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Announcement about my JRI-Poland colleague Robinn Magid, who received a well-deserved honor from her ancestral city of Lublin.
On behalf of the board of JRI-Poland, I am pleased to announce that our colleague Robinn Magid, long-time board member and Lublin Archives Coordinator, was among a select group who received a civic medal last week honoring her contribution to the City of Lublin.
On the occasion of the ancient city's 700th birthday, during a reunion of descendants of Lublin Jewish families, the Mayor of Lublin commended Robinn for inspiring the citizens and helping shape the local identity of the city. For more than 10 years, Robinn has worked closely with Brama Grodzka / TeatrNN, a cultural center in Lublin, partnering with them and the Lublin Archives, to recover and preserve the memory of the Jewish citizens in her grandmother's beloved hometown.
Visit the JRI-Poland homepage at http://www.jri-poland.org
to read more about Robinn's work.
Mazel Tov, Robinn! From Strength to Strength!
Stanley Diamond
Executive Director, 
For the Board of JRI-Poland

From: Alison Marshall <alison.marshall5@btinternet.com>
Date: Fri, Aug 24, 2018 at 5:44 AM
Subject: Request for further information
To: <egl.comments@gmail.com>

Dear Eilat Gordon Levitan
Thank you for your excellent website, which is a mine of information. However, I am seeking some follow up details and there are some unclear references. I wonder if you can help me.
On this page http://www.eilatgordinlevitan.com/krakow/krkw_pages/krkw_archives.html there is a half page or so of writing headed ‘Sephardic Families in Poland’. I am very interested in specifically the second paragraph –
During the 17th century, some Italian-Jewish physicians migrated to southern Poland. One, Chaim Felix Vitalis, a graduate of Padua University (Trunk 1952:56), was possibly a Sephardic Jew. Some Jews from Italy and other Mediterranean countries who lived in Poland undoubtedly were of Ashkenazic origin. For example, in the 17th century, David Morpurgo is found in Krakow (Balaban 1912:182); his name was derived from the German town of Marburg (JE 9:30). Joseph Solomon Delmedigo (1591-1655), an Ashkenazic scholar from Crete, lived for some years in Lublin. In 1597 in the town of Przeworsk in southern Poland, Abraham Italius was appointed rabbi (Horn 1970 (2):23). Since a Sephardic Jew was unlikely to have become rabbi of an Ashkenazic community, this Jew, whose name clearly indicates his Italian origin, must have been Ashkenazic. Another medical doctor, Moses Montalto, died in Lublin in 1637 (Trunk 1952:21); his name was derived from the town of Montalto in Italy. He was a son of a cousin of the Marrano physician Amatus Lusitanus (1511-68), who originally had come from Portugal (Shatzky 1957:76). Moses Montalto played an important role in the life of Lublin's Jewish community. His son, Eliahu Montalto, was also a prominent doctor. Fortis de Lima was another Sephardic family that became famous in Poland. In Jewish sources, that name appears as qzc (Halperin 1945:277), the Hebrew translation of the Latin fortis, meaning strong. Isaac Fortis was an important physician in southern Poland during the first part of the 18th century. His son, Majer, was appointed rabbi in Moþciska (EnJ 6:1055, 1056). In some Polish sources, Majer's surname is spelled Fortesz (Horn 1984:1:20).
The reason for my interest is that I think I may be related to the Fortis de Lima family. My grandfather was Professor Meyer Fortes, the well-known anthropologist and we are also related to Abe Fortas (my grandfather’s first cousin), who was legal adviser to President Lyndon Johnson and a Supreme Court Justice. The family name is known to be Sephardic and the story we have is that they spent some time in Italy, after leaving Portugal, which fits with what I have read about the Fortises in your book. My great great grandfather (also called Meyer and with a surname Russified to Fortus) was born in Odessa in approximately 1832 and he lived with his uncle, who was a Rabbi.
So all this fits, but to prove the link I need to get from Poland in 1720 to Odessa in 1832! I am struggling to find the references, particularly Horn 1984 and EnJ 6. Can you advise what this might be? I think EnJ might be Encyclopedia Judaica, but I am not quite sure how I find that particular page online.
Or can you suggest any other lines of enquiry that may help?
Many thanks.
Best wishes
Dr Alison Marshall
+44 7702 358110