The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) presented its 2022 awards and grants at its virtual 42nd International Conference on Jewish Genealogy Aug. 21-25. The conference had more than 800 attendees from 17 countries and 39 states in the United States.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Harry Boonin, Philadelphia
Nolan Altman Volunteer of the Year: David Rosen, Boston
Outstanding Resource: Jean-Pierre Stroweis, Jerusalem
Outstanding Publication: San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society and the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois
Rabbi Malcolm Stern Grant: The Forward
John Stedman Memorial Grant: Stadtmuseum Hofgeismar, Germany – Jewish Department
IAJGS is an umbrella organization of more than 90 Jewish genealogical organizations worldwide. IAJGS coordinates and organizes activities such as its annual International Conference on Jewish Genealogy and provides a unified voice as the spokesperson on behalf of its members. The IAJGS’s vision is of a worldwide network of Jewish genealogical research organizations and partners working together as one coherent, effective and respected community, enabling people to succeed in researching Jewish ancestry and heritage. Find the IAJGS at: www.iajgs.org and like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/iajgsjewishgenealogy.
Background information on winners:
Lifetime Achievement Award – Harry Boonin
Harry was recognized for his pioneering role and over four decades of leadership, scholarship and mentorship in Jewish Genealogy. In 1979 Harry founded what is today known as the Jewish Genealogical and Archival Society of Greater Philadelphia. IAJGS honored him for his trailblazing, steadfast and exemplary service to the international Jewish genealogy community.
A self-taught historian, Harry has authored a prolific body of scholarship in Jewish genealogy and history, including four books and 250 journal articles. Among the writing was his first book “The Jewish Quarter of Philadelphia.” For 15 years, he led Jewish Walking tours in the area of Philadelphia identified as -for about 120 years ago – the “Jewish Quarter,” which today still has original buildings from that bygone era. In 1995 he released a book he co-authored about his family: “The Davidows: The Experiences of an Immigrant Family.” He celebrated at Ellis Island with 75 descendants celebrating the 90th anniversary of his grandfather’s arrival at Ellis Island with his wife and 7 children.
Nolan Altman Volunteer of the Year – David Rosen,
David was recognized for his outstanding support of Jewish genealogy. For more than 10 years, David has been an important contributor to the JGS of Greater Boston’s Memorial Plaques Project. Additionally, David’s’ great contribution to the Jewish genealogy community of the Boston area and beyond are the mountains of records he has transcribed and indexed himself without fanfare. He organizes the plaque photos, does the Hebrew-to- English translations and enters the data into the database template, having submitted 82,500 plaque transcriptions from 137 institutions. His award states, “His efforts exemplify volunteerism at its finest.”
Outstanding Resource – Jean-Pierre Stroweis
Jean-Pierre was recognized for the Online Memorial to the Jews deported from France, a free bilingual database of 80,000 Holocaust victims who were deported from France or murdered there. For the past 7 years, he has been working tirelessly to not only convert Serge Klarsfeld’s Memorial books into a searchable tool, but also to correct errors and add missing details based on his own research. His database links each victim’s name to other websites containing additional information pertaining to that individual, making it easier for researchers to find a victim in a range of sources via a single search. Search the Memorial at: https://stevemorse.org/france.
Outstanding Publication – Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois
The Illinois Society was recognized for its outstanding efforts to encourage engagement in research and educate its members in Morasha. Its 3-times yearly publication. Edited by Dale Amdur from Chicago, this newsletter features historical, anecdotal and research related articles written by JGSI members and concise recaps of the Society’s monthly meetings and conference participation.
Outstanding Publication – San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society
The Society was recognized for its outstanding efforts to inspire active participation among its members and excitement about Jewish genealogy in the wider community. The award recognizes the quarterly publication, ZichronNote. Edited by Janice M. Sellers of Gresham, Oregon, formerly of Oakland, CA, this journal features articles based on original research and timely commentaries written by members as well as a curated calendar of upcoming genealogy events.
Rabbi Malcolm Stern Grant – The Forward
The Forward will partner with JewishGen to create a searchable database of genealogical records found in the Forward’s “Seeking Relatives” advertisements during the period of 1920-1960. The goal is to extract the names of 500 individuals mentioned in “Seeking Relatives” ads, along with the sparse but valuable data accompanying their names. This information will be published in a free, searchable database on JewishGen.org. This project will be of particular interest to Holocaust survivors and their descendants; and scholars of 20th-century Jewish history/Holocaust history. Conducting research using the National Library of Israel’s digitized back issues is difficult, time-consuming and frustrating for non-Yiddish speakers. Creating this type of database will offer much needed guidance and ease of research. The Forward’s archivist Chana Pollack will lead the project.
John Stedman Memorial Grant : Stadtmuseum Hofgeismar, Germany – Jewish Department
The Stadtmuseum Hofgeismar is represented by Julia Drinnenberg, educational leader of the Jewish department. This “make old tombstones talk again” project will focus on nine large and small cemeteries in the Kassel district in Germany that have not been explored. The work will include measuring the terrain to create a site plan with the existing graves; translating their inscriptions for a visitor’s handbook in German and English; making the translations available on the museum’s website and the database www.lagis-hessen.de/en; and adding inscriptions of tombstones that were destroyed after 1937. The tombstones will be cleaned and some re-photographed. The Hebrew and German inscriptions will be copied and translated by a recruited specialist. The data on the deceased will be compared with the existing registers of deaths.
This undertaking is planned as an educational project for high school students under the guidance of Julia Drinnenberg, introducing them to topics of Jews and Judaism.