07 October 2013

In which I follow the inviting path before me....

I had not really designed a path to the Jewish genealogy lecture circuit, but now seem to be following that yellow brick road. In the beginning of August I gave my first International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies Conference presentation in Boston. 

I'd prepared for this over the years, teaching classes on a variety of subjects during my former career in the federal government; making formal presentations to, sometimes, initially-hostile audiences; working with the media and public on wildfire incidents and; more recently, making formal presentations for my local Jewish genealogical society. In addition, over the last few years, I've attended several national-level and more local genealogy conferences, noting similarities and differences - the good, the not so good, and the could-be-better.

Starting next Monday, 14 October 2013, I begin teaching a six-session non-credit adult education course for Arizona State University's Center for Jewish Studies and the Arizona Jewish Historical Society. The course, "From Eastern Europe to the United States - Our Wandering Jewish Ancestors," was initially designed by my genealogy buddy Dr. Janette Silverman, who was to teach the course. She recently moved to greener pastures in New York City and I have been asked to take over. The intent is to emphasize the importance of methodology and context in locating, accessing, evaluating and understanding the genealogical record. In my view it is this context that differentiates Jewish genealogy from genealogy in general. The class is still open for enrollment and will be held Monday afternoon's at the Arizona Jewish Historical Society campus at 122 East Cutler Street, Phoenix.

Mid-November, I'll be flying to California. I have been asked to reprise my IAJGS presentation, "Beyond the Manifest: Methods for Confirming One’s Ancestral Origins " for the Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles.[1]  I will be updating my presentation and handout and speaking there Monday evening, 18 November 2013.

And then, Wednesday, 8 January 2014, I will speak in Delray Beach, Florida to the Jewish Genealogical Society of Palm Beach County.

I am excited about these opportunities and hope to see some of you along the road.

1. I've changed the title of the lecture slightly from the Boston version which was: "Beyond the Manifest: Confirming One's Ancestral Origins Using Alternative Sources." Why is it we always take criticisms much more to heart than kudos? I received several reviews of my Boston talk and they were very complimentary. One, however, mentioned that that the subtitle of the lecture led them to believe that I'd be emphasizing record groups rather than methodology. So, I've changed the title to better reflect the methodological bent.

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