Biographical Sketches of JGSI Board Candidates for June 2017 Election*

President: Debbie Kroopkin is currently the Co-President of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois, having served on the board for the past six years.  She explored her family history for over 20 years, and began conducting research for others seven years ago.  For ten years, she worked as a nonprofit administrator on behalf of homeless individuals, developing collaborative programming and writing grants. She served on the boards of her synagogue and choir in roles including treasurer and librarian.

Executive Vice-President: Vacant 

Vice President-Membership (co-chair): Sandra Schon Kiferbaum has been obsessed with genealogy since her first trip to her parents' home towns in Hungary and Slovakia in 2010. She has attended six IAJGS international conferences and has enjoyed sharing her genealogical discoveries and travel tips during her JGSI "Qvell and Tell" and miniconference presentations. She has served as JGSI Publicity Vice President and is currently JGSI Membership Vice President.

Vice President-Membership (co-chair): Marcey Siegel has served as Vice President Membership Co-chair

since 2014.  She is also the financial officer of her condo association and leads a retired teachers reading club. After attending the  June 2010 JGSI Midwest Conference, she became inspired to research her family genealogy. Currently, Marcey is focused  on framing her documentation and family narratives in proper historical context and sharing with cousins.  She is a “hardly retired” reading specialist with a growing genealogy library of her own which she plans to pass on to her twin daughters and three grandchildren.

Vice President-Programming: Michael Tarkoff has a bachelor's degree in engineering and master's degrees in business and accounting. He retired from Inland Steel Company in 2003 after 36 years of service. In 2016, Mike started a “second career” working part time as an office manager for a geriatric physician, who is a personal friend.. His current genealogical interest is finding ancestral records in Belarus and Ukraine. Mike has been JGSI Treasurer for a number of years, and is excited about taking on a new role in programming.

Vice President-Publicity: Marty Fischer is a part-time copy editor at the Chicago Tribune and an adjunct faculty member of the City Colleges of Chicago, where he teaches social science. Marty is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, International Society of Family History Writers and Editors, and St. Louis Genealogical Society. He has been doing genealogy since the 1970s and has an extensive family history website. He has written articles for Morasha, the St. Louis Genealogical Society Quarterly, APG Quarterly, Avotaynu,, and Chicago Tribune.

Recording Secretary: Scott E. Meyer is now Recording Secretary and has served as President and Vice-President of JGSI.  He was Associate Editor of “Search”, an International Journal for Researchers of Jewish Genealogy, for the ten years it was published by JGSI.  A former member of the Board of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, he has lectured on Jewish genealogy throughout North America for over twenty-five years. 

Corresponding Secretary: Barry Finkel began genealogy in 1965, drawing family tree charts on large sheets of computer paper with input from his parents.  In 1990, one of his brothers decided to put the tree into a Unix computer.  He loaded from the drawings, added his brother's wife’s family, and began contacting relatives.  The database now has over 6,100 persons.  Barry is a retired computer scientist and IT professional; retirement gives him more time to do genealogy,.

Treasurer: Debbie Soren is a retired CPA who has served on various community boards. She became interested in genealogy, and in 1993 organized the information she had been saving since childhood to an early version of Family Tree Maker 3.0 on floppy disk. She continues to research, and on Monday afternoons you can find her volunteering in the Genealogy & Local History Room at the Glenview Public Library. In May, Debbie will receive a certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University.

Director-at-Large (Morasha): Peggy Morrow has been Editor of Morasha since 2008. She began her genealogical journey with the now successful quest to learn where her family emigrated from and has enjoyed the relatives, stories, and photos discovered along the way.  Peggy has a MBA degree and is a marketing consultant specializing in helping small businesses gain new customers and increase sales.

Director-at-Large (Technology): Ron Miller has been involved with computer technology since 1974. A genealogy hobbyist since 1994. Served as JGSI Webmaster (2007 - present), and JGSI Director-At-Large (Technology) since 2013.  Project leader and creator of  the JGSI online cemetery database; JGSI volunteer with research assistance program (2007 - present). Masters Degree in Public Administration. Retired US Navy Commander.

* Please refer to your election email from JGSI for instructions on how to vote. If you are eligible to vote but have not received an election email, please contact JGSI at
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