Conference Program Now Online

By: Anne Feder Lee
Have you decided to attend this year's Conference on Jewish Genealogy? Not yet? Well maybe this will help you make that difficult decision. The preliminary Conference Program is now online. Go to the Conference homepage at and click on "Program" from the menu.

There is something for everybody: from Advanced Googling to Yiddish Theater; from Nancy Adelson to Robert Zavos; and many topics and presenters in between.

Programming starts on Sunday at 9 am with a beginner's track of programs - 3 hours on beginner's strategies, 2 hours on starting your Philadelphia research, a local (Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey) Repository Fair, and a program on Jewish surnames. All this to help jump start your research activities during the upcoming week. 
Sunday will end with our Keynote Speaker, Father Patrick Desbois. He is best known for his work in searching for and uncovering mass graves in Ukraine and for his book, "The Holocaust by Bullets." His keynote address will be followed by a Q&A period and a reception, where Father Desbois' book will be sold and autographed.
Each day is packed with interesting presentations on many subjects as well as SIG programs, over 25 Birds-of-a-Feather meetings - including firsts for Jewish agricultural colonies in southern New Jersey,the Paterson, NJ area, and smaller gatherings for attendees with roots in the old Jewish neighborhoods of Philadelphia (which are not yet on the schedule), proven and new/exciting computer workshops, and some interesting new workshops on Jewish food, document preservation, photo identification (with the Photo Detective, Maureen Taylor), and help to decipher Russian and Polish records.

On Monday, Philadelphia's main Jewish Museum, the National Museum of American Jewish History, will sponsor two lectures by the pre- eminent scholar on the history of American Jews and Judaism, Brandeis University Professor Jonathan Sarna. Sarna will speak on "Jewish Settlement Patterns in the US: Why Jews Ended Up Where They Did" and in the evening plenary session on "An Old Faith in the New World: 350 Years of American Judaism."
Tuesday evening will include the annual JewishGen program with a preview of future developments and projects followed by Jewish Genealogy Game Night, produced by Conference veterans Ron Arons and Pamela Weisberger. This event will entertain you, and don't be surprised to see Litvaks vs. Galitzianers Family Feud amongst the shows.

We are working on the Wednesday evening program, but it will be exciting and interesting.

The daily programs have much to enjoy and singling out any small group of them will do an injustice to those not mentioned, but two special guests from overseas deserve mention:

Thanks to ROM-SIG, for the first time ever, an Archivist from the National Archives of Romania will visit our Conference. He is not any Archivist; he is Dorin Dobrincu, the Director General of the Archive system.

Thanks to Miriam Weiner's Routes to Roots Foundation and IAJGS, a representative from the State Committee on Archives of Ukraine, Deputy Director Olga Muzychuk, will be speaking for the first time since 2006.

Take some time, review the program, decide which programs you would like to attend and then register for the Conference. Go directly to to register.

You will not regret your decision. Early registration discount ends April 30.

See you in Philadelphia this August.

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