The IGRA Annual Meeting was held virtually via Zoom this week and allowed time for members to chat as we waited the allotted time without the required quorum before beginning our meeting.
In addition to voting on the Financial Reports and that of the Audit Committee, there was a short presentation given by Rose Feldman with an emphasis on the IGRA databases and also the special IAJGS Salute! given recently to both Yocheved Klausner and Shalom Bronstein. The report from the President was also mentioned. Philip Trauring wrote:
I always like to start this summary by acknowledging the help this organization receives from our many volunteers. Without the selfless assistance of so many, we would not be able to accomplish so much. Thank you to everyone who helped in 2019 and continue to help and make IGRA bigger and better. We are an all-volunteer organization, so every bit of assistance we receive to run an event, index a database, help with the web site, or post information to social media, is a big help to our organization. Thank you.
2019 was a great year for local lectures, with the continued strength of our Givatayim and Ra’anana meetings, and the addition of meetings at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot. We continued to expand the number of live events, with 2019 increasing the number of events over 2018, which similarly increased compared to 2017. Unfortunately 2020 will not have a significant number of in-person events due to the current situation, but hopefully we will be able to continue this trend in 2021. Thank you to the local leaders who have made all of these meetings possible, and to all the speakers who shared their knowledge with our members. Special thanks to Linda Geffon, Esther Rechtschafner and Daniel Wagner for getting the Rehovot meetings started. I look forward to our meetings resuming once conditions make it possible.
In 2019 we added over 160,000 new records to our database, including large sections of the 1928 Tel Aviv Census, the British Mandate Marriage/Divorce Certificates, and the beginning of the 1947 Jerusalem Census. At the end of 2019 we were just approaching one and half million records in the database, and as I write this we are over 1.6 million records. In 2020, perhaps as a slight silver-lining to everyone being stuck at home, we are on track to add a record number of records to the database. Thank you to the dozens of volunteers who have helped index, transliterate, and proofread these records. If you want to help, you can get started online on our web-based indexing system. For more information, see our indexing page.
As an Israel-based organization, we benefit by drawing members from across Israel, but also from many other countries including the United States, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, and many more. With such a large percentage of the Jewish community worldwide living in Israel, we benefit from Jewish people everywhere researching their families here in Israel. Our association is also home to many of the most active and committed genealogists in the world, as evidenced by the recognition granted to so many of our members. See our Recognition page for a list of awards to IGRA and our members. Due to these factors, in the past four years while I’ve been President of IGRA, the size of membership has more than doubled. I am very proud to announce that IGRA is now the largest society among the 80+ member societies of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS). This is a testament to the hard work put in by all of our volunteers. Thank you to all of our volunteers, and members, for making this possible. Not only did we reach this milestone for the 2019 membership year, but we have already passed that membership number this year in 2020.
As I will be stepping down as President with the conclusion of my two terms in office this month, I would just like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at IGRA for a memorable four years. Thank you to the officers, board members, audit committee, local leaders, event planners, webmaster team, database committee, and especially our members. I look forward to continuing my work on the web site and other projects, and contributing in the future.
In this election cycle the following positions were elected by those at the meeting: President – Garri Regev; Secretary – Elena Bazes; Executive Board Members – Daniel Horowitz and Ellen Stepak; Board Members – Rose Feldman and Daniel Wagner; Audit Committee – Susan Edel, Menachem Halperin and Esther Rechtschafner. Ingrid Rockberger was appointed to the Board position vacated by Elena Bazes as she became Secretary.
We want to take this opportunity to publicly thank Philip Trauring, Rosemary Eshel, Eli Avivi and Rose Lerer Cohen for all that they contributed in their positions within IGRA and look forward to their continued assistance with various projects in the years to come.