FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Below are some of the common questions we expect you may have about the conference.

There are three sections:

  1. A list of categories of questions (topic areas). Clicking on an item will take you to that section of questions.
  2. A list of questions by topic area. Clicking on the topic will take you to that section of answers. Clicking on a specific question will take you to its answer.
  3. The questions (repeated) along with their answers.

List of Topic Areas

List of Questions by Topic Area

CONFERENCE

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REGISTRATION

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THE HOTEL

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TRAVEL IN POLAND

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TOURS

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ACCESSIBILITY

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RELIGIOUS OBSERVANCE

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Answers to the Questions

CONFERENCE

Q.  What are the significant dates and times for this conference?
  A. 

The conference will be held from Sunday, August 5, 2018, until noon on Friday, August 10, 2018.

The conference begins on Sunday with a couple of introductory sessions in the morning from about 8:30 until 10:45. There will be nothing scheduled after that until 3:00 pm, when we will have our traditional SHAREFair, with refreshments, from 3:00 until 5:00 pm. At 5:00 pm we will have our opening session for approximately two hours and then break until the morning, when lectures begin at 8:00 am.

Q.  Will the conference be in English?
  A.  Yes, the official language of the Warsaw Conference will be English.
Q.  What is the level of genealogy expertise expected by the conference?
  A.  Typically about 1/3 of IAJGS conference attendees are first timers to a conference. Within that, a large percentage are new to Jewsh genealogy. The IAJGS conference committees work hard to provide a conference geared for genealogists at every level of expertise and therefore we schedule “introductory” level presentations as well as “expert” presentations. However, it is our personal experience that any lecture, provides something to learn from, and I have never attended or prepared an introductory session where I did not learn something new, whether about methodology or about presentation techniques. And schmoozing with people who share an interest or an ancestral neighborhood puts the icing on the cake. The group is welcoming to new people—which, by the way, is a genealogy best practice.
Q.  When will the conference program be available?
  A.  The preliminary program is available NOW (click here).
Q.  How will a typical conference day be organized?
  A.  Presentations generally start around 8:00 or 8:30 am and end by 8 pm to allow conference attendees time to explore Warsaw and spend time with their traveling companions who may not be genealogists.
Q.  Will the conference be recorded?
  A.  We anticipate recording many of the sessions of the Warsaw Conference and making them available for a fee.
Q.  Will there be a mobile-device app available?
  A.  Yes, there will be an IAJGS conference app for mobile devices. Stay tuned for details.
Q.  Will there be a printed program calendar and planner?
  A.  Yes, all full-conference registrants will receive a Daily Planner with the schedule.of conference activities.
Q.  How can I volunteer to help with the conference planning?
  A.  Write to us at volunteer@iajgs2018.org to inquire about volunteering! Thanks!
Q.  When will notice be given to presenters regarding acceptance of their proposals?
  A.  We hope to do so by the end of March 2018.
Q.  What is available during the day for non-genealogist spouses/family?
  A. 

Warsaw is a very interesting and navigable city filled with history, truly great museums and archives, shopping and good food. Taube Jewish Heritage Tours will be offering half and full daytime trips, some of which are geared for the non-genealogist.

Recognizing that a conference attendee may be traveling with a non-genealist family member, this conference is being scheduled to start slightly later (8:30 am), include a longer lunch time (90 minutes) and end the day by 7:30 or 8:00 pm at the latest to allow families to spend the evening together in a city that has a vibrant night life and generally takes dinner between 8 and 10 pm.

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Q.  Will WiFi be available in the conference venue?
  A. 

Yes. The entire hotel will be covered by WiFi, and we will be boosting its bandwidth for the conference.

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REGISTRATION

Q.  Is there an “early-bird” rate for the conference?
  A.  Yes, there is an early-bird rate that expires on April 28, 2018. Please see the Registration tab on this website for more information.
Q.  Is there a “Daily Rate” for the conference?
  A.  Yes, the daily rate has been set at $175 per day. Two days equals the full conference rate, which is required for guaranteeing hotel rooms at the Hilton Warsaw Hotel.
Q.  Is the Daily Rate for Friday the same as for the other days of the week?
  A.  Yes.
Q.  Will there be a discount for local residents?
  A.  We are looking for sponsorships now to enable us to offer a discounted conference rate to local residents. Please write funding@iajgs2018.org for more information.
Q.  What is the cancellation policy?
  A. 

