MyHeritage and the Israeli War

In the genealogy community, we make friends with each other – and we care. Over the years, those friendships become bonds. Today, with electronic communications buffered by in-person conferences, we know and cherish people from around the world.

As the entire world knows, a surprise attack was launched against Israel by Hamas out of Gaza on October 7th when they attacked people attending a music festival near the Gaza border with Israel, mowing down at least 260 attendees. More are missing, and some are hostages. Right now, their status is unknown.

Israel is a small, compact country about the size of New Jersey. Note the legend in the upper left-hand corner of the map.

Daniel Horowitz, Genealogy Expert at MyHeritage, posted this yesterday. The MyHeritage headquarters is in Israel.

More than 700 Israelis have been killed, mostly residents, meaning families including children and the elderly as opposed to soldiers. More were brutally kidnapped, and some of those have been murdered as well. Americans are among the dead and missing, too. Israel has declared war on Hamas. More have died and will die. You can track this fast-moving situation through the news outlet of your choosing, but here is CNN’s latest.

Here’s a public Facebook posting that describes the situation from the perspective of an American film director who was in Israel for a screening that included MyHeritage.

Please note, this is NOT a political posting. This is a humanitarian update regarding our friends at MyHeritage and what they are living through minute by minute.

Most of my friends in Israel are thanks to MyHeritage – either their employees or people I met at their conferences. I know many are your friends too, and even if you haven’t met them personally, you’ve seen them at events, in videos, and interacted with them online. Collectively, they make our genealogy experience at MyHeritage possible.

I have managed to touch bases with most of my close Israeli friends, and have verified that others are “alright,” meaning not dead or missing, via social media or the person-to-person grapevine. Some of the MyHeritage employees and many of their family members, both male and female, have been called up to serve in the military.

Having said that, no one is really “alright” right now. This is not one of the episodic border skirmishes that happens from time to time. This is sudden warfare where they live.

This massive attack was entirely unexpected. The first they knew something was amiss was the missiles arriving and rockets exploding, followed by the sirens alerting them to get to a bomb shelter NOW. Everyone seems to be shellshocked, and no one doesn’t know someone who is directly affected, meaning injured, killed, kidnapped, or missing.

MyHeritage is such an honorable, family-oriented company and is supporting their employees in whatever way they can.

I’ve been in touch with company representatives, and their offices in Or Yehuda, just east of Tel-Aviv, are safe and undamaged, and at least for now, it’s pretty much business as usual. Knowing MyHeritage, I’m sure they have backup plans, and backup to the backup plans. Thanks to Covid, everyone learned to work from home, and MyHeritage continues to post normally on their Facebook page.

But right now, my concern isn’t the MyHeritage office, database, or records – it’s about the people.

As things continue to unfold, if you’re interested in status updates, I encourage you to follow Daniel Horowitz, MyHeritage’s Chief Genealogist, in the following locations:

My favorite is Facebook, but he posted a video on Twitter today. What a juxtaposition. Just a couple of days ago he was posting smiling vacation photos. How quickly things have changed dramatically.

Many of our Jewish friends in the States and around the world have family in Israel and are worried sick. This is not going to be quick, and I fear will get even messier – the proverbial “worse before it gets better.”

Please join me in supporting our friends and genealogy family at MyHeritage who are living through this war that has descended upon them in their homeland.


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3 thoughts on “MyHeritage and the Israeli War

  1. You wrote, at the end, “Please join me in supporting our friends and genealogy family at MyHeritage …”.
    Other than benevolent ‘prayers’ (however one may prefer), I’m wondering what support is most helpful overall and for all.

  2. Cutting the company a bit of slack in processing kits might be one way. I’m sure that their employees in-country are on emergency standby of one sort or another!!

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