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On June 19, IGRA is hosting a day of lectures that were originally given at a variety of international conferences in the past year. We are bring those lectures together at the ZOA House in Tel Aviv, so that those who were not able to go to those conferences can hear some of the top lectures in Jewish genealogy.

There will be concurrent lectures in Hebrew and English throughout the day, which will be followed by the IGRA Annual General Meeting (AGM). Lectures are open to everyone (60 NIS for members and 90 NIS for non-members, including lunch), while the AGM is open only to members of IGRA.

Doors will open at 9:30 am, followed by the keynote lecture by Prof. Gil Atzmon at 10:00 am on the topic of The Jewish Genome in Jewish History.

At 10:45 am the dual language tracks will begin, which will include five lectures in each language. See the full schedule below:

Cost to members for this all-day event is 60 NIS, and 90 NIS for non-members. The cost includes lunch.

To register for the event, go to the event registration page.

The day of lectures will be followed by IGRA’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) at 4:30 pm, which is open only to members of IGRA. You do not need to attend the day or lectures to attend the AGM, these are separate events. The AGM will include the election of two members to the board for two-year terms and members of the oversight committee for one-year terms.

The IGRA website provides the genealogy researcher more than our database collection. In addition we have a variety of Resources, Articles and Videos/Recorded lectures. On a regular basis we add to each of these collections. All of our resources are connected to genealogy but not all are connected directly to genealogy in Israel. In the Resources section you can find materials to help you with research in many regions of the world, including Israel. One resource that you may not have noticed is “The Holocaust in France: A Resource Guide”.

Jean-Pierre Stroweis has prepared an amazing compilation of references to the Holocaust in France. Some materials are in French, others in English – some are in both. There are links to websites as well as references to books. In addition to background, descriptions and explanations there are lists of names with information regarding those people.

If you are researching this time period in France these are important resources for you to explore, and for all of us a reference to help us grasp the enormity of this time in our history.


IGRA continues to improve the AID (All Israel Databases). The databases that are included in the AID collection come from over 30 Archives. Some archives have graciously allowed us to share the images associated with the databases while others have not given us permission to do so. It is now easier to identify which databases have images available and which do not. We have added an “image indicator” to the result of those records with an image available.

The first line does not have an image available. The second line does.

If you missed the announcement – there have been recent additions to the AID collection:

1928 Tel Aviv Census, Nordea neighborhood

Palestine Marriage/Divorce Certificates – updated with additional certificates

1944 Voter List for Knesset Israel

1944 Immigrants via North Africa

1945 Rehovot Local Election Voter List

1945 Immigrants – updated

1945 First Children’s Convoy to Palestine from Paris

December 1949, “Operation On Eagles Wings” – updated

1963 Telephone Directory, Tel Aviv, Letters N, O, R and first half of S


Please check out these new additions and look for the “image indicator”.

IGRA is offering a special opportunity for new members. Anyone joining from now until the end of the year receives IGRA membership through December 2019! Membership dues can be paid through our website using PayPal or Credit Card (through the PayPal interface) or by sending a check to P.O. Box 9057, Even Yehuda 4050002, Israel.

Membership to IGRA has many benefits – including full access to all sections of our website (articles, videos, resources and databases), free entrance to meetings and reduced fees for events.

The Membership fees remain the same as 2018 – 150 NIS or $45 for an individual and 200 NIS or $60 for a couple.

The HESHVAN EVENT is happening soon – October 18, 2018 – at the National Library in Jerusalem. We hope to see you there.

We wish you a Shana Tova filled with new family discoveries.


Each year in conjunction with the International Jewish Genealogy Month IGRA hosts our Heshvan Event. Don’t miss your opportunity to meet up with IGRA members and others in the genealogy community, pay tribute to our fantastic team of volunteers, congratulate those receiving special awards and hear a variety of lectures.

