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.


  1. Amselbird says:

    Hi Miles, I have not come across any Jewish stone-cutters in my Stropkov research. So I ‘m guessing that that was a side-business. Nor have I seen the name Gocs. If he was not Jewish, perhaps he did have plenty of work. I have no idea how you might research this. Keep me posted. And keep safe, ~m

  2. Hi Melody,

    I trust you recall me from 20+ years ago when we exchanged notes on Stropkov.

    I still have some interest in the subject, and I am wondering whether in the late-1800s there was a Jewish business in Stropkov that was involved with stone-cutting, especially making cemetery monuments. I ask because my great-grandfather (Gocs) did that kind of work, and presumably was employed by someone. I am doubtful that it could have been steady employment, since Stropkov was a rather small market, even if you include the surrounding villages.

    I’ll be glad for any information you might have.

    Stay well,
    Miles Lambert
    Williamsburg, Virginia

  3. Bill Rich says:

    Ms. Amsel-Arieli,

    I am trying to trace my ancestors and my Jewish heritage. I can trace my paternal great grandparents to Stropkov. They emigrated to the US in 1880 along with their children at the time. My great grandparents names were Henry Rich (anglicized from Reich) and Esther Rich (nee Solomon or Salamon). They had a son born in the US who was my grandfather.

    From reviewing your online materials, I know that of the 41 Reichs in Stropkov in 1942, only 3 survived . I did not see a listing for the Solomons or Salamons. Perhaps they were from another town/village. Are there genealogy records – births, deaths, marriages that you could suggest or point me to help trace my Stropkov ancestors?

    I’d like to be able to trace not only the generation(s) preceding Henry and Esther, but also their siblings/relatives that remained in Stropkov up to their deportations. I want to pass on to my children and grandchildren the far reaching impact of the holocaust. I have traced my maternal lineage to their Norweigan roots and actually visited the farmland and houses that remain in the extended family to this day. Someday I would like to visit Stropkov as well and in homage and respect to my paternal ancestry.


    Bill Rich
    Bend, Oregon

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