Land 1


Judith Geffen Wills
Celebrates her 75th birthday at a big party in Los Angeles
with family and friends. Photo includes Judith and Kenneth with their three sons, one daughter-in-law and their grandchildren.

Gary Land 1

Shlomo Geffen

Click Here to Read Shlomo's Story

Family Reunification....From Robert Geffen

Dear All:
Yesterday I had the privilege of attending an historic event- the reunification of the Geffen family, or at least part of it, that was dispersed into Russia after Rav Tuvia Geffen left Kovna in 1903. Our hosts were Sergey and Nataly Engel, who actually initiated the reunification last summer when they “discovered” the American cousins in Israel after having lived in Israel for more than 10 years. The occasion was the visit of Sergey’s father- Sergey Tkachenko- who still lives in Moscow. He brought with him a beautiful book that he produced, in Russian, containing amazing photos of his ancestors- various branches of Geffens that have been living in the former Soviet Union since WW I. He gave us an abbreviated history of 20th century Russia as the backdrop for the family story. To make it short for those who might have forgotten- Sergey Tkachenko is the greatgrandson of Gittel, one of Tuvia’s sisters. Also with us were Raya Damski and her daughter Nataly. They also live in Jerusalem now. Raya is the granddaughter of Malka, another sister of Tuvia. So Sergey T.’s stories were of the descendants of Gittel and Malka, and also of the descendants of two daughters of Shalom (or Shlomo or Salomon), a brother of Tuvia’s (Peter met a nephew of these daughters in Kovno). Malka and Gittel were, according to Sergey, deported with their families by the Russians in the beginning of the first World War from Kovna to the Ukraine. After the civil war that followed the Soviet revolution, they moved to Moscow. A significant part of the story was that the photos of the Geffens who remained in Kovno (but who mostly perished in the Holocaust) and of the American Geffens (Tuvia, Hirsch, and others who made it to America) and the letters that they exchanged in the 30s, were what kept each branch aware of the existence of the other- but when Stalin’s regime made contact with the West a dangerous activity- the relationships ended and only now, 80 years later, have we rediscovered each other. I remind you that the bridge to this reunion was Marjorie Goldberg’s wonderful site – ourfamilystory.net – which is how Sergey Engel found us. Unfortunately for us (take note Marjorie)- when we really needed the site for the first time in 110 years to figure out how we were all related (Marjorie has already updated it this year with the new information), the site was on the blink and we couldn’t get into the family tree!!!

The rapt listeners included David and Sheila Wilensky, Steve and Ruth Adler, Robert and Yaffa Geffen, and M. David Geffen.


From Robert Geffen....July 2013
On Jun 22, 2013, Robert Geffen wrote..

Dear All-
It seems that our cousin, Professor Dov Levin, was recently recognized along
with other surviving partisans from WWII by Shimon Peres at a ceremony in
the President's residence.

it was held on May 6, VE day (victory over the Nazis). Dov received a medal (photos
below) inscribed on one side "Organization of Partisans, Underground and
Ghetto Fighters" and on the other side "Honor and Glory- Jewish Resistance.

Also below, a recent photo of Dov (with my daughter Aynat who just
finished her army service.

Click here to read...With a Rifle in My Hand and Eretz Yisrael in My Heart
by Dov Levin, Jerusalem

Fascinating to read and wonderful photographs..........Marjorie


From Robert Geffen....July 2014
The Story of an Underground to be published in English

"Some of you may have heard that I have been working to have Dov Levin’s first book about the underground in the Kovno Ghetto published in English. The book is now being printed. I have attached the preface I wrote and also the bio of Dov that will be in the book so that you can understand the book’s significance and why I undertook this project. On August 17 the publisher will be having a “book launch” where we will be gathering to honor Dov. If anyone will be in Israel then they are of course invited to attend. You will also be receiving shortly a letter from the publisher inviting you all to help this important book get to as many places as possible. I don’t have everyone’s emails, so please share this with all of your family and friends."

Please click here to read a biography about the author, Dov Levin, by Robert Geffen and click here to read the preface to the book

The story of an Undreground.

