Nu? What's New?
The E-zine of Jewish Genealogy From Avotaynu

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 15, Number 6a | February 11, 2014

Every government puts value on preserving its history. That is why we have national archives. Genealogy preserves history; the history of a family. It cannot be done without access to records, just as historians cannot preserve a nation's history without access to records. It is a greater good than the right to privacy. It is a greater good than the risk of identity theft.

Past issues of Nu? What's New? are archived at
Special Edition

Martha Lev-Zion z”l (1940–2014)
Jewish genealogy has lost one of its smiling faces. Martha Lev-Zion died on February 11 at her home in Israel.

Martha had a profound effect on genealogy both in words and acts. She was founder and president of the Negev branch of the Israel Genealogical Society and served on the founding committee of the Israel Genealogical Research Association. She was a former member of the IAJGS board of directors and past president of the Latvia SIG of JewishGen. She was co-founder and served on the steering committee of the Courland Research Group. Dr. Lev-Zion is one of three founders of the annual one-day seminar for researching genealogy in Israel and until recently actively served on that committee. She wrote extensively about the Jews of Franconia and Thüringen (Germany) and Courland (Latvia) including an article in the Fall 2013 issue of AVOTAYNU about where to look for archival records of Baltic-area countries.

She authored the book Taking Tamar which described her experiences adopting and bringing up, as a single mother, a child with Down syndrome. It demonstrated three of her personal attributes: love, warmth and persistence.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, she made aliya in 1977. Professionally, Martha was a historian of modern European intellectual history. She held a doctorate in history and was associated with Ben Gurion University in the Negev portion of Israel for many years.

Most importantly, she was a lovely person to know.

Contribute to the Success of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy
Help support a dynamic institution that in its brief existence already has been the catalyst for such benefits to Jewish genealogy as the Beider-Morse Phonetic Matching System,  Sephardic DNA and Migration project, inventorying the Paul Jacobi Collection of 400 prominent Ashkenazic lineages, the Proposed Standard for Names, Dates and Places in a Genealogical Database, and a system for Integrating Genealogical Datasets.

Visit the IIJG website at and read about these developments, as well as  ongoing and proposed projects.

Make your tax-deductible contribution by credit card or PayPal at Click the Donate link. If you prefer, mail a check to Avotaynu Foundation,  794 Edgewood Ave., New Haven, CT 06515, USA. Make the check payable to “Friends of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy.” Donations are tax deductible for U.S. taxpayers.
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