One year ago when JewishGen conceived of a "grass
roots" effort of "preserving our history for future generations" we never
imagined the excitement and the participation that it would create within the Jewish
genealogical community and the Jewish community at large.
We were certainly not prepared for the tremendous
outpouring and donations of information coming to our databases from so many people.
As we are all aware, the list is growing daily. What is
even more amazing to us is how we have been able to keep up with the increased volume of
information...and the accompanying increased volume of users.
By now, the increased bandwidth required and supplied,
is old hat...but what we've never really expressed is the fact that JewishGen has been
blessed over these many years with a cadre of volunteers who have stepped up to the plate
and it has been their enthusiasm, their dedication and their creativity which has not only
kept us afloat, it has truly made JewishGen what it is today.
Even in New York, we were "touched" by so
many of you who have shown your support and your enthusiasm to participate over the long
haul in what we feel is one of the most extensive projects for "Jewish
continuity" in the world.
JewishGen has been described as and has achieved its
distinction as the leading internet site for Jewish Genealogy for several reasons.We have
been blessed with a team of managers and volunteers who are unequaled. We have been
blessed with thousands of users who have joined this grassroots effort with vigor and
enthusiasm. JewishGen's success is the result of all of you who contribute to JewishGen
and JewishGen hosted projects. It is this grassroots effort that is so important to our
"precious history". But most important... it is a sense of being, a sense of
contribution that we are all experiencing... independently and collectively which has made
JewishGen so exciting.
It could not and would not be without all of you!
As we all prepare for a New Year and a New Year that
will cross two millenniums, JewishGen has taken several "giant steps"
organizationally to meet the growing need to continue in this upward spiral of growth.
We are pleased to announce that the Board of Directors
has elected additional officers of the corporation, officers who many of you will
recognize... because they have all been involved in the JewishGen movement for many many
We want to introduce them to you today... and hope that
you will extend your wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year to them as well, for
without them.... the information that is at your fingertips today and the information that
will be at your fingertips tomorrow would not be a reality.
Susan E. King, President
(History) Visionary and founder in 1986 of the original
150 member bulletin board which enabled people to discuss their Jewish genealogical
searches, Susan King "grew" a tiny mailing list to the leading internet site for
Jewish Genealogy known and used world wide by tens of thousands of researchers. With the
support and guidance of her Board of Directors, Susan took JewishGen into 501 c (3) status
in 1996 and became one of the leaders in Jewish genealogy as we know it today. She
has been recognized for her outstanding accomplishment by both Federation of Genealogical
Societies and the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies with
their Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996.
Carol W. Skydell, VP Operations.
(History) In 1995, when Carol offered to assist with
moderation of JewishGen, little did she know that at 70 years of age and without computer
expertise she would be leading a team of moderators initially restricted to the discussion
group, now expanded to 33 mailing lists hosted by JewishGen. Carol's writing and public
relations skills and her eye to consistency and detail have been critical to JewishGen's
growth and image over these many years. She will serve as our "traffic cop"
making certain that inquiries go to the right project managers and insuring that the legal
requirements for donated material to be made available on the JewishGen servers are met.
Warren Blatt, VP Technical Services
(History) Warren has been with JewishGen since its
inception on Fidonet. One of the original members of the JewishGen "Mod Squad",
Warren has participated on the Board since its incorporation in 1996. Warren
maintains the website and insures that enthusiasm for new information to be placed online
meets the high standards we have set for all JewishGen databases. In addition to all
else, Warren is responsible for the virtual primer on how to do research on Jewish
ancestry, the FAQ. He is most knowledgeable not only on how to do effective research, but
committed to making JewishGen more user-friendly in each edition of our home page,
InfoFiles indexing, and in the latest release of all programs that keep the behind
the scenes technical services operating at optimum.
Michael Tobias, VP Programming and Development
(History) Michael goes back with us to 1995 when he
developed the original search engines for Yizkor Book Project and REIPP, the forerunner of
JRI-PL. Among those of us who love and respect Michael for his creative ability, he
is known as "the wizard", and his wizardry has truly put JewishGen out in front
in the leadership role it presently enjoys. The search engine currently in place for the
Family Tree of the Jewish People, is a product of Michael's ingenuity, and response to
suggestions from others working behind the scenes.
Joyce Field, VP Research Projects
(History) Joyce has been involved with the Yizkor Book
Project and developed and implemented the translation project moving it from 0
translations online to a total of 125 translations in a year. Her masterful attention to
detail, her experience with and ability to deal with organizations around the world
made her a perfect choice to lead JewishGen, JewishGen projects and SIGs into the next
millennium. Joyce will set up a central clearing house for information on who is doing
which research project under the auspices of which special interest group and with which
data from which archive in which location. She will serve as research resource person to
all the mailing lists and SIGs functioning under the JewishGen umbrella.
This energetic team of VPs will be looking for folks to
work closely with them, to assist in taking small pieces of the bigger puzzle off their
shoulders. We urge you all to visit and click on the Volunteer Opportunities link in the
Share/Contribute category from the home page http://www.jewishgen.org
to see where you can fit in by offering assistance to any one of the above mentioned
officers of the corporation.
By the looks of things, we all have our work cut out
for us and the newest members even before they start. <grin> For you technical
guru's you need to sign up for Michael and/or Warren's team so watch for their requests
for help delineating specific skills. Lest the non-techies out there feel ignored, rest
assured there is a place for you with Carol's and/or Joyce's team.
And if you feel so inspired and we hope you do, that
you will make a contribution in their honor as we mark the beginning of a New Year. You
can do so now through a new JewishGen-erosity page located at:
Truly, there are no words to thank these special
individuals who have given so generously of themselves, their precious time and their
We also stand in awe over the outpouring of donations
of information that JewishGen has received from all over the world. This is just the
beginning of our effort to join with our brothers and sisters around the world... so that
together we are working toward a commonality of purpose... that the "ruins" rise
again from the ashes and that future generations will never forget what and who came
On behalf of the board of JewishGen, our new officers,
our staff we wish all of you a healthy, prosperous and happy New Year.
Susan E. King