Click here to read the letter from the President of Israel and to see photographs from the evening honoring Professor Levin and the launch of the book


News From Rabbi David Geffen...Jan 4, 2017

On wednesday the descendants of rav tuvia and sara hene geffen who live in israel
were invited to meet with president reuven rivlin
of israel at the president's house beit hanasi
the forty people present included grandchildren, greatgrandchildren
and great-great granchildren
the mother of three great-great-great grandchildren was
there but did not bring her children too small
her grandfather was my cousin the late dr. daniel ziff

we presented him with lev tuviah edited by my cousin dr. joel ziff
and kosher usa by roger horowitz
i was given the honor of making the presentation
it was a great day
here is what i said (see below Photograph


President Reuven Rivlin of Israel, it is a great honor for all of us, the descendants of Rav Tuviah and Sara Hene Geffen to meet you personally and to make a presentation from our family. What a privilege it is to be able to give these two "sefarim" to you. One is entitled "Lev Tuviah" which contains selections from Rav Tuvia's writings, including his derasha on May15 1948, and articles about him and Sara Hene by their children and grandchildren. The other book is "Kosher USA" by Professor Roger Horowitz. In it is a chapter which relates the complete story, how in 1935, Rav Tuvia changed two ingredients of Coca Cola so it would be kosher and koshe rfor Passover .A musmach of Slobodka Yeshivah, he and his wife chose toto go to the USA in 1903, making it possible for his many descendants to survive in America and now in Israel. In 1910, Rav Tuvia moved his family to Atlanta, Georgia where he served as a rabbi both for the community and also for the entire southern part of the USA for the next 60 years.

In addition to his scholarly writing in Hebrew, which first appeared here in Jerusalem in 1909 in the HaMaasef monthly, he was a man of action: He freed an innocent Jewish man from Georgia Chain Gang; he set standardsfor Jewish education for Atlanta and the south; twelve rabbis were his students; he maintained the authenticity of kosher slaughterers by checking their knives; he pursuedand caught husbands who had abandoned their wives, making sure they requested a get to be written so that their wives would not be agunot .His eight children were most important to him. He taught his 4 daughters and his 4 sons appropriate works of Judaism: Chumash and Rashi, Mishna, Dinim andTalmud. He helped each one learn how to write Yiddish.Hundreds of Yiddish letters from Iceland, Manila, Yokohamain WW2, from Spartanburg South Carolina, fromNew Orleans, from St. Louis, Minneapolis and New York are found in Rav Tuvia and Sara Hene's archives in New York. His grandchildren, who began to make aliyah in 1968 wrote letters in Hebrew to him. One of his sons wrote Hebrew letters to his father for 30 years.Two "pesukim" from the Torah were very important to Ra vGeffen, and coincidentally they appear in the Joseph stories that we are reading in the Beit Knesset during this period.In Parshat VaYeshev it says - "halomo le Yosef ...vehinaigeffen lefanai": the gematria of "halomo" is equivalent to "Tuvia ben" and Rav Tuvia's father was Yosef Geffen.In Parshat Miketz are the words "ish asher ruah elokimbo." Rav Tuviah was filled with ruah and expressed it throughout his 99 and a half years.Why do their descendants take such pride in Rav Tuvia and Sara Hene? Because of their values including -helping others, "hachnassat orchim," Jewish learning, love of Am Yisrael and Medinat Yisrael and Zionut.

President Rivlin you honor us all by accepting these books.



Rabbi Wendi Geffen....July 2015

Rabbi Wendi Geffen has served as one of the rabbis at North Shore Congregation Israel since her rabbinic ordination in 2002, assuming the role of senior rabbi in July 2015. A visionary, thought leader, and distinguished orator and teacher, Rabbi Geffen is passionate about Judaism, Torah, and the ways these ancient sources of wisdom add meaning to our lives and enable us to better our world today. She dedicates herself to learning and teaching with those interested in developing their own Jewish identities and Jewish journeys, no matter their age or background. She sees tikkun olam, the Jewish tenet of repairing the world, as a critical part of living a Jewish life, and works to empower to synagogue and larger Jewish community around the imperative to pursue tzedek/justice. Able to present complicated, nuanced Jewish texts and ideas in an accessible way, Rabbi Geffen is regularly sought as a teacher and speaker, and her writing has been published by The URJ, The Huffington Post, American Jewish World Service, as well as other prestigious publications.

