(Delivered by Gloria Berkenstat Freund)
Lance could not come from his small kibbutz in Northern Israel to personally accept this award as JewishGen Volunteer of the Year. I am extremely happy that he asked me to accept it for him. I can think of no one who deserves this recognition more than he does. I had the pleasure of meeting him when I was last in Israel and he has become a dear friend to me and to all of us working with him on the Yizkor Book Translation Project.
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
As I was unable to be at this special event today, I have requested that Gloria accept the award in my absence and she has graciously agreed.
I thought it extremely fitting that she accepts the award in my name and not only for the quite trivial fact that she lives in NY. She has been deeply involved in the Yizkor Book Project over many years and has contributed immensely to its success. In general, I also feel that this award, which has been kindly bestowed upon me by the JewishGen Board, also belongs to Gloria and the many hundreds of people working with me on the project. Even before this award, I have already received the enviable honor of being able to work together with so many wonderful and dedicated people and for me, and this in itself is something that I treasure.
Nonetheless, I am very grateful to Warren Blatt and the JewishGen Board for considering me for the award and appreciate all the work which has gone behind preparing this event today.
For myself, I hope to continue my work in the Yizkor Book Project for many years ahead in order to continue to extract what is a mine of untapped historical and genealogical information from these precious Yizkor Books. In addition, it is paramount for me to try to memorialize these communities so their memory does not disappear from our combined Jewish consciousness in this generation and for those to come.
I have many ambitious plans to expand the Yizkor Book Project, to endeavor to raise interest and especially raise financial support for the massive amount of work which still lies ahead. Rome was not built in a day and neither was the Yizkor Book Project and I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Joyce Field and Martin Kessel whose contribution to the Yizkor Book Project has been considerable. Most important for me is that they also agreed to take me under their wings, those many years ago and transferred their enthusiasm for this project to myself which I endeavor to continue to pass on today.
Thanking you all from afar, and wishing you a most enjoyable brunch.