Refunds will depend on when we receive a cancellation notice.

  • On or before May 15, 2018: A full refund of all fees paid less a $50 administrative fee will be made if a cancellation request is received by 11:59 pm EDT, May 15, 2018.
  • On or after May 16, 2018, and before July 1, 2018: A 50% refund of all fees paid less a $50 administrative fee if a cancellation request is received by 11:59 pm EDT, June 30, 2018. If you wish to substitute other Conference items for any fees paid, you may do so. This is not transferable to another person. If the substitution results in a net increase, you must pay the difference. If there is a net reduction, the difference will be refunded less a $50 administrative fee. If the difference is less than $50, it is forfeited in lieu of the administrative fee.
  • On or after July 1, 2018: No refunds or substitutions will be made for requests received on or after 12:01 am EDT July 1, 2018. We regret if illness, family emergency, or other reasons prevent you from participating in some or all of the conference. However, we have incurred obligations to others based upon your registration and additional fee items.

There will be no exceptions to the cancellation/refund policy. You may want to consider buying trip cancellation insurance.

To cancel your registration, please write to registration@iajgs2018.org or send a letter (delivery confirmation recommended) to

    Harvey Kabaker, Registration Chair
    IAJGS Warsaw 2018
    1314 Midwood Place
    Silver Spring, MD 20910-1645

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THE HOTEL

Q.  Where will the Warsaw conference be held?
  A.  The conference will be held at the Hilton Warsaw Hotel & Conference Centre at 63 Grzybowska Street.
Q.  Will the entire conference program be held at the Hilton Warsaw?
  A.  Yes. While we originally envisioned the conference lectures occurring in multiple locations, it became apparent that one location (the Hilton) presented advantages for our constituency and was simpler.
Q.  Is it possible to register now for hotel rooms?
  A. 

Yes. Those who have registered for the full Conference, or for at least two days of the event, may now reserve rooms at the Hilton Warsaw Hotel and Convention Centre, where most of the official sessions will take place. The link to Hilton’s special registration page is included with the conference registration confirmation message.

We have reserved approximately 200 rooms for the Conference period that are guaranteed at the Group Discount Rate of 480 zloty (as of March 23 about $140) for single occupancy and 520 zloty (as of March 23 about $152) for double occupancy. These rates are before an 8% tax. The Hilton Warsaw Hotel has extended an offer to us to allow this special rate for rooms during the period July 31, 2018, through and including August 15, 2018, “as available”.

These rooms include free WiFi and a hotel buffet breakfast (hence the additional charge for double or triple occupancy). The rooms are available with either ONE King or TWO twin beds. They have another category of rooms called “Executive Rooms”. These include a larger workspace area but are not covered by our contract.

Q.  Is conference registration required to reserve rooms in the Hilton?
  A.  Yes, at this point in time, the Hilton Warsaw will only be guaranteeing rooms for guests who have signed up for full-registration at the conference.
Q.  Have we reserved rooms at additional hotels?
  A.  Yes. We have reserved blocks of 50 rooms at the Radisson Blu Centrum, the Westin, and the Warsaw Marriott in addition to reserving 200 rooms at the Hilton Warsaw for our conference. We are also negotiating with a new IBIS hotel which is expected to open in March very close to the Hilton. We do not know prices yet on these “overflow” hotels, but hope to have contracts in place by the time that the Hilton Warsaw fills.
Q.  Will the conference assist with finding roommates upon request?
  A.  Yes, attendees who would like to find a roommate during the conference can post on the IAJGS 2018 Warsaw Conference Facebook page, post to the Conference Discussion List, or write to roommates@iajgs2018.org.
Q.  Is it possible to have a refrigerator in the hotel room?
  A.  Yes, all rooms in the Hilton Warsaw include a refrigerator. Half are stocked as a bar, and they can be emptied upon request to the hotel.
Q.  Is it possible to have a manual key to the hotel room?
  A.  Yes, floors 5 to 8 at the Hilton can be equipped with manual keys for Shabbat.
Q.  Is it possible to have a lower level floor in the hotel?
  A.  Because of the conference center, hotel rooms begin on the 5th floor. Therefore floors 5 through 8 can be used for Shabbat.
Q.  Will there be security measures in place at the Hilton Hotel?
  A.  Yes. All IAJGS conferences have a security strategy and work with the conference hotels to create a convenient but safe environment for everyone.
Q.  Is there a grocery store near the Hilton Warsaw Hotel?
  A.  Yes, there is a grocery store in the galleria next door to the Hilton Warsaw Hotel. Grocery store prices are generally cheaper in Poland than in North America, Israel, and Western Europe.

