Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why an academic institute for Jewish genealogy?

Because an institute of this kind was, and still is vitally needed to fill a serious gap in the overall structure of organized Jewish genealogy, in a way that has the potential to advance Jewish genealogy and take it to new heights.

  1. Why was the Institute established in 2006?

Genealogy caught the imagination of the Jewish world in the early 1980’s and gathered momentum in the early 1990’s with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the advent of the PC (personal computer).  By the early 2000’s the time had arrived to engage in serious and systematic academic research, broad in scope and scale, going far beyond individual family trees.

  1. What did the collapse of the Soviet Union and the advent of the PC do?

Access was gained to immensely important collections of primary source material in Eastern Europe, while at the same time the possibility was opened up of databasing significant parts of that and other material and bringing it directly to individual family historians.

  1. What are the Institute’s primary goals?

– To elevate the field of Jewish genealogy as a whole to new heights and, in process, to inspire and enrich the work of individual family historians.

– To do so, mainly by engaging in research and teaching of Jewish genealogy at the university level.

  1. What will the Institute contribute to the Jewish People?

A people ignorant of its roots, both individual and collective, will have an uncertain future. Genealogy is not only a way to strengthen those roots but it is also a bridge between the past and the future. Thus the Institute will contribute to the continuity of the Jewish People.

  1. Is the Institute an Israeli institution?

No – its physical location is in Israel but its outlook and outreach are global. Not by accident are its Founders and Honorary Advisory Board from diverse parts of the Jewish world.

  1. Why has the Institute been set up in Jerusalem?

Because Jerusalem is the epicenter of the Jewish People and remains the only place on earth which commands the attention of Jews worldwide. In addition, it is home to immensely valuable collections of Jewish genealogical source materials.

  1. What kind of research projects does the Institute work on?

The Institute conducts innovative, ground-breaking projects, usually inter- or multi-disciplinary, of interest to Jewish genealogists everywhere. It puts a certain premium on projects that result in tools and research aids of use to the individual family historian.

  1. Does it work on its own or on a collaborative basis with other centers?

The answer is both, depending on the nature and the scale of the project. In almost every case, the scholars and/or experts working on Institute projects are connected with institutions of higher learning in Israel and abroad, and contact with them is principally through the Net.

  1. Does the Institute propose to give courses in Jewish genealogy?

No. It sees its function as developing curricula and technologies for the teaching of Jewish genealogy at the BA and MA level in universities throughout the world, those with strong Jewish Studies programs.

  1. Does the Institute propose to give certification to Jewish genealogists?

No. The Institute is not a degree-granting institution.

  1. How does the Institute propose to gain academic recognition for Jewish genealogy?

The Institute endeavors to demonstrate that serious academic work can be done in Jewish genealogy, making it worthy of recognition as an academic discipline within the field of Jewish Studies.

  1. Does the Institute publish its work?

All the results of the Institute’s work are made public, primarily through its Website (iijg.org). The Institute also plans to publish a scholarly journal and scientific monographs on an occasional basis.

  1. How will the Institute interface with the wider Jewish genealogical community?

The Institute seeks to work in a cooperative and collaborative way with the wider Jewish genealogical community. Working at the academic level, it is not in competition with that community. Interface is mainly sought through the organized Jewish genealogical establishment, while individual family historians are able to keep abreast with the Institute’s work and activities by subscribing to its distribution list.

  1. What is the Institute’s ultimate aim?

To make Jewish genealogy a recognized academic discipline within the realm of Jewish Studies.