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 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
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
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