RootsTech 2015

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Saturday, August 9, 2014

2nd Gideon Japhet Memorial Open Chess Tournament 2014: The Rest of the Story

From a post on Facebook by Schelly Talalay Dardashti, I learned about the 2nd Gideon Japhet Memorial Open Chess Tournament 2014. Genealogy is a wide ranging pursuit and it turns out that the this particular Chess Tournament is directly related to a keynote address for MyHeritage.com I gave at RootsTech 2013. In the articles about the Chess Tournament, I learned much more of the background of the remarkable Japhet family and have an even greater appreciation for their accomplishments. It was due to the untimely death of Gideon Japhet, that I became a substitute for Gilad Japhet, the CEO of MyHeritage.com.

First a word about Gilad Japhet. Here is a summary of his accomplishments from the MyHeritage.com website:
Gilad Japhet’s background in hi-tech portrays his drive for excellence. Mr. Japhet managed BRM Technologies' anti-virus research unit, acquired by Symantec. In this role he supervised the analysis of computer viruses and developed algorithms for defeating them. He then played a key role in BackWeb Technologies, an internet infrastructure company, first as product architect and later as the head of product management. His contribution was instrumental to the company's successful IPO on NASDAQ. Working out of the company's HQ in San Jose, California, he was personally responsible for the company's strategic accounts, and was named twice the company's MVP of the year. Mr. Japhet was also head of product management in startups SpearHead Technologies and Picatel Systems, prior to founding MyHeritage.com.

Mr. Japhet is an experienced genealogist, bringing MyHeritage.com a unique combination of vision, passion and expertise in professional software development and genealogy. His dream lies behind the inception of MyHeritage.com. 
Mr. Japhet holds a B.Sc. in Computer Science from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, graduating summa cum laude with President Award honors. 
He is married with 3 cute children.
There is an extensive article about the Chess Tournament on the Chessdom.com website. It is a fascinating article and gives an impressive insight into the world of professional chess as well as the life of Gilad and his father.

I have been extremely honored to have had a brief association with Gilad and a more extensive association with many of the other employees of MyHeritage.com. They are truly remarkable and we are blessed to have such talent in the genealogical community. I will end this post by quoting from the Jeruchess.com website about Gilad's father, Gideon Japhet:
Attorney Gideon Japhet was born and raised in Jerusalem. He was a passionate lover of chess and sports. His parents were Rosa Braz and Chaim Japhet, who was among the founders of social welfare in Israel and the deputy of Henrietta Szold. After graduating from the Gymnasia Rehavia, Jerusalem’s first modern Jewish high school, Gideon served as a Noter in Kfar Szold, protecting the Jewish population in the Galilee. He was an active member of the Haganah, was arrested by the British and imprisoned in the Kishle, and released when the British departed following the declaration of the State of Israel. He fought in the battles for Jerusalem in the War of Independence in the Moriah Battalion, took part in accompanying the convoys to Jerusalem and commanded a mortar crew. After the war he studied law at the Sorbonne in Paris and established a law office in Jerusalem, which operated and thrived for over fifty years. He was also the first Jewish lawyer who represented the Arab community in East Jerusalem and the West Bank after the Six Day War. 
Gideon was a well-known and beloved figure in Jerusalem. His dramatic appearances in court and eloquent biblical language were memorable. Chess was chief among his hobbies and the love for chess, which spanned over seventy years, was passed on by him with devotion to his children and grandchildren. Chess and sports, for the development of a healthy mind in a healthy body, were in his mind the winning combination for a full and happy life. He devoted many hours each day to them and gathered around him many soul mates and fans. Throughout the years he took part in marathons and half-marathon, and even at the age of 80 he participated in the veteran race for 10 km. He was very proud that he was the only player who achieved a draw in a simultaneous chess game in Jerusalem against Grandmaster Alexander Huzman, to which he was invited as the oldest player.

This tournament, which aims to promote chess in Israel, is dedicated to preserving the memory of Gideon Japhet, and we are proud to continue his path and perpetuate his legacy. May his memory be blessed.
As Paul Harvey would say, that is the rest of the story.

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