This year the IGRA Heshvan Event will be held at the National Library of Israel on the Givat Ram campus of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, October 18, 2018 – 9 Heshvan 5779. Our day begins at 09:30 and will last until 16:00. During the Opening Session we will be honoring our volunteers and presenting awards to two institutions and two of the volunteers will receive the Mathilde Tagger Prize of Recognition For Volunteering With IGRA Databases. As you look at the schedule you will notice that most of the lectures are offered in pairs – one in English and the other in Hebrew – allowing you to choose the lecture of most interest to you for each session.

Also note that we are offering a “behind the scenes” tour of the National Library. On the registration form it is necessary to designate your desire to join this tour and the language you prefer (English or Hebrew).

The schedule and descriptions of the lectures follow as well as a short introduction of our speakers. REGISTER TODAY to guarantee your place with us for a day commemorating “Communities That Will Never Be Forgotten”. Fee for paid 2018 IGRA members – 50 NIS; Fee for non-members – 70 NIS. (If you are not sure if you are a paid member, please send a message to: and we will clarify your status and get back to you.)


9:30-10:00 – registration

10:00-10:30 – Opening session and recognition of our volunteers

10:30-11:15 – 2 parallel lectures:

“The DNA of the Jewish People”, Max Blankfeld, FamilyTree DNA, English

“Digital Memories from Fez, Morocco”, Einat Levi, Hebrew

11:15-11:30 – refreshment break

11:30-12:15 – 2 parallel lectures:

“All Roads Lead to Eretz Israel”, Rose Feldman, English

“From Family Research to Community Preservation, the Case of the Jewry of Nabel, Tunisia”, Dr. Victor Hayoun, Hebrew

12:15-13:30 – lunch break

13:30-14:15 – Library tour (on event registration be sure to sign up for the tour with your language preference – English or Hebrew – sections will open depending on demand)

14:15-15:00 – 2 parallel lectures:

“Remember Our Ancestors: Vilkaviskis, Lithuania”, Ralph Salinger, English

“’Kala’ – My book describing our family story”, Ora Ahimeir, Hebrew

15:00-15:15 – coffee break

15:15-16:00 – “The Jon Stedman Adoption Story”, Karen Franklin, English

*Volunteers receiving recognition will be sent a special registration code.

Recognizing that many of our members will not be in Israel at the time of the event we are hoping to record most of the lectures and make them available on our website at a later date.

The DNA of the Jewish People – Max Blankfeld (English)

Beginning in the 1970’s, many books and articles were written on the origins of Ashkenazi Jews.  Some hypothesized that Ashkenazi Jews descended from an Eastern European kingdom that converted to Judaism en masse in the 8th century, thereby discrediting the Jewish people’s connection to the land of Israel. More recently, a handful of historians and scientists have followed the same hypothesis. Join us for a discussion about these claims and compare them to the genetic record.

MAX BLANKFELD, is a managing partner and the COO of Gene by Gene/FamilyTreeDNA. He was born in Germany, but soon after, with his parents, who were Holocaust survivors, moved to Brazil.  After his graduation, he started and managed several successful business ventures in both in Brazil and the US. In 2000 he teamed up with Bennett Greenspan, a long-time friend and business partner, at Family Tree DNA, to start the pioneer direct-to-consumer DNA testing company.

Digital memories from Fez, Morocco – Einat Levi (Hebrew)

Following the story of the Jewish community of Fez, in the past and up until the present. A community that is reuniting digitally through Facebook groups.

EINAT LEVI is developing Online learning processes and learning environments, and leads projects to strengthen the connection between Israel and the Diaspora at the Center for Educational Technology (CET). In addition, Einat is a researcher at the Mitvim Institute for Regional Foreign Policy Development, specializing in Morocco’s political and social arena and its relations with Israel. Since 2013 she travels between Israel and Morocco, and is engaged in consulting and developing partnerships between the countries in various fields, leading educational tours and delegations.

