About Me


Though I grew up on a corn/dairy farm in New Jersey, I enjoyed the best of all worlds–a rural, riverside childhood and  alot of NYC culture

My delights include
discovering obscure literary sources that bring topics to life
and when research worlds mesh

— when my foray into porcelain history, for instance, links to a
Quantz flute  housed in an 18th century royal porcelain box

— or my exploration of ancient glassworks links not only to modern jewelry, but also to the mysteries of  techelet, a purple-blue dye that once again adorns tallit fringes.

I’ve also written Between Galicia and Hungary: The Jews of Stropkov (Avotaynu 2002), a history of the Jews of the Slovakian town that was home to my Amsel clan until 1942– and the first in English– and

Jewish Lives: Britain 1750-1950 (Pen & Sword 2013), which  features the life-stories of ten individual Jews who immigrated to Britain between 1750 and 1950, based on actual genealogical research. Their tales, enriched by a variety of sources, reflect the experiences of all immigrants as they adapted to their adopted land.

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