June 19, 2017
Dear JewishGen Community,
Since the very beginning of JewishGen’s existence, we have valued free access to information, offering all of our resources at no charge. These values are fundamental to everything we do. In this regard, we are grateful that many members of the broader Jewish community have recognized the importance of our work, and have financially supported JewishGen’s efforts, permitting us to operate “in the black” for nine consecutive years.
This effort has been underway since this past February, and we have developed a comprehensive plan with metrics and benchmarks embedded in the workflow, enabling us to perform continuous evaluations throughout the duration of the project. As part of this effort, we will be hiring additional staff at JewishGen Headquarters, which is based at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City.
The first phase of this effort is scheduled to be completed by early Spring of 2018. At that point, we will immediately begin the second phase of the modernization effort, which will focus on efficiency and the user experience. In terms of leadership, we are extremely fortunate to have a new Board of Directors (elected two weeks ago), comprised of outstanding leaders and innovators who bring experience and expertise navigating the various complexities which manifest themselves within any non-profit, and particularly one as broad and diverse as JewishGen.
The JewishGen Board is led by Bruce Ratner, a successful businessman and philanthropist, and long-time supporter of JewishGen. He is joined by Michael Glickman, President & CEO of The Museum of Jewish Heritage; Peter Kalikow, President of H. J. Kalikow & Company, LLC; and E. Randol Schoenberg, a Los Angeles based attorney who was recently portrayed in the film “Woman of Gold,” and who is well-known to our JewishGen community in his role as the coordinator for the JewishGen Austria-Czech SIG Team.
On May 1st, I was fortunate to celebrate nine years working for JewishGen. I never would have imagined such a long tenure, and I consider each and every one to be part of our valued JewishGen family. Together, we have celebrated many success stories, and it is my deepest wish that each of you will experience the joys which come from connecting with relatives and understanding our collective Jewish history and heritage.
Thank you to everyone who has offered comments and suggestions the past few months. Your feedback is always welcome, and I encourage you to contact me anytime via phone (646-437-4326) or email (agroll@JewishGen.org). With your continued help and support, we look forward to taking JewishGen to the next level!
Wishing you all the best,