by Binny Lewis

Dear JewishGen Community,

The Yizkor Book Team is concerned about the global impact being caused by the Corona pandemic. We mourn the loss of great people who have left us, and acknowledge the suffering of many more. It is difficult to find comfort in today’s times. Only through our families, which have now expanded to include the Jewish people and the global community, may we find a sense of unity and peace.

We are committed to continuing operations as usual and helping spread the experiences of generations who have witnessed events similar to those of our days. Although there may be slight delays, our Translators and Project Coordinators are focused on adding more English translations to the website.

We are remaining positive and focusing on the important work remaining for us to do. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who are suffering, and for all of us to find peace of mind in these turbulent times.

Passover Companion

We were pleased to reissue the JewishGen Passover Companion. The companion featured first hand accounts of celebrating Passover throughout the past few hundred years. These accounts have been extracted from many Yizkor Books found on the JewishGen website for your reading pleasure.

Weekly Yizkor Excerpt

Prepared by Bruce Drake
At the end of each week, we have been featuring excerpts from Yizkor books in JewishGen’s archive. I struggled this week to find a Yizkor book excerpt that felt right to me. The last few weeks have been grim ones for many, out of fear of the coronavirus, the illnesses and deaths it has caused, and the disruptions to peoples’ lives.

So, instead I collected some passages about caring for the sick .  Part of the tradition was represented by the concept of Bikur Cholim (visiting the sick), which also was a social institution in many communities. “We know that a healthy person needs a friend, the sick person needs even more a human being that is willing to listen to him,” the Zloczew book says. (Continue reading the full excerpt by Clicking here).

Summary of Recent Progress

  • Last month we translated 465 pages – all of which are freely available online via the JewishGen Yizkor Book Project page.
  • We have completed Phase 2 of the Priority Book List. The data from this phase will be added periodically to the website in the coming months.
  • From Phase 1 & Phase 2, we have verified that there are 54 ACTIVE projects to translate Yizkor Books. Click here to see the list of ACTIVE projects.
  • Already, with data from Phase 2 of the Priority Book List project, we have now added progress bars (   ) to each of the ACTIVE projects so one can see how much of the book has been translated. The ACTIVE project list can be seen on the bottom of the homepage by Clicking here.
  • A group of Project Coordinators have agreed to Beta Test our new workflow and we began shortly after Passover.

Translations Recently Completed

New Yizkor Books Available in Hard Copy

New Projects 
The Yizkor Book team has begun many new projects over the past few months and will be working hard during the next few years to complete them. Please consider becoming a supporter of the projects below or any of our projects. See the full list by clicking here!

Does Your Ancestral Shtetl Have a Yizkor Book?
We have completed over 90 Yizkor Books that the Yizkor-Books-In-Print has published in the last 10 years. We have also finished translating over 160 books in the last 20 years, which are live on our website.

  • Click here for a guide to find the status of your book.
  • Click here to browse the list of all books on our website.
  • Click here to see the list of printed Yizkor Books now available in Hard copy. 

To over 100 individuals who are actively working on Yizkor Book Projects, and to the many more volunteers who have helped in the recent past (and hopefully in the near future) — thank you for all that you are doing!! Without your tireless devotion, we could not continue to do the amazing work of making available the first hand accounts of the Jewish people describing their lives before the World Wars that are contained in the Yizkor Books.
Thank you!!

We are expanding the Yizkor Book Team!!

We are working on many upcoming projects including a Priority Book List to translate, New Workflow, Web Redesign and more. If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering for the Yizkor Book Project, please see the information below:

Perhaps your skills can be of assistance?

  • We need volunteers with lots of skills!! Are you interested in being a translator for Yizkor books? Do you have a background in coding or web development? If you would like to dedicate your time and skills please apply to volunteer by following this link.

Want to lead a Yizkor Book Project?

  •  If you are interested in being a Project Coordinator, please see this “Getting Started Guide” which should start you on the journey.

Become a supporter today!

If there are any mistakes in this newsletter, please feel free to reach out so I can correct the information appropriately as soon as possible.

All the best,
Mr. Binny Lewis
Director of Special Projects – Yizkor Books