It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Bernard Israelite Kouchel, who died on April 9, in Plantation, Broward County, Florida at the age of 85.
Bernie was one of the pioneers of Jewish genealogy on the internet. As a member of the original JewishGen Board, he has left his indelible footprints on the pages of JewishGen. As stated in a proclamation declaring the month of December, 2001 to be Bernard Israelite Kouchel Month, the award read: "Such honor bestowed upon our friend and loyal member of the JewishGen Board for his illustrious service rendered over a long and productive tenure and his accomplishments both outstanding and unforgettable to this virtual community." http://www.jewishgen.org/jewishgen/pr/KouchelProclamation.html
More recently, in 2012, he was beyond thrilled to be the recipient of the "Outstanding Program or Project Award" from International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies" (IAJGS) for the conception of the popular ViewMate Project. http://www.iajgs.org/awards/awards-2012.html
Among his other accomplishments, he chaired the Broward County Research Committee for "MOSAIC: Jewish Life in Florida", an important project which is now a part of the Jewish Museum in Miami.
A retired contractor in the Fort Lauderdale area, Bernie authored a book entitled "Book of Israelite Family History". From his mother, he inherited the candlesticks his grandmother, Sarah Israelite, brought with her from Novogrudok, Belarus in 1902, arriving in Brooklyn with three children to join her husband, Michl. "I envision Shabbat candle lighting rituals with Bubba waving her hands over the lit candles - it endures in my memory," he wrote.
He now joins them all, and he will certainly endure in our memories, having well-earned his rest on earth. We extend our condolences to his beloved wife, Elaine and family.