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Officers Elected to IAJGS Board for Two-Year Term

The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) is pleased to announce the results of the election of IAJGS officers, conducted at the 37TH IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy held recently in Orlando, Florida. All officers were elected to serve a two-year term.

Ken Bravo, of Ohio, was elected President of the IAJGS. Ken was Vice President of the IAJGS from 2015-2017 and also brings experience from his legal career and other non-profit board governance to the IAJGS. Ken was Co-Chair of the IAJGS Salt Lake City 2014 conference. Ken has served on the national board of the Alzheimer’s Association. He is a past president of both the Cleveland Bureau Jewish Education and the Great Lakes Region of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs. He has served as both Treasurer and Vice President of The Park Synagogue. He currently serves on the board of Menorah Park Center for Senior Living and chair of its Government Affairs Committee. Ken is Past President of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Cleveland and a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists. Ken has been engaged in genealogy for 35 years and is a frequent speaker on a number of genealogical subjects.

Jay Sage, of Massachusetts, was elected Vice President of the IAJGS. Jay was a Director of the IAJGS from 2010 to 2013 and Co-Chair of the IAJGS Boston 2013 conference. Jay was Co-President of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston (JGSGB) and served in other officer, director, and committee roles. Jay has been a key contributor to the IAJGS website, web developer for IAJGS LIVE! streaming, and advisor on other technical matters to both the IAJGS and other regional genealogical organizations. Jay received the 2009 IAJGS Outstanding Project Award for a Hebrew College course he co-developed. Jay received his PhD in Physics from Harvard University and is retired from MIT Lincoln Laboratory.

Avraham Groll, of New Jersey, was elected Secretary of the IAJGS having previously served a partial term as Secretary filling a vacancy. Avraham is the Director of Prior to his appointment as Director in February 2017, he served JewishGen in a variety of roles since 2008, including Administrator, Director of Business Operations, and Senior Director of Business Operations. Avraham holds an MBA from Montclair State University, an MA in Judaic Studies from Touro College, and a BS in Business Administration from Ramapo College.

Douglas Cohen, of Florida and Massachusetts, was re-elected treasurer of the IAJGS. Doug has 40+ years of financial experience, including serving as an independent consulting chief financial officer (CFO) and having been the CFO of four different Boston-area public and private companies. Doug has also served as the long-time treasurer of Temple Isaiah in Lexington, MA and is the treasurer of JGSGB. He has been researching his family for over 15 years. Doug holds an MBA degree from Stanford University and an undergraduate degree from Harvard College. He also received a Masters degree in Jewish Studies from Hebrew College.

IAJGS Announces 2017 Awards and Grants

The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) held its annual Conference in Orlando, FL July 23-28, 2017.  More than 900 participated in person and over the Internet. Participants attended more than 300 sessions and workshops with most extensive tracks on DNA and on Converso genealogy. More than 60 sessions were streamed live for those not able to be at the Conference and are available until November 1, 2017 at Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. inspired the group

The climax of the Conference is the banquet evening where awards and grants are given out to outstanding individuals and groups.  2017 IAJGS award and grant recipients are:


Jan Meisels Allen


In recognition of many years of service to genealogy, both Jewish and beyond, we are proud to grant the IAJGS Lifetime Achievement Award to Jan Meisels Allen. Jan is the founding president of the JGS of Conejo Valley, presently its programming chair, and she has been the program chair of the JGS of Los Angeles. She has served as board member and vice president of the IAJGS, and chairs its Public Records Access Monitoring Committee. Jan writes almost daily posts for the IAJGS Leadership List that keep the genealogical community well informed of current items of interest.

As conference Database Chairperson, Jan has been responsible for the resource room at IAJGS conferences for many years.  Beyond Jewish genealogy, she has been a regular speaker at FGS and NGS conferences, at the invitation of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and US Holocaust Memorial Museum, she spoke on access to Holocaust records, and has spoken on records access at European conferences. Her dedication to the cause of genealogical research and drive to work on its behalf has a continual far reaching effect. We are honored to name her as the recipient of this year’s award.


Rose Avigael Feldman


This year’s IAJGS Volunteer of the Year Award honors Rose Avigael Feldman’s dedication, encouragement, creativity, and achievements in the world of Jewish genealogy. Rose was an active volunteer in the organization of two IAJGS conferences. By contributing her time and energy to a records scanning project, documents from Israeli archives will be accessible to researchers worldwide. Rose has been and continues to be tireless in her efforts to promote Jewish genealogy: training volunteers for database work, writing and publishing articles, answering search queries, lecturing, attending genealogy lectures, and networking between people and organizations. We are grateful for her tremendous efforts and in appreciation we recognize her contributions through this award.


Reclaim the Records


This year we bestow the IAJGS Outstanding Project Award to Reclaim the Records. As such we recognize the leadership of Brooke Schreier Ganz in organizing a group of concerned individuals and advocating for governmental agencies to release public data into the public domain. Using Freedom of Information laws (FOIL) and Open Data initiatives, in just a short time the organization has secured the release of thousands of vital records indices and voters lists, with continued efforts ongoing for records throughout the U.S. This project has had and will have an important impact in making public records available without charge to the public at large.


JewishGen’s Subcarpathian SIG

The SIG has recently identified over 3000 vital record books in Ukraine’s archives covering the period from 1895-1940 as well as some late registrations dating to 1840. This grant will help them have the records photographed which will allow them to be indexed by volunteers. These records will then be posted online so they can be accessed at no charge.


Reclaim the Records

Our goal is first and foremost to win the first-ever public access to the Missouri birth and death indices.  We would put these records online for free public use, just as we have with every other record set we have won from government agencies and libraries since we began the Reclaim The Records project in 2015. This grant would help with the legal expenses they are incurring and also speed up the availability of the records.