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About Us

The International Institute for Jewish Genealogy and Paul Jacobi Center:

  • Was founded in 2004 by an international group of prominent Jewish genealogists.
  • Was opened at the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem in January 2006.
  • Its distinguished Honorary Advisory Board reflects the support it enjoys throughout the Jewish world, far beyond the Jewish genealogical community.

The Institute’s primary goals are:

  • To advance the academic status of Jewish Genealogy within the field of Jewish Studies, through teaching and research;
  • To contribute to the Jewish continuity, on the premiss that an individual’s and a people’s – future is more assured if it is firmly grounded in its roots.

These goals are inter-related:

  • Academic acceptance of Jewish Genealogy as a branch of Jewish Studies has a “trickle down” effect among wider segments of Jewish society, especially as it is accessible and attractive to Jews everywhere, irrespective of age, backgrounds, lifestyles, religious positions and worldviews.
  • In particular, the more academic Jewish Genealogy gains recognition, the greater its potential to interest young Jews in the serious study of their origins – and enhance their pride therein.

Achievements:

  • In the last seven years, the Institute has made tangible progress in pursuing its goals, at both the scholarly and broader Jewish levels. Inter alia:
  • Academic Guidelines” for BA and MA courses in Jewish Genealogy have been elaborated
  • 12 ground-breaking research projects, have been conducted including:
    • DNA and Sephardic migration from pre-Expulsion Spain;
    • Elite Sephardic families in late Ottoman and Mandatory Palestine;
    • The lives and lineages of leading families and ordinary people in Hungary in the 18th and 19th centuries;
    • Kinship networks among Latvian Jews in the Inter-War period.
  • Advanced computerised technologies for the phonetic recognition of Jewish names and for the merging of genealogical databases have been developed.
  • The Institute has participated in international Jewish Studies conferences and made its presence known in the academic world.

New Horizons

  • In an effort to reach out to diverse audience and advance its goals among them, the Institute has initiated a series of innovative projects. These include:
    • In January 2012, the launching of demographic and genealogical survey of Scottish Jewry as a whole, since its emergence in the early 19th century;
    • In March 2012, the formation of a panel of experts, headed by Baroness Ruth Deech, to examine ethical dilemmas in Jewish Genealogy;
    • In September 2012, the holding of a joint Symposium, with the Russian Institute for Genealogical Research at the National Library in St. Petersburg, on the “Genealogy and Family History of Jews in Russia”;
    • In October 2012, embarking upon a multi-year study of the lives and lineages of Village Jews in the Minsk Gubernya in the 19th century.
    • In March 2013, the initiation of a Genealogical Service at the National Library.

Click here for the Institute’s Officers.

Click here for the members of the Institute’s Executive and various Committees.