Genealogy for Jewish Educators

Talk to people who are researching their family’s history, and many will tell you how much they regret not starting earlier. For example:

I never talked to Zayde about his recollections of the Old Country, his parents, how he got here, the family he left behind and those who came over. Who were they? How did they live? When my parents went to those boring Cousins’ Club get-togethers, I stayed home. I didn’t really get to know my cousins. Who are the people in those pictures on the walls when I was growing up? And in that drawer-full of old photos Mom used to keep? I never asked.

For those who teach in formal and informal settings, getting started in family research and introducing young people to genealogy are at the focus of a special forum, Genealogy for Jewish Educators, on Sunday, August 7, 2016, the first day of the week-long 36th IAJGS Conference on Jewish Genealogy.

Thanks to the generosity of the Samis Foundation and the Covenant Foundation, registration for the educators forum costs just $50 per person, including kosher breakfast and lunch. To attend the full conference and Genealogy for Jewish Educators, the combined fee is just $365 during early on-line registration through April 30. How to register.

Join us on our Facebook page for this Special Program for Jewish Educators.

9 a.m. – 2 p.m. The day begins with a kosher breakfast and kickoff address by Rivy Poupko Kletenik, Head of School at the Seattle Hebrew Academy and a nationally recognized author and lecturer on all things Jewish. Then two workshops, giving you a choice among three topics for each session, followed by lunch and An Interactive Learning Walk – a festival of ideas and programs for schools, classrooms, youth and family programs.

2 – 10:30 p.m. Attendees next will enjoy free entry to Conference events for the rest of the day, including films, vendors’ and organizations’ kiosks, and the evening keynote address and reception (but not including the added-fee computer lab workshops). Dinner is not provided.

The schedule

9:00 – 10:00

Breakfast and Keynote Address

What’s Jewish About Jewish Genealogy? EVERYTHING !

Rivy Poupko Kletenik

Jewish Genealogy is family history and family stories, community history and world history. Jewish genealogy is Torah.


Workshop Choices

A. Nuts and Bolts of Jewish Genealogy for Beginners

Ken Bravo

This program is designed for those who are new to Jewish genealogical research as well as those who are more advanced. We’ll present practical tips and hints on where and how to look for clues and data, some of which are common with other kinds of genealogical research and some that are more uniquely Jewish, such as Jewish newspapers, cemetery records and records of Jewish organizations.

B. What You Should Know About Designing An Introduction to Jewish Genealogy

Joel Weintraub

Joel will discuss the planning and constructing of an Introduction to Jewish Genealogy (IJG) talk from an educator’s point of view. Why do an IJG? (recruitment and retention) Who are our target individuals? What level of information and methodology to include? (Blooms Taxonomy) What kinds of results do we want? (Learning Outcomes)

C. Hands-On Tombstone Deciphering

Madeleine Isenberg

Do you have photos of ancestral tombstones with Hebrew lettering you are struggling with? Learn what to expect to find on tombstones: Some patterns of what and where to find the information you are looking for. Don’t always assume it’s “just Hebrew.” The Hebrew letters could also be for Rashe Tevot (acronyms/abbreviations), or words in Aramaic, Yiddish, or Ladino. What are the take-aways from being involved in tombstone-reading and deciphering? Time Permitting: Bring photos on a flash drive and we’ll try to analyze them as a joint learning experience.  Handouts for future use.

11:30 – 12:30

Workshop Choices

D. Introduction to JewishGen and Jewish Genealogy

Avram Groll

JewishGen is a unique website – it’s free, easy to use, and features thousands of databases, research tools. JewishGen offers both archival and networking components. Common challenges that people encounter when researching their family history and how JewishGen can help.

E. Personalizing Jewish History

Janette Silverman

This workshop will explore ways to capture your students’ attention (whether adults or children) and memory while teaching Jewish history. Using the history you NEED to teach and which they NEED to learn, we will explore ways to make the history about THEM, capturing their attention, teaching them skills and helping them to remember what they have learned.

F. Crafting History: Bring Your Ancestors Back to Life

Mary Roddy

When you start talking about genealogy, how long is it before your sister’s eyes glaze over? Join the club. But this talk will give you ideas to display your family history knowledge in unusual and compelling ways and soon have your students and their families asking you question. Ms. Roddy will present more than a dozen projects that crafters can create at home with easy-to-find supplies, using ancestral photos and artifacts. Projects include jewelry, household and holiday decorations, quilts, shadow boxes, calendars and more. Each of these projects invites questions or comments and gives us an easy way to talk about our ancestors. How-to instructions for projects will be provided.

12:30 – 2:00


An Interactive Learning Walk

A festival of ideas and programs for schools, classrooms, youth and family programs.

How to register

  1. From the REGISTRATION menu above, click NEW REGISTRATION.
  2. On the subsequent page,  click NEW REGISTRATION from the REGISTRATION menu.
  3. On the following page, click the gray New Registration button at the right, enter the required information on the next page, and click Continue.
  4. (a) Select Option 8 for the one-day Genealogy for Jewish Educators and click Continue, or
    (b) Select Option 9 if you want to attend the full conference and the educators’ forum and click Continue.
  5. (a) Check the box for Genealogy for Jewish Educators, review the questions, and click Continue, or
    (b) Check the box for Full Conference and Genealogy for Jewish Educators, review all questions, and click Continue. Check the box for Full Conference and Genealogy for Jewish Educators, review the questions, and click Continue.
  6. Continue to the review and payment pages at the end. Don’t forget to read about Terms and Conditions and to complete the two-step agreement process before clicking the gray “Complete Registration” button.