Rabbi Geffen has served in various leadership roles within the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and is currently the chair of the 2017 CCAR Convention. She is a “Rabbis Without Borders” Fellow of Clal, as well as a 2012-2013 Writer’s Fellow of AJWS. Additionally, she recently completed an 18-month clergy leadership fellowship through the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, and is looking forward to being a part of their Chevraya program as part of her commitment to ongoing study and spiritual growth. Locally, Rabbi Geffen serves on the Executive Board of the Chicago Board of Rabbis, the Board of JCFS’ Response Center, the Advisory Council of Glencoe Family Services, and is involved with the JUF’s Jewish Community Relations Council.

Rabbi Geffen is married to Scott Duby, and they are the proud, albeit sometimes exhausted, parents of two children.




Rabbi Jonah Geffen

Rabbi Jonah Geffen will be officially installed as a Rabbi of Congregaation Shaare Zedek on January 10, 2016.

................................................................................................................................................................. Letter From David Geffen September 2015

dear all
My situation is such - Rita has been moved to a nursing home nofei yerushalayim
in bayit vegan in Jerusalem. Each day is different - avie elissa tuvia have worked
very hard to find an appropriate facility in which rita can be helped. If you want to write
to her - send your message to me - I will print it out and give it to her.

Because of the world reaction to the family event we held in Jerusalem in 2010
for 40th yahrzeit of Rav Tuvia 'zl, many nice articles were written and almost 400 websites
now exist to honor Coca Cola Rabbi. In April or May 2016 Columbia University Press
will issue a new book "Koisher USA" by Professor Roger Horowitz. When he was commissioned
to write a new history of kashrut 6 years ago, Professor Horowitz did not know of the
work of Rav Tuvia z'l. In the book a chapter will be devoted to Rav Tuvia z'l and Coca
Cola rooted in a number of publications written by Professor Horowitz on this topic.

The wondrous work of Marjorie Goldberg in updating the vibrancy of our family story
can be seen on the website she began over 2 decades ago. I want to commend her
for being so involved with the tale of Geffens from the 18th century until today.
Our matriarch and patriarch would be thrilled to follow all that has transpired.

In Rav Tuvia's 1945 diary translated by Helen Geffen Ziff z'l there are two entries
I want to share with you.
On Tuesday August 7 1945 - Rav Tuvia wrote:
"There was very interesting news in the English paper today(Atlanta Constitution).
It is not war news but it is news that touches on war. If it is true, the war
will end, fine, but if there will be war that means the end of the entire world.
They have discovered how to manufacture a certain kind of bomb that has the
power to destroy a country with its explosion. The bomb itself is not large, but its
power is not to measure or weigh. They have been working on this bomb for
about 10 years here in the United States in great secrecy. A few days ago a test was made
with a very small bomb and it worked in the test. It is called the atom bomb."

On Friday September 7 1945 - he wrote:
"Today is the last day of the year. From last year at this time until today much
has happened. Last year the world was still involved in the mammoth struggle
and thousands were killed in bitter darkness. This year a light is shining in the world.
The war has ended on both fronts in Europe and Asia on both sides of the world.
Hashem should help so that the New Year will bring a real peace that will last a
long time. Let us wish a Happy New Year and a good life to everyone."

gmar hatima tova all our love
rita david avie orit elissa chemi tuvia keren
ori lyron eden Daniel maya adam iyar romi


Dov Levin

Dov Levin Passed away on December 3rd, 2016 in Jerusalem. Dov was related to the Geffen family via his grandmother being a sister to Sara Hene Geffen .He was a belovid friend, teacher and great human being.

Besides his own role as a partisan in the Holocaust, his research and publications on the armed Jewish resistance to the Nazis were groundbreaking and a major contribution to Jewish historiography and the history of human struggles in general. May he be remembered by all. Click here to read tributes to Dov.

Previously Noted....
An important new book, by Dov Levin, The Story of an Underground has been published in English during August 2014. Please click here to read the bio of Dov Levin and click here to read the preface by Robert Geffen. Click here to read a letter from the President of Israel honoring Dov.

