Nu? What's New?
The E-zine of Jewish Genealogy
Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 7, Number 14 | September 6, 2006

IIJG Symposium September 10–12
This weekend I fly to Israel to participate in a symposium by the recently created International Institute of Jewish Genealogy. It is being held in Jerusalem on the campus of Hebrew University.

The founding of the Institute will undoubtedly be another milestone in the history of Jewish genealogy, along with other major events, such as the creation of Jewish genealogical societies and JewishGen. Its goal is to take genealogy beyond the hobby stage and to integrate it with other areas such as history, onomastics, migration studies, genetics and archives. It also wants to create an academic curriculum for genealogy.

Genealogy as a hobby has already made contributions to these disciplines, but the motivation was focused inwardly toward the needs of family history research. We have published reference works, histories and yizkor books. We have created online databases. We are involved in group DNA studies.

The goal of the symposium is to develop a direction for the Institute over the next few years and, within that, to produce a list of recommended research topics in each area under discussion. On the teaching side, it will seek to elaborate the necessary elements for university courses in Jewish genealogy as well as the tools and technological aids required for the teaching of those courses.

Information about the Institute can be found at Additional information about the symposium can be found at The symposium is not open to the public. Attendance is by invitation only.

Below is a list of participants in the symposium. Of the 26 named participants, 16 hold doctoral degrees. My apologies if I did not get the titles or associations correct:
  • Gur Alroey, professor, University of Haifa, Department of Land of Israel Studies
  • Hadassah Assouline, director, Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People
  • Israel Bartal, professor of history of the Jewish people, Hebrew University
  • Alexander Beider, author of numerous book on Jewish onomastics
  • Sergio DellaPergola, Chairman, The Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry at Hebrew University
  • Aaron Demsky, professor, Bar-Ilan University, coordinator of the Project for the Study of Jewish Names
  • Rosalind Duke, deputy director, Jewish National University Library
  • Douglas E. Goldman, genealogist, creator of the Douglas E. Goldman Genealogy Center at Beth Hatefutsoth in Tel Aviv.
  • Ladislau Gyemant, director of Moshe Carmilly Institute and professor of European Studies, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj, Romania
  • Thomas W. Jones, Certified Genealogist, past president of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, teacher at Samford Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research
  • Susan E. King, managing director, JewishGen
  • Jean-Claude Kuperminc, Director, Library of the Alliance Israélite Universelle
  • Neville Lamdan, director IIJG and former Israeli ambassador to the Holy See
  • Dov Levin, professor of history, Hebrew University, expert on Lithuanian Jewry
  • Jeffrey Malka, author "Sephardic Genealogy"
  • Gary Mokotoff, past president of IAJGS
  • Stephen P. Morse, creator of the One-Step Site on the Internet
  • Sallyann Sack, president of IIJG, past president of IAJGS
  • Milton Shain, Head, Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, University of Cape Town, South Africa
  • Rabbi Shlomo Englard, expert on rabbinic genealogy
  • Karl Skorecki, director of Nephrology and Molecular Medicine at the Technion Faculty of Medicine
  • Jean-Pierre Stroweis, past president of Israel Genealogical Society
  • Mathilde Tagger, genealogist specializing in Sephardic history
  • H. Daniel Wagner, Livio Norzi Professorial Chair, Department of Materials and Interfaces, The Weizmann Institute of Science
  • Rabbi Meir Wunder, retired senior librarian, Hebrew University, historian on Galician Jewry
  • Yoav Yair, Director, Center for Technology in Distance Education, The Open University of Israel

Petition to Protest NARA Plans to Reduce Hours of Operation
The Federation of Genealogical Societies has developed an online petition to protest plans of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to eliminate evening and Saturday hours at their main facility in Washington, DC. An expected ripple effect is expected at the regional branches. Persons interested in adding their name to the petition can do so at (Note: the URL is case sensitive). The deadline is September 7.

Yad Vashem Wants Volunteers to Encourage Pages of Testimony Submissions
Yad Vashem wants volunteers who are willing to contact local institutions and individuals to grow the Shoah Victims Database whose principal documents are Pages of Testimony.

With the aid of promotional materials Yad Vashem has developed, volunteers will reach out to survivors and their families and assist them in registering the names of Jews who they know were murdered in the Shoah. This will be done through synagogues, Holocaust centers, Jewish Community Centers, Jewish student organizations, senior centers and social service agencies.

The Shoah Victims Names Database currently identifies about 3 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust. Yad Vashem now has an "International 11th Hour Campaign" to recover as many additional names of Holocaust victims as possible before the generation that best remembers them passes.

To volunteer send your name, address, phone number and e-mail address to with the subject heading "Names Volunteer"

Leslie Caplan Dies
Leslie Caplan—husband of the founder of the Australian Jewish Genealogical Society, Sophie Caplan—died on August 14. He was 74 years old. Caplan was a two-time president of the Executive Council for Australian, a life governor of Sydney's Jewish Communal Appeal (JCA), former president of North Shore Synagogue (1974–76), a founder and president of Masada College (1971–74) and president of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (1982–85). Caplan was awarded an Order of Australia in 1984 for services to the community. His wife, Sophie, received the award in 2000 for her contribution to Australian genealogy and history.

Site About Polish Jewry
Tomasz Wisniewski, of Bialystok, Poland, has developed yet another site about Polish Jewry. It is located at Browse the sections on Cemeteries, Word War II and Wooden Architecture. Bagnowka is the section of Bialystok that contains the largest Jewish cemetery.

On the Silly Side: Auschwitz Renamed
The United Nations has agreed to rename Auschwitz concentration camp from "Auschwitz Concentration Camp" to "the Former Nazi German Concentration Camp of Auschwitz." It was done at the request of the Polish government "to stress that Nazi Germans, not Poles, were responsible for the world's most notorious death camp." Poland objected to references to "Polish gas chambers" at the "Polish concentration camp" in foreign media.

Editor's comment: I suppose this will now stop the foreign media from referring to Auschwitz as the "Polish concentration camp."

Additional information can be found at

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