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TRAVEL IN POLAND

Q.  What will the weather in Poland be like during the Conference?
  A.  The weather in Poland in August can vary daily between the 70's and the 90s during the day with cool evenings in the 50s (Fahrenheit).
Q.  What is the currency used in Poland?
  A.  Poland maintains its own currency, the New Polish Zloty, which is approximately the same value as one Israeli New Shekel or about 29 cents US. Euros are also accepted but not preferred.
Q.  Can I use my credit cards in Poland?
  A.  Yes, even in small towns, most shopkeepers will take major credit cards. It is best to telephone or email your credit card company to advise them of your dates and places of travel so that they expect international purchases on your account and you will not invoke a fraud alert when you try to purchase something abroad. Credit cards with “chips” usually do not require alerting the bank for travel time and place.
Q.  How do I get cash in Poland?
  A.  ATM banking machines are readily available all over Poland. There is a third-party ATM machine in the lobby of the Hilton Hotel, as well as in the airport. There are also money changers in the airport and all over Poland (called “KANTOR”). Rates may vary, but ATMs are conveniently placed all around Warsaw. The best exchange rates are through bank ATMs and Kantors outside of the airports.
Q.  What is the customary tipping percentage in Poland?
  A.  The customary tipping rate in Poland is approximately 10% or simply rounding up to the nearest zloty, depending upon your feelings in the situation. Tipping is not depended upon for acceptable wage levels in Poland as it is in the USA.
Q.  Do people in Poland generally speak English?
  A.  Yes, today Poland is a member of the European Union, and it is relatively easy to find English-speakers in the larger towns. This is not necessarily true in the smaller towns nor in the archives.
Q.  What is the electrical plug type used in Poland?
  A.  The electrical plug types used in Poland are European plug types “C” and “E”.
Q.  Where can I see a picture of the electrical plug type used in Poland?
  A.  Here.
Q.  Will I need a converter for my electrical gadgets in Poland?
  A.  Most modern electrical gadgets today no longer require converters but include an internal converter to be compatible for 110 or 220 volt use, making voltage converters unnecessary.
Q.  What can I do if I do not have enough adaptors while in Poland?
  A.  It is possible to purchase adaptors in Poland; some hotel rooms have one US plug, and it is often possible to borrow a plug adapter from the hotel front desk.
Q.  How do I get cell phone service in Poland?
  A.  Check with your cell phone service provider. While it is possible to purchase SIM cards, it is generally no longer necessary with larger cell phone service providers.
Q.  Do hotels generally provide hair dryers and irons?
  A.  Yes, in most cities and larger towns, hotels will provide both hair blow dryers and irons with ironing boards.
Q.  Are taxis, buses, light rail, subway, and UBER available in Poland?
  A. 

In Warsaw, there are taxis, buses, and a comprehensive light rail system and subway. UBER is available using the standard smartphone app in Warsaw and Krakow.

Most taxis in Poland don’t take debit cards. And many don’t take credit cards, either. So, outside of the major airport pick-up points, arrive at the taxi prepared with cash. From Warsaw Chopin airport, people will have the best luck (and get the most honorable drivers) if they use SUPER or SAWA taxis, which are the recommended ones at the official taxi stand. Show your credit card right away to the driver before getting in to be sure he (usually it’s a he) will take it. (Avoid changing cash at the airport; rates there tend to be unfavorable.) Also, cashless Uber is available in both Warsaw and Krakow for those with smartphone access.

