JewishGen Spring Brunch - 2013 Honorees
Karen Franklin - Guest of Honor
Some people can remember names but not what they ate for breakfast. Karen Franklin can remember neither, but if you tell her your name, she will likely be able to tell you what town your family came from.
Karen has been a co-chair of JewishGen’s Board of Governors since the board’s inception. A past IAJGS president, she has served in many capacities in the genealogy world, by election or under duress. For 13 years she was the Director of the Family Research Department of the Leo Baeck Institute.
Karen is involved in numerous international organizations. Currently a vice-chair of the ICOM (International Council of Museums) committee for Memorial Museums, she has also served on the ICOM-US board, as well as the board of the American Association of Museums.
She is currently a member of the Advisory Board of the European Shoah Legacy Institute as a member of the Judaica and Jewish Cultural Property Working Group. Karen was awarded the 2012 ICOM-US Service Citation for her work in the area of Holocaust-era property restitution.
She is an Ehrenmitglieder des Stiftungrats (honorary board member) of the Stiftung Erinnerung Ulm, an organization that oversees the memorial of Oberer Kuberg, a concentration camp outside of Ulm, Germany. She is a juror for the Obermayer German Jewish History Award.
For 20 years Karen was the director of the Judaica Museum in Riverdale NY. Today she uses her research skills as a consultant/curator at several NYC museums, and she is a professional genealogist. The Rabbi Stephen D. and Karen S. Franklin Religious School of Riverdale Temple is named in honor of Karen and her husband.
Gary Mokotoff - Guest of Honor
Gary Mokotoff was one the original JewishGen Board of Directors when it was formed in 1996 and served for six years. In 2009, Karen Franklin requested that he join her as co-chair of the Board of Governors where he has served until this date.
Gary is the creator of two major JewishGen databases: the JewishGen Family Finder and the Family Tree of the Jewish People. Both were initially projects of the New York-based Jewish Genealogical Society in the 1980s, and transferred some years later to JewishGen.
He was founding president of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies and was very active in organized American genealogy having served on the Board of Directors of the Federation of Genealogical Societies for 14 years and Association of Profession Genealogists for four years. He is the fist person to receive the IAJGS Lifetime Achievement Award. For his service to FGS he received a number of awards including the coveted Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern Humanitarian Award, which has been given only six times in the past 20 years. From APG he received the Grahame T. Smallwood Award for his contribution to the organization in 2006, and awarded life-time membership for his contribution to genealogy in 2008.
Gary is also author/co-author of a number of books that advance the ability to do Jewish family history research. These include the award-winning Where Once We Walked, Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy, Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy, How to Document Victims and Locate Survivors of the Holocaust, and others.
He is co-owner of Avotaynu, Inc. which publishes AVOTAYNU, the International Review of Jewish Genealogy; Nu? What’s New?, the weekly e-mail magazine of Jewish genealogy; and more than 60 books oriented toward the needs of Jewish genealogical research.
Lance Ackerfeld - Volunteer of the Year
Lance's first contact with JewishGen was in 1997, when he began by using the site to search for clues to his family’s past in Poland. That year he responded to a request to find a friend in the Israeli phone book. As a result of that email, he began assisting the JewishGen Yizkor Book Project as a Permissions Coordinator in finding landsmanshaftn in Israel, and explaining to them why it was important to place the translations of this precious material on the Internet.
With a background in computing – his day job being in software development and database programming – he began assisting with preparing web pages, and in the year 2000 became the webmaster for the Yizkor Book Project. Since then, he has coordinated the Yizkor Book Project's web pages, managing a small but highly dedicated and talented team of HTML'ers.
In 2009, the opportunity arose to take on the position of Yizkor Book Project Manager, Lance saw this as a chance to assist with his gained experience and contacts in keeping this important project going forward.
Lance was born in Australia and now lives with his family in a kibbutz in the north of Israel.
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