2003 - A Successful Conference
The 23rd IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy was
a great success!. Our hats are off to Sheri Meisel, Ben Okner, and
Eli Savada (along with scores of volunteers) who put on a great
Next year in Jerusalem!
Here is an update of IAJGS “stuff” from the conference.
Awards - The achievement
awards for 2003 were presented at the banquet on Thursday evening:
-Lifetime Achievement Award to Miriam Weiner, Outstanding Contribution
to Stephen Morse for his one-step web pages, - Outstanding Project
to the JGS of Montreal for Quebec vital records indexing. - Outstanding
Publication to the JGS of Palm Beach County for their Beginner’s
The IAJGS Stern Grant
- This year the Stern Grant went
to University of Denver Ira M. Beck Memorial Special Collection
Archives to support their effort to index about 25,000 patient files
covering 15,000 patients from 1904-1920.
- The IAJGS balance sheet remained flat, with income of $9,700 and
expenditures of $9,800 for 2002. Dues provide about half the income
with the remainder being donations (primarily Stern Fund), and sales
of CD/ROMs. - Our president, Hal Bookbinder, noted that the costs
are kept down through the generosity of the IAJGS board members,
who absorb much of the cost of their participation.
- The IAJGS welcomed two new societies this year, Western Massachusetts
JGS and Utah JGS. There are ongoing discussions with a number of
other areas where we continue to encourage the formation of new
Future IAJGS Conferences
- The 2004 IAJGS Jewish Genealogical Conference will be in Jerusalem
and the 2005 conference will be in Las Vegas. Representatives from
the Israel Genealogcial Society, including Martha Lev-Zion, Chana
Furman, and Jean-Pierre Stroweis welcomed us to “Next Year in
Jerusalem.” - Hal Bookbinder has requested for
bids for hosting IAJGS conferences in years later in this decade,
with responses due by October 1, 2003. The IAJGS board will consider
the bid responses at its Fall board meeting. If any society would
like a copy of the bid package, or have any questions, they should
contact Hal Bookbinder.
- The First IAJGS Genealogy Cruise is planned for December
1st-5th, departing from Miami for Key West and Cozumel. Speakers
include Warren Blatt, Hal Bookbinder, Peter Lande, Stephen Morse,
Daniel Schlyter, and more. - Time to book and get a free cabin upgrade
is running short (expiring September 1st). Check the IAJGS web site
(www.iajgs.org) for more information. NOTE: At the End of August
the board of directors regretfully had to cancel the cruise due
to lack of participation. All who had registered for the cruise
will receive a full refund of their deposits and fees.
IAJGS Cemetery Project
- The IAJGS Cemetery
Project (the cataloguing of Jewish cemeteries around the world)
continues under the leadership of Ellen Sadove Renck. The cataloguing
of burials is, of course, now being done as separate JewishGen project.
- Ellen asks that each society check the web site (http://www.iajgs.org/cemetery/)
for completeness in their area of the world. Also, should members
of your society know of Jewish cemeteries elsewhere, they are strongly
encouraged to provide information to Ellen to be included on the
web site. Ellen could also use some assistance in maintaining the
cemetery web site. So, if you or a friend know HTML and are willing
to help, please contact Ellen by E-mail.
A suggestion was made at the annual meeting that the IAJGS Cemetery
Project track cemetery restoration efforts. Some of this information
is already included. Ellen would certainly include more such information
if it is available to her. If anyone would like to volunteer to
focus on this area, please let Ellen or Hal Bookbinder know of your
IAJGS Chat Site
- Hal announced that the IAJGS has created a
Chat Site with plans for its use to facilitate live discussions
with experts, and for less formal birds-of-a-feather sessions. You
can connect to the IAJGS Chat Site through a link on the IAJGS home
page (www.iajgs.org) and will
be undergoing beta-testing for several months, while we work out
logistics for its use. -Twenty individuals at the Annual General
Meeting volunteered to participate in this beta-testing. One issue
of which we are aware is that the AOL browser does not work with
the chat site. We are working with AOL on a solution. But the workaround
is to use another browser, like Internet Explorer, rather than the
native AOL one.
Film Lending Agreement
- Hal announced that the IAJGS and the Jewish Community Library
of Los Angeles had signed an agreement that will allow representatives
of IAJGS member societies to borrow from the extensive (1000+) film
library of the Jewish Community Library of Los Angeles. The only
cost will be for shipping the video back to the JCLLA so long as
it is returned on time and undamaged. The particulars of the program
have been on the IAJGS website. A list of about 35 videos available
under the agreement which are specifically geared to Jewish genealogy
or culture was distributed to those attending the annual meeting.
Legislative / Records
Update - Last August, the IAJGS intervened in California,
lobbying against a bill that would severely restrict access to vital
records state-wide. As a result of coordinated lobbying by several
interest groups, the bill was substantially loosened before final
passage. In May, the IAJGS contacted the German Minister of the
Interior, lobbying for loosening access to German vital records.
For all intents and purposes, most of the records are now closed.
We were provided with assurance from the Minister’s office that
a bill that will allow genealogical access will become law in 2005.
The leaders of the JGS of Hamburg were most pleased with this result.
We are beginning a campaign now to lobby the entities that provide
oversight to the International Tracing Service to open these records
so that individuals can better achieve closure regarding those who
perished in the Holocaust. We will keep you posted on progress.
IAJGS Bylaws Amendments
- IAJGS Bylaws were amended to remove term limits on IAJGS board
members (except the president who will continue to be limited to
two consecutive terms). Another amendment cleaned up some fuzzy
IAJGS Board Elections
- The recommendation of the nominating committee was approved by
the membership, resulting in Hal Bookbinder being re-elected as
President, Michael Brenner being elected as Vice-President, Joel
Spector being re-elected as Secretary, and Michael Posnick being
re-elected as Treasurer. Anne Feder Lee, who had been Vice-President,
chose not to stand for re-election. She has contributed a lot and
will be missed. As Michael Brenner was elected as an officer, his
position as a director became open. In accordance with the IAJGS
bylaws, the Board selected Ellen Shindelman Kowitt to serve the
remaining one-year portion of Michael’s term.
Annual Meeting participants received a CD/ROM
containing six years of Jewish Genealogy Yearbooks (1998-2003) in
their packets. The packets also contained materials pertaining to
many of the items above as well as a list of JGS Society project
ideas constructed by Anne Feder Lee and Martha Lev-Zion along with
a list of JGS programming ideas constructed by Judy Frazin, Hal
Bookbinder, and Jan Meisels Allen.