"With a Rifle in My Hand and Eretz Yisrael in My Heart" by Prof. Dov Levin, Jerusalem Click here

Dr. Jeremy Geffen

It is with the deepest sadness that I share that Dr. Jeremy Geffen, my partner and best friend, passed on last Monday, June 1, 2015. I know that some of you may be aware, while some of you may not - and I send my apologies for sending this news via email, if you are just hearing it for the first time.

As many of you know, Jeremy had been struggling since October 2011 with a diagnosis of soft-tissue sarcoma, which originally presented as a malignant mass in the tibial nerve sheath of his right calf. In November 2011, he underwent a wide-excision surgery, followed by several weeks of local radiation. We had hoped at this point that the cancer was cured. In July 2013, Jeremy and I decided to move from Boulder, Colorado, to Asheville, North Carolina, where Jeremy had been offered a new position as Medical Director for Mission Health's Cancer Center. Unfortunately, just four months later, we discovered that his sarcoma had come back, metastasizing to several bones. At this point, we moved back to Boulder to be near our friends and Jeremy's oncologist, Dr. John Fleagle, and the rest of his medical team.

Since our return to Boulder in the late fall of 2013, Jeremy dealt with increasingly painful and widespread metastases to his bones. He went through an epic ordeal over the last year and a half, enduring multiple types of treatment including chemotherapy regimens and targeted drug therapies. Each treatment had significant toxicities and managed to only slow the progression of the cancer.

In March of this year, Jeremy was hospitalized with uncontrolled bone pain and pneumonia. After 17 days in the hospital, he was finally released to in-home nursing care. Since then, his condition continued to worsen. Finally, about two weeks ago, it became clear that he was entering the dying process. After several days, he passed peacefully on the evening of June 1, in the loving company of myself; his sister, Amara Geffen; and a close friend of Jeremy's, Chris Trani. Another dear friend, Peggy Wrenn - present through so much of Jeremy's journey with cancer - had been with us during much of Jeremy's final days, as well.

I wanted to let you know of this very difficult news, and to also invite you to a memorial service that we will be holding in Jeremy's honor, here in Boulder. I understand some of you will not be able to attend this memorial, and I am very sorry if the date will not work for your schedule. At the same time, I do hope you can make it.

Kristina Holmes

Anne Emple Kaplan

KAPLAN, ANNE EMPLE Formerly of New Haven, West Haven and Lauderhill, FL. Born July 25, 1914 in New Haven CT, Anne was predeceased by her parents, Barnett and Mary Goldman; her brother, Meyer Goldman; her first husband, Charles Emple; and by her second husband, Morris Kaplan, of Lauderhill, FL. She is survived by her three sons, Barry (Linda) Emple of Milford, CT, Gerald (Jo-Ann) Emple of Watertown, CT, and Theodore (Lucy) Emple of Swampscott, MA. She is also survived by her stepchildren, Larry (Maxine) Kaplan, Sharon (Jeffrey) Nadelson, Ellen (Richard) Frank. Anne took great pride in her 16 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren. Anne was devoted as a wife, as a mother to her sons, and to her family and friends. She had a beautiful, welcoming smile for visitors, and was always grateful for their attention. She was committed to family, had a fiercely independent spirit and a realistic and pragmatic view of life. Annie was the kind of person who should live forever, as she only brought selfless love, kindness and goodness to the world. She had a positive influence on everyone she met throughout her life. She was one in a million, and the world will not be the same without her. The family would like to express its appreciation to the staff and caregivers at Tower One, Shady Knoll Health Center, and to Vitas Hospice. Her service will take place at the Robert E. Shure Funeral Home, 543 George Street at 10 am on Friday, November 27, 2015. Interment will take place at the Congregation Sinai Memorial Park on Farwell Street in West Haven. Contributions in her memory can be directed to: The Towers Foundation, 18 Tower Lane, New Haven, CT 06519, or to Vitas Hospice Care, 199 Park Road Extension, Suite 102, Middlebury, CT 06762. A period of mourning will be private. www.shurefuneralhome.com
Published in The New Haven Register on Nov. 25, 2015



In Memoriam

Idan Geffen, Robert and Yaffa's son, passed away on Saturday October 17th. Please click here and here, to read the memorials for Idan by his family.