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Honoring Ann Meddin Hellman with the Order of the Jewish Palmetto

May 2, 2015
Charleston, SC

Reception Honoring Ann Meddin Hellman, recipient, Order of the Jewish Palmetto

Jeffrey Rosenblum’s Speech Honoring Ann Meddin Hellman

I have known Ann and Max almost as long as I have lived in Charleston, and have shared many good times with them. My wife Mickey attended Ashley Hall with Ann. Mickey’s parents, and Ann’s parents, Doris and Hy Meddin, were friends. So it is with great personal pride and pleasure that I stand before you today to award to Ann the Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina’s highest honor.

Webster defines the word website as:

“a place on the World Wide Web that contains information about a person, organization, etc., and that usually consists of many Web pages joined by hyperlinks”

How many of us, growing up and throughout our younger lives, used web pages as the basis of our research for a school or college paper? Unless you are our children’s or grandchildren’s generation none of us new of web sites. We used card catalogues in libraries, our research was limited to what was within the libraries’ stacks. Ann was one of us whose life was also limited to what was in the library stacks, but yet she understood the power of a web site, and pioneered and developed a web site for our organization so all who are interested can access the Historical Society’s archives and links.

Historical Societies are groups of individuals who want to promote, research, or categorize a specific interest in order to document and/or to educate. What is important, is what Ann has accomplished, by converting a card catalogue into a living World Wide Web Site, accessible by all regardless of where one lives or when one wants to access it. Ann has brought South Carolina Jewish History to the world, to all that have a computer and are able to connect to the internet. When we established the Society, we as South Carolinians did not know much of our own Jewish History, and there were no Jewish records. Now our history is an open book for all to read because of Ann’s efforts.

The Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina’s Web Site contains –

         SC Jewish History and Information

         SC Jewish Publications and Books

         SC Jewish Historical Sites

         SC Burials and Memorial Plaques

         SC Places of Worship, Cemeteries, and Community Centers

         The Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program

         The SC Jewish Heritage College

all in addition to…..

Events and news of the Society and ongoing Society Research and Programs.

Part of this Web Site is a Section devoted to Cemeteries. Jewish religious customs require that Jewish burial sites be held in reverence, yet in South Carolina Jewish Burial Sites were not even formally identified, let alone known.

Ann realized that there was no documentation of the Jewish cemeteries within South Carolina and who was buried at each burial site. She took a project initiated by the late Stanley Farbstein and ran with it. Ann established a link between the deceased, historical events, and people unfamiliar with their past. She proceeded to document the burial places of the individuals, who rest in peace, within these cemeteries. In order to accomplish this on a State wide basis she solicited help from individuals within the Society to document the Cemeteries within their geographic area. Ann collected the research, traveled the State with her loyal husband Max, and photographed and documented cemeteries across South Carolina.

Ann continued her pursuit of Jewish South Carolina history by documenting her family’s heritage, Jewish genealogy of the Meddin – Hellman clan. Ann’s interest grew into an almost obsession, a deep devotion to her family’s history. Ann became a national authority on Jewish Genealogy attending national conferences and conducted and lectured at several weekend and full day lectures on “How to” research your family roots for the JHSSC. She did all of this and managed to be a board member, officer, and President of the JHSSC, in addition to being a wife, mother, and grandmother.

Ann’s accomplishments could not happen without the support of Max. He traveled the state with Ann, and assisted her at every turn

Richard and Max please join me.

Ann, you are responsible for developing a World Wide Web Site, for developing exclusive Jewish cemetery records, and Jewish Genealogy Education. Ann, you are a model for any professional organization, doing as a volunteer what it would take professionals many years to accomplish. It is for this reason that the Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina, at its May 2, 2015 meeting held at the College of Charleston, is proud to bestow to Ann Meddin Hellman the Order of the Jewish Palmetto Award. Ann, you deserve this award, and Max, Richard, and I are proud to present it to you.

Pictures taken by Jeri Perlmutter and Max B Hellman

 

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Sylvia Vlosky Yaschik Jewish Studies Center
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Phone: 843 953 3918
Email: jhssc@cofc.edu