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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.

Harvey Krueger z”l

The IAJGS joins our genealogy societies and genealogy colleagues around the world in mourning the death of Harvey Krueger, of blessed memory.   
Harvey has been a long-time supporter of the IAJGS and its conferences. Without Harvey’s support and vision, it is likely that the LIVE! streaming of our conference sessions would not have become a reality. He took the risk to underwrite the Internet support of LIVE! during its inaugural year. Since that time, LIVE! has not only provided Jewish genealogy education to those who could not travel to the conference. but also allowed us to build a Lecture Library for societies to use to augment their programs and events - a gift that continues to give.
Besides his love of genealogy, Harvey was the first major Wall Street player to believe in Israel as an investment opportunity.  Very few have contributed as much to Israel’s place in the global economy as Harvey has.
We extend our condolences to his family and friends. May his memory be for a blessing.

IAJGS Nominating Committee 2017 and Call for Applications

The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) Nominating Committee for 2017 has been established. The Committee’s purpose is to propose a slate of candidates for election to a two-year term as IAJGS officers. The Nominating Committee members include:

Chair Jay Sage Massachusetts
Paulette Bronstein Florida
Jane Berenbeim New York
The call for applications from candidates interested in serving on the IAJGS Board of Directors is now open. This year at the IAJGS Annual Meeting, as it is an odd-numbered year and in accordance with our bylaws, we will elect four officers - President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer.  IAJGS directors must be members in good standing of at least one IAJGS member society at the time of their nomination for election or appointment and must continuously maintain such membership during their time of office. We are seeking candidates who will contribute to advancing the association in fulfilling its objectives (listed below). For background regarding the most recent accomplishments, plans, and vision of the organization see: 2016 IAJGS Annual Meeting President’s Report .

We invite all candidates who are interested in serving as an officer on the IAJGS board to submit a completed Board Application Form on-line at  /about/current-board/board-application-form/.  Information about the election and nomination process is at The deadline for receipt of Board Application Forms is 5 May 2017 at 7pm EDT.

If elected, the term begins at the conclusion of the annual meeting and ends at the conclusion of the annual meeting two years later. Candidates should be aware that serving on the board requires a commitment of time and travel expenses.  The elections will be held at the IAJGS Annual Meeting on Wednesday, 26 Jul 2017 at the location of the 37th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy at the Walt Disney World Swan Resort in Orlando, FL. More information can be found at

IAJGS Achievement Awards Committee 2017 and Call for Applications

The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) Achievement Awards Committee for 2017 has been established. The purpose of the committee is to review and select the 2017 IAJGS Achievement Award recipients. The Committee members include:

Chair Victoria Fisch California
  Ignacio Sternberg Venezuela
  Kim Sheintal Florida
  Avraham Groll New York
  Doug Cohen Florida
The call for applications is now open. The IAJGS Achievement Awards are given to individuals or organizations who have made or are making outstanding contributions to Jewish genealogy. The awards provide recognition in areas important to the growth of organized Jewish genealogy. The awards are announced at the annual IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy The 6 award categories are:

  • IAJGS Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Outstanding Project/Resource/Program
  • Outstanding Publication
  • IAJGS Member of the Year
  • Volunteer of the Year
  • Future Leader of the Year

Nominations are made through IAJGS member societies /membership/member-societies/. Please refer to /awards/iajgs-award-nominations/ for a list of all of the awards, the nomination rules, eligibility, and award criteria. At /awards/achievement-awards/ there is a list of past Achievement Award recipients. At /awards/award-nomination-form/ is the Award Nomination form.

The nomination deadline for submission of the Award Nomination Form and supporting documentation is 26 May 2017 at 7pm EDT.

Note the additional instructions this year:
  • The nomination packages should be submitted only once when all information is complete.
  • Nomination packages should include no more that five (5) personal reference letters.


IAJGS Rabbi Malcolm Stern Grant Committee 2017 and Call for Applications

The IAJGS Rabbi Malcolm Stern Grant Committee for 2017 has been established. The purpose of the committee is to review the grant applications and recommend the 2017 IAJGS Rabbi Malcolm Stern Grant and John Stedman Memorial Fund Award recipients. The Committee members include:

Chair Todd Knowles Utah
Janice Sellers California
Hazel Boon Canada
The call for applications is now open. The purpose of the Rabbi Malcolm Stern Grant and John Stedman Memorial Fund Award is to encourage non-profit institutions or organizations, Jewish or not, to pursue projects, activities and acquisitions that provide new or enhanced resources to benefit Jewish genealogists. The Rabbi Malcolm Stern Grant honors Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern, widely considered to be the dean of American Jewish genealogy, and his efforts to increase the availability of resources for Jewish genealogical research. The available grant is in the amount of $3,000 USD, subject to board and membership approval. Additionally, the IAJGS received a grant from the estate of Jon Stedman to honor his late father, John Stedman, an avid and accomplished genealogist. A special $3,000 USD grant will also be available in the memory of John Stedman under the Rabbi Malcolm Stern Grant for 2017.

These grants are recommended by the Committee and must be approved by the IAJGS board of directors and the IAJGS membership at the IAJGS Annual Meeting held during the annual IAJGS conference. The grants are announced at the annual IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy

Nominations may be made by an individual or group, IAJGS member society or non-member, or self nominated. The Committee can proactively pursue additional nominees. Please refer to /awards/iajgs-award-nominations/ for the Nomination Rules and Grant Criteria. At /awards/rabbi-malcolm-stern-grant/ there is a list of past Grant Award Recipients. At /awards/stern-nomination-form/ is the Grant Nomination Form.

The deadline for submission of the Grant Nomination Form and supporting documentation is 26 May 2017 at 7pm EDT.