As we all know, the Jews have added a great deal to civilization, from Hollywood to quantum theory to, in a point very dear to my heart, being excused from football practice in high school so that we could observe the Jewish high holidays.
Add another point to the list - incredible genealogical resources. Last night I published a posting on JewishGen.org seeking for help in tracking down relatives who may or may not live in Israel (our latest info is 15 years old and much may have changed). This morning I had 24 emails from helpful Israeli strangers in my inbox, the vast majority of whom personally volunteered to comb the Internet and local directories themselves on our behalf. It was an extraordinary outpouring of support, and I found myself wondering if we Americans would respond so voraciously to a similar plea from a stranger abroad (though then again, all of our directories tend to be in English rather than Hebrew).
We don't expect finding any solution to our quest for family contact in Israel, especially as our last point of contact is so outdated. But major props to the Jewish community for helping a (quarter) brother out.
And if anybody out there has any tips on tracking down these cats, please let me know at mjfstewartATgmailDOTcom.
UPDATE: In the past hour, one of the relatives has been located! Maybe I should change the title to "Super-Helpful Jews"?