According to the press release, the group's major responsibility is organizational long-term planning, and will also increase volunteer outreach and build capacity to incorporate new talent. Board member (and founder/executive director of Jewish Records Indexing-Poland) Stanley Diamond summarized the Board’s goals:
"In addition to planning, the Board must help management make certain that the structure is in place to enable JewishGen to keep pace with ever-changing technology and encourage management to bring other organizations with content under a mutually beneficial umbrella that ultimately best serves all researchers. It is our hope that the Board can also play a role in both raising the profile of JewishGen internationally and identifying potential sources of new data.”With all due respect to my good friend Stan Diamond, Tracing the Tribe is concerned that this board, despite the rich experience and qualifications of its members, is an Ashkenazi-Eastern European-centric group limited to those from English-speaking countries (US, UK, Canada):
Honorary Chair: Harvey Krueger; Co-chairs: Karen S. Franklin, Gary Mokotoff; Board Members: Stanley Diamond, Saul Issroff, Phyllis Kramer, Anne Feder Lee, Hadassah Lipsius, Howard Margol, E. Randol Schoenberg, Walter Weiner; Ex-Officio Members: Dr. David G. Marwell, Museum of Jewish Heritage Director; Warren Blatt, JewishGen Managing Director; Michael Tobias, JewishGen Vice-President; Avraham Groll, JewishGen AdministratorJewish genealogy today is not the exclusive realm of Ashkenazi researchers. The field today includes researchers, family historians and genealogists in many countries investigating diverse communities of origin. That is the true international face of JewishGen, including its many volunteers, but it is not reflected in the board's composition.
Notably absent are representatives for Sephardic genealogy (an increasingly fast-growing segment of Jewish genealogy, encompassing the term's broadest definition), Israel and non-English-speaking countries.
To researchers around the world, the absence of such representation is worrisome as it does not address diverse interests, despite the board's stated goals of both "a mutually beneficial umbrella that ultimately best serves all researchers" and raising JewishGen's profile internationally.
This lack of diversity may impact the board's views and its recommendations concerning present and future Jewish genealogical trends and long-range planning, as well as its credibility in its dealings with diverse international organizations, content and talent as described in the stated goals.
What do you think? Tracing the Tribe is interested in your opinion - please comment.