Q.  Is it safe to travel in Poland?
  A.  Absolutely. Crime is low, people are friendly towards tourists, and there is excellent intercity bus, train, and airline service.
Q.  What is the political situation in Poland today?
  A.  Poland's government is very stable, and it is abiding by the laws of the European Union. According to Rabbi Michael Schudrich, the Chief Rabbi in Poland, the Jewish Community in Poland not only has no problems with the government, but has found the current government supportive. The President of Poland recently attended the grand opening of the newly renovated Emanual Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw.
Q.  Is there anti-Semitism in Poland today?
  A.  As everywhere in the world, there are some such people. However, expect almost all the people you encounter to be gracious hosts.
Q.  Can you recommend a tour guide/travel company?
  A.  The official tour company of the IAJGS Warsaw Conference will be Taube Jewish Heritage Tours. Stay tuned for details.
Q.  What other tourist attractions should I allow time to visit in Warsaw?
  A.  We suggest visiting TripAdvisor's website to develop a list of places to visit in Warsaw. However, the Warsaw Uprising 1944 Museum is located one block from our conference hotel and is very interesting.
Q.  When do you recommend visiting archives and museums?
  A.  We recommend that you visit archives and museums before and after our conference but not during it.
Q.  How much time should I allow to visit POLIN Museum?
  A.  Most people find 3-4 hours perfect for a first visit to the POLIN Museum. Genealogists may take longer!
Q.  Will there be a special offer to IAJGS full-registrants at the POLIN Museum?
  A.  Stay tuned for details.

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TOURS

Q.  Will there be research or sightseeing tours available?
  A.  We hope to answer this question soon.

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ACCESSIBILITY

Q.  Are there disability accessible rooms in the hotel?
  A.  Yes, there are a limited number of disability accessible hotel rooms at the Hilton. To request one, please write to access@iajgs2018.org as soon as possible.
Q.  Will it be possible to rent a scooter at the conference hotel?
  A.  Yes, we are working with the Hilton Hotel to find a supplier for scooters at the conference. For information, please write to access@iajgs2018.org.
Q.  Will hearing, vision, and other disabilities be addressed in conference planning?
  A.  We are working to make the Warsaw Conference accessible to the widest array of Jewish genealogists possible. For more information, please write to access@iajgs2018.org.

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RELIGIOUS OBSERVANCE

Q.  Is there a guide to Jewish Warsaw?
  A.  The Jewish Community of Warsaw has assembled a Jewish Guide. It is available here.
Q.  Is there a Kosher Guide for Poland?
  A.  Yes, our favorite Kosher Guide while in Poland is here.
Q.  Is it possible to daven with the Jewish Community in Warsaw?
  A.  Yes, conference attendees are invited to daven at the Nozyk Synagogue. For their schedule, click here.
Q.  Are there liberal synagogues in Warsaw?
  A.  Yes, there are at least three liberal Jewish communities in Warsaw. They are:
Q.  Will there be kosher food available at the conference?
  A.  Yes. While some conference functions will not be kosher, kosher food can be pre-ordered for organized meals, and kosher food will be brought in daily on concession. Please follow this topic on the Facebook page here.
Q.  Will this conference include a daily minyan?
  A.  Yes, mincha/ma'ariv will take place just after 8 pm in the Hilton Hotel each evening of the conference. Conference attendees are invited to join at the Nozyk Synagogue for shachrit at 7:15 am with a breakfast following at approximately 8:15 am.
Q.  What are the sabbath arrangements at the hotels?
  A. 

The Hilton and Westin hotels have provisions for sabbath observance.

  • Mechanical keys are available on the lower floors. The lowest floor at the Westin is the fourth floor. At the Hilton, floors 5 to 8 can have mechanical keys.
  • The Stairwells will be unlocked and open on Shabbat for travel between floors.
  • Assistance with elevators can be provided.
  • At the Hilton, half of the rooms have empty refrigerators, and others can be emptied on request. At the Westin, every refrigerator is a minibar. We are asking if they will be emptied on request and do not have an answer to this question yet.

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