The keynote "fireside" speaker was Kahlile Bliss Mehr
Speaking on "The House of Israel as a Unifying Principle"
Kahlile Bliss Mehr is a retired librarian and author. He has published over fifty articles or book reviews. He developed the collections for Eastern Europe, Spain, Portugal, and the Pacific 1992-2002, 2007-2012; he visited the archives in Eastern Europe on twelve separate acquisition trips. He speaks Russian and Portuguese, and reads various Germanic, Romance and Slavic languages.
- Mormon Missionaries Enter Eastern Europe which was the foundation for his presentation.
- Hearts Turned to the Fathers: A History of the Genealogical Society of Utah 1894-1994,
- Sources for genealogical research in the Soviet Union,
For BYU Studies, he wrote an extensive history of the development of Israel studies leading to BYU's Jerusalem Center, largely involving Lynn Hilton who some of us remember. Here, edited for conciseness: http://www.mormonsandjews.org/history/IsraelStudiesJerusalemCenterLynnHilton.pdf.
More Biographical Information >>>Kahlile Bliss Mehr has both an M.A., and an M.L.S., he is the retired Slavic Collection Manager and Cataloging Supervisor at FamilySearch (LDS Church) in Salt Lake City. He
Kahlile is a past member of the board of directors and coordinator of the IAJGS management sessions at annual conferences. Kahlile brought experience from serving on the board of The Federation of Eastern European Family History Societies (FEEFHS) to the IAJGS.
Before his recent retirement, Kahlile was Manager of the Slavic Collection Management and Cataloging at FamilySearch. Kahlile fostered the IAJGS’s relationship with FamilySearch which has been an ongoing sponsor of our annual conference and the sponsor of IAJGS LIVE! (conference video streamed and on-demand).
For twenty years, he visited archives throughout Eastern Europe. He has often lectured at IAJGS conferences on genealogical sources and records availability and at the meetings of various Jewish Genealogical Societies.
Kahlile worked in the Family History Department for 32 years and in the Church History Department for 3 years. For ten years he investigated genealogical records in East European archives to ensure the most valuable records were acquired for the Family History Library Collection. Concurrently, he investigated the early history of the Church in that part of the world.
At Brigham Young University, Kahlile was the President of the Orson Hyde Club whose members promoted the study of Jewish Mormon history of Israel and performed Israeli folkdances.
More recently, Kahlile served a Church History mission in the southern half of the East Europe Area, teaching members to record their history and acquiring sources for an archive established by the Church in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Bio for Foundation for East European Family History Studies
He served on the FEEFHS Board since 1998. He has written for a variety of genealogical publications, including the FEEFHS Journal, Genealogical Helper, East European Genealogist, Avotaynu, and the Genealogical Journal (UGA). He has delivered papers at conferences of the Foundation for East European Family History Studies, Federation of Genealogical Societies, American Library Association, Society of American Archivists, Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, and International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies.
The evening started with a many of our members - and new visitors - arriving, greeting and hugging friends and introducing new friends. A great buffet of Jewish dishes and other pot-luck food was enjoyed.
While we ate, Julie Gardner played beautiful Eastern European-themed viola music to go along with the Eastern European theme of our speaker.
The fireside talk was given in the cultural hall, due to the first-ever video recording of the evening which cannot be done in the chapel.
Please go to our YouTube/BnaiShalomLatterDaySaintsAndJews channel and look for Kahlile Mehr Sept 2016. PLEASE subscribe to that YouTube channel.
Brother Mehr told of early Jewish proselyting programs (long since terminated), and interesting facts about Jewish genealogy connection to Family History / FamilySearch dept. He also told of historical archives created in Kiev and other locations. This will be described well in the video.
Our wireless microphone system helped audience members hear the questions and comments from other members.
Daniel Smith showed many interested members his creation of ancient Priesthood attire.
While we enjoyed dessert, our devoted dance instructor - the enthusiastic Deborah Mann - set up to teach us Hebrew dance. Unfortunately some chair/table takedown activity got in the way. We will seek to have this work more smoothly in the future.