Einat deals with the digital documentation of the heritage of Moroccan Jewry, including the development of virtual tours in VR and Facebook documentation groups. Einat is a graduate of the ISEF Foundation – a leadership program for reducing gaps in Israeli society.

All Roads Lead to Eretz Israel – Rose Feldman (English)

Since the exile of the Jews from Eretz Israel with the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, many have dreamed of returning to Eretz Israel, of making “aliyah”. Various types of records can be found that document the return of our ancestors over the last 200 years. Lists survive from the 20th century of immigrants including requests for visas, lists of exiles by the Turkish and deportations by the British. In addition, there are other types of documents, not directly connected with “aliyah”, that state where people came from and when they immigrated. Examples of available documents and resources will be shown in the lecture.

ROSE FELDMAN is in charge of developing databases for Israel Genealogy Research Association [IGRA]. She has lectured at various annual seminars and branch meetings of IGRA and IGS, at the Israeli Association for Archives and Information workshop, and the genealogy workshop of the Central Zionist Archives. In 2017 she was the recipient of IAJGS Award for Volunteer of the Year. Rose was one of the three coordinators of the Montefiore Censuses Project, has four Kehilalinks sites on JewishGen, operates two twitters for IGRA – Israelgenealogy and IGRA_Hebrew and IGRA’s facebook page.

From Family Research to Community Preservation, the Case of the Jewry of Nabel, Tunisia – Dr. Victor Hayoun (Hebrew)

Remember our Ancestors: Vilkaviskis, Lithuania – Ralph Salinger (English)

Ralph Salinger began his family history in 1982, a time before there was internet, researching from just a few names then to a vast family tree today. Discovering that one branch of the Salinger family came from Vilkaviskis, Lithuania. he returned there in 2005 to find nothing of the once vibrant Jewish community. This presentation tells of the many good local people who have helped restore the memory, of contacts with over 250 Jewish families who have their roots there, and of the activities, many there, to restore the Jewish memory of the town and build the bridge between Jews, Israelis and Lithuanians.

RALPH SALINGER was born in London and grew up in New Zealand. He came to live in Israel in 1975, he is living in Kfar Ruppin. Ralph has spent over the past years twenty years researching his family’s history. Recently, Ralph has been involved in examining the history of Jewish Vilkaviskis and various other projects in Lithuania. He is an active board member of LitvakSIG and MACEVA.

“Kala” – Journey book about her family story – Ora Ahimeir (Hebrew)

The author describes in her book, the research journey after her mother life. From her birth at the “Hayishuv  Hayashan” in Sefad, to her death in Jerusalem.

ORA AHIMEIR, author of the books “Kala” (Bride) and “Araratim”. She was one of the founders of the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, and served as its director for many years. In 2011 she received an Honor Citation from the city of Jerusalem for her contribution to the city.

Jon Stedman / Kelly Moore Adoption story – Karen Franklin (English)

The story of Jon Stedman and Kelly Moore involves mystery, bigamy, adoption and DNA. The secretive life of Jesse Oppenheimer, alias John Stedman (1887-1950) was unraveled using family research techniques that are useful to all genealogists, as well as DNA testing. Though his son Jon’s DNA sample was one of the first tested in 2000 (he was FTDNA’s first match), an upgrade in 2013 (four years after Jon died) helped an adopted woman, Kelly Moore, find her birth family.

The PowerPoint presentation will provide details about the role of DNA testing in her search, and the story of Jon’s collection and how it can be helpful to genealogists.  The John Stedman Award presented annually by the IAJGS, was named for John Stedman, the man Kelly learned through our research was Kelly’s great-grandfather.

KAREN FRANKLIN, is director of family research at the Leo Baeck Institute and president of the Obermayer German Jewish History Awards.  She has served as president of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies and chair of the Council of American Jewish Museums, as well as co-chair of the Board of Governors of JewishGen and chair of the Memorial Museums Committee of ICOM (the International Council of Museums). In 2012 Karen was awarded the ICOM-US Service Citation for her work in Holocaust-era property restitution.