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.
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
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,
and 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
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
With deepest sorrow,
Rand H. Fishbein, Ph.D.
JewishGen Board of Governors
MODERATOR'S NOTE: Please send further remembrances of Pamela to
the Pamela Weisberger Memorial Page at www.geshergalicia.org