JewishGen News - Edition #4 #austria-czech
Dear JewishGen Family,
A few months ago, we inaugurated the first edition of the "JewishGen
News." Since that time, I hope you have found the periodic editions
to be both inspirational and informative. In this issue, as opposed
to offering a summary of recent progress and accomplishments (of
which there are many), I would like to share some news and
information which speaks to the broader goals and objectives of our
Each day, JewishGen.org provides thousands of people throughout the
world with the opportunity to research their family lineage, ask
questions, exchange information, and learn >from others. I am sure
anyone who engages with JewishGen is awed by the extraordinary and
vital resource it has become. Simply put, JewishGen is now the most
important resource for Jewish genealogy in the world. The breadth,
depth and diversity of its offerings, >from both an archival and
networking perspective, is incredible, and unparalleled.
Most remarkable, all of this has been done with a small staff and a
devoted team of volunteers, who regardless of their location, join
in the pursuit of a common goal - the preservation of Jewish family
history and heritage for future generations.
Since the very beginning of JewishGen's existence, we have valued
free access to information, offering all of our resources at no
charge. These values are fundamental to everything we do. In this
regard, we are grateful that many members of the broader Jewish
community have recognized the importance of our work, and have
financially supported JewishGen's efforts, permitting us to
operate "in the black" for nine consecutive years.
But success is measured with an eye on the future, and in this
regard, I am pleased to announce that we have begun a comprehensive,
system-wide, modernization of JewishGen's technological
infrastructure. We're very excited to be entering a new phase of
JewishGen's growth. Our team has identified Solr and MySQL database
technology as the most suitable platforms to usher in a new era of
innovation, and thus maximize our ability to help Jewish family
researchers. This effort has been underway since this past February,
and we have developed a comprehensive plan with metrics and
benchmarks embedded in the workflow, enabling us to perform
continuous evaluations throughout the duration of the project. As
part of this effort, we will be hiring additional staff at JewishGen
Headquarters, which is based at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New
The first phase of this effort is scheduled to be completed by early
Spring of 2018. At that point, we will immediately begin the second
phase of the modernization effort, which will focus on efficiency and
the user experience.
In terms of leadership, we are extremely fortunate to have a new
Board of Directors (elected two weeks ago), comprised of outstanding
leaders and innovators who bring experience and expertise navigating
the various complexities which manifest themselves within any non-
profit, and particularly one as broad and diverse as JewishGen.
The JewishGen Board is led by Bruce Ratner, a successful businessman
and philanthropist, and long-time supporter of JewishGen. He is
joined by Michael Glickman, President & CEO of the Museum of Jewish
Heritage; Peter Kalikow, President of H. J. Kalikow & Company, LLC;
and E. Randol Schoenberg, a Los Angeles based attorney who was
recently portrayed in the film "Woman of Gold," and who is well
known to our JewishGen community in his role as the coordinator for
the JewishGen Austria-Czech SIG.
On May 1st, I was fortunate to celebrate nine years working for
JewishGen. I never would have imagined such a long tenure, and I
consider each and every user to be part of our valued JewishGen
family. Together, we have celebrated many success stories, and it is
my deepest wish that each of you will experience the joys which come
from connecting with relatives, and understanding our collectiveJewish history and heritage.
Thank you to everyone who has offered comments and suggestions the
past few months. Your feedback is always welcome, and I encourage
you to contact me anytime via phone (646-437-4326) or email
(agroll@JewishGen.org). With your continued help and support, we look
forward to taking JewishGen to the next level!
Wishing you all the best,
PS. If you have not yet done so, please consider making a contribution
to our Spring Appeal by visiting:
Your support will be greatly appreciated and help us continue
"preserving our history for future generations." Thank you!