Message from the new Litvak SIG President #general

Howard Margol

Dear Litvak SIG Members and interested Litvaks,

I want to thank all of those who congratulated me and the new board members
for being elected to the Litvak SIG Board. All of us realize the importance
of the duties and responsibilities placed upon us and, speaking for myself as
well as for the other board members, we are ready to accept the challenge.

In some respects, the road ahead will not be an easy one. Some of the past
history of the SIG must be forgotten, mistakes of the past must be forgiven,
and ruffled feathers must be smoothed. With everyone's cooperation I am sure
this can be accomplished to the benefit of all. We cannot change the past but
we certainly can influence the future and make it a bigger and brighter one.

The election was held on Monday, late afternoon, on August 14. The next day,
the new Litvak SIG Board met and had it's first official board meeting. I am
very pleased to report that it was a very productive meeting. Everyone was
on the same page, a cooperative spirit prevailed, and it bodes well for the

In my "campaigning" before the election, I promised to make the Litvak SIG
as transparent, and as member friendly, as possible. As soon as I, and the
other board members, have a chance to catch out breaths you will start to see
evidence of that transparency. Merle Kastner, the SIG Secretary, will produce
her notes taken at the initial board meeting of the new board and, as soon as
they have been approved for accuracy by the other board members, the minutes
of the board meeting will be displayed on the SIG Digest.

I am not prepared to go into all of the details at this time but I do want
to report that the confusion that may have existed in the past, involving the
vital records projects, will be made clear for the benefit of all. Joel
Ratner will concentrate on the Vilna Gubernia vital records and Aaron Roetenberg
will concentrate on the Kaunas Gubernia vital records. There will be no
duplication involved and no competing for the same financial donations as different
districts will be involved. At some point in the future, all of the vital
records will appear in the ALD as well as on JewishGen. Some preliminary work
has to be done prior to this happening but it will be done. Your patience
until the fine details are worked out will be appreciated.

Over the years, I know many good Litvaks sort of "dropped out" and ceased
paying their $36 annual dues to the Litvak SIG. In some cases I am sure you
felt you were not getting anything for your $36 so why pay it. The new board
hopes, by their actions and accomplishments, to show that you will receive
benefits >from being a dues paying member. If you want to wait until you see
evidence of that, fine. If you would like to show your support for the commitment
the board members have made by being elected to the new board, then a
remittance of your $36 dues now would be appreciated. Please follow the payment
instructions as shown on the SIG website. The SIG year is on a Calendar year basis
- January 1st through December 31st.

Howard Margol
President, Litvak SIG

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