This Year in Jerusalem Part 4

Does writing a blog posting at past midnight in Jerusalem constitute silliness? Not really given that a Jewish genealogy conference is an almost 24 hour a day thing. The bounds of the conference are not the rooms that lectures are given; nor the corridors that lead to the rooms; nor the conference lobby area; nor the hotel lobby; nor the hotel restaurants; nor the streets around the hotel; nor the bars and restaurants in the neighbourhood; and not even the city in which the conference takes place. Wherever we meet we think, breathe and drink in Jewish genealogy; at times we even dream about it. Why, you may ask, am I philosophisng about this? Well primarily because my whole day was taken up with IAJGS business and I didn’t get to any genealogy sessions at all.

Today was the IAJGS Annual Meeting day, which meant spending all of the morning preparing packs of papers for attendees and checking arrangements for the meeting. I had to make sure that all attendees had the right papers and various other bits and pieces in their packs and then hand some of them out. The IAJGS Annual Meeting is important for three main reasons, first is election of IAJGS Board Members or Officers, this year Officers, second because it is the place that the Board can present the achievements of IAJGS, and finally it is where the membership can hold the Board to account. Overall though it addresses the primary reason of why we are all there at all. The reasons why were were there was very plain in the Board presentation of achievements in 2014-2015. The presentation was, even though I am a Board Officer, impressive, especially given that almost everything was delivered by volunteers and also that the people on committees and undertaking technical work were also volunteers. IAJGS is about the people who put in the hours for no reward other than the joy and pride in seeing others benefit from the work that they do. There is, indeed, no other place that you can see this reward than an IAJGS conference. Even though the Jerusalem conference is being delivered through a professional organisation, lying at its heart is the massively long hours and dedication of the Conference Committee; staffed mostly by ordinary members of societies not just from Israel but from around the world. These are ordinary people like us all delivering something that they truly believe in – JEWISH GENEALOGY. It is something that is within all of us that makes us pursue this interest but it cannot be only an internal and selfish thing, We all have to contribute to the interest in some manner or form. We have to support fellow researchers; ensure that the organisations that deliver the knowledge we need to fulfil our needs, we have to also look to how we pass on what we have found. Organised Jewish Genealogy is the place for contributions. Get involved and help others.

Enough philosophising, now off to bed early in the morning in Jerusalem.

Mark Nicholls

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