Fishbein Associates, Inc.
A Personal Tribute to the Indomitable Pamela Weisberger, z"l
Rand H. Fishbein, Ph.D., Vice-Chair, JewishGen Board of Governors
The unexpected news of the passing of Pamela Weisberger has hit the world of
Jewish genealogy with the force of a California earthquake. And while
Pamela may have lived in Los Angeles, this particular earthquake has spanned
the globe. For wherever you are, if you swim in the waters of Jewish family
history, then you surely have been touched by the energy, the innovation and
the brilliance of Pamela Weisberger. To so many, she was a force of nature,
a driven personality, whose vision has helped to lift the field of Jewish
genealogy to a new plateau.
You did not have to be a close friend of Pamela Weisberger to know of the
legend. The imprint of her good works were, and are, everywhere to be
found. She always was on the move. Getting her attention at a genealogy
conference often was like asking a humming bird to hold still for a
photograph in the middle of a field of flowers. She was on everyone's
contact list. Life for Pamela was never dull. There always was another
project to start, an ancestral town to visit, a presentation to deliver or a
new search tool to add to Gesher Galicia?s award-winning web site.
Viewed through her eyes, the world was an endless range of research
challenges, and she was determined to conquer each one of them. Whether the
task was turning the Gesher Galicia Special Interest Group into a pacesetter
among the SIGs, building L.A.'s Jewish Genealogy Society into one of the
premier societies in the world, or initiating the extraordinary Cadastral
Map Project, Pamela always was on the cutting edge.
If Pamela were able to read the accolades written about her in the days
since her untimely passing, she would have blushed with pride. For while
she was both an indomitable spirit and never one to rest on her laurels, she
also appreciated that her work had meaning beyond our time. She drew
strength, I believe, >from the fact that so many people benefited >from her
research. Being a leader is rarely easy, but Pamela made the task of
organizing Jews (and Jewish genealogists can be a finicky lot) seem
effortless. She knew how to marshal talent, fund projects, and conceive of
new initiatives that would not only have scholarly value, but would seize
the public's imagination. Pamela did this over and over again. It was, in
every sense, a reflection of not only her love for the craft, but most of
all her love of the Jewish People.
The Jewish genealogical community is made up of many dedicated individuals,
driven and inspired to reclaim a piece of a distant past. The work of
document discovery, recovery and indexing is a righteous endeavor, and those
who undertake this often selfless task do so out of a sense of personal
devotion. This is Pamela's legacy. Much like a painting heavily damaged by
war and neglect, Pamela painstakingly brought history back to life,
returning color, texture and meaning to the lives of the long departed.
In the world of Jewish family history Pamela was a rock star. Blessed with
an unusual talent for sleuthing, she also had a natural ability to
communicate her findings to an amateur audience with uncommon enthusiasm and
warmth. We will miss Pamela. Her inspiration touched us all. Her good
works, like her unquenchable spirit, will continue to burn brightly in the
hearts and minds of those who knew and admired her. May she find eternal
peace among the ancestors she rescued >from obscurity. I have no doubt that
beyond the mountaintops she surveyed, they have welcomed her with open arms
and with the same love she bestowed on their memories.
With deepest sorrow,
Rand H. Fishbein, Ph.D.
JewishGen Board of Governors