Festival Guests
Eli Batalion

Eli Batalion

PerformerDirectorGlobal Shtetl Live PerformerDirectorYidlive! PerformerDirectorChewdaism: A Taste of Jewish Montreal

Eli Batalion is a writer, producer, director, actor and composer for film, TV, the web and the stage. Eli began his career in musical theatre with the hit the award-winning internationally touring play “JOB: The Hip-Hop Musical.” He and partner Jerome Sable evolved their theatre work to the screen with the musical horror comedy short The Legend of Beaver Dam, selected to TIFF, Sundance, Berlinale and over 75 global film festivals, and to the feature horror musical comedy Stage Fright, featuring Minnie Driver and Meat Loaf and produced by Serendipity Point Films. YidLife Crisis, Eli’s latest project done together with partner Jamie Elman, has been an award-winning success at the convergence of web series and culture. It has grown from an award-winning web series to a series of digital projects and global live touring.

Chris Baum

Chris Baum

PerformerThe Guy Mendilow Ensemble | Beyond the Pale

Chris Baum is a contemporary violinist, composer, and educator who “ushers the violin into fresh sonic territory” (NPR). A pioneer of modern string technique, his strength lies in his versatility, consistently pushing boundaries while molding his playing to fit ensembles and genres often deemed unsuitable for the instrument. Trained in a demanding classical environment, Baum expanded his musical vocabulary at Berklee College of Music, where he graduated with honors, studying under cellist Eugene Friesen, violinist Mimi Rabson, and composer Sheldon Mirowitz. Chris’ growing list of credits include collaborations with Bent Knee, The Dear Hunter, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Dropkick Murphys, Amanda Palmer, Symmetry, Art Decade, Ben Levin, Jherek Bischoff, and the Video Game Orchestra, who recently featured him as a soloist at Boston’s Symphony Hall and on the ensemble’s recent tours in China, Taiwan, and Japan.

Andy Bergman

Andy Bergman

PerformerThe Guy Mendilow Ensemble | Beyond the Pale

Grounded in classical technique, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and recording artist Andy Bergman’s musicality is informed by years of work with a wide range of ensembles from orchestras and theater pits to afro-funk, klezmer, folk, reggae, and jazz bands. His growing list of credits includes appearances at the Chicago World Music Festival, Oslo World Music Festival, Festival Mawazine (Morocco), Baloise Session (Switzerland), Cully Jazz Festival (Switzerland), Colours of Ostrava (Czech Rep), Ashkenaz Festival (Toronto), Cappadox Festival (Turkey), Women Of The World Festival (Frankfurt), Carthage Jazz Festival (Tunisia), Philadelphia Folk Festival, Celebrity Series (Boston). Current collaborations include tours and recordings with Iyeoka, The Macrotones, Destroy Babylon, and The Doped Up Dollies.

Zack Bernbaum

Zack Bernbaum

DirectorThe Dancing Dogs of Dombrova

Zack Bernbaum is a Canadian director and producer from Toronto, whose work captures rich aesthetics, authentic performances and unique tones. Bernbaum’s first two features, And Now A Word From Our Sponsor – starring Bruce Greenwood and Parker Posey, and Cold Deck – starring Paul Sorvino and Robert Knepper, have been sold and released internationally, including theatrical runs in the US and Canada. In addition to his narrative work, Bernbaum directs and produces commercials for brands and organizations such as Spotify and Outward Bound Canada. Bernbaum heads Ezeqial Productions and is in development on a number of exciting projects, including Cut for Stone – which finished in the Top 50 of the Nicholl Fellowship.

Isaac Cherem

Isaac Cherem

DirectorLeona

Isaac Cherem was born in 1992 in Mexico City and graduated from The Los Angeles Film School in 2011. He started working as a production assistant on film sets at the age of fifteen and in 2015 he founded Fosforescente, a production company solely focused on Mexican cinema. In 2018 he shot his directorial debut, Leona.

Ambassador Ron Dermer

Ambassador Ron Dermer

GuestFrom Slavery to Freedom

Ron Dermer was born and raised in Miami Beach, Florida. He earned a degree in Finance and Management from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) from Oxford University. For three years, he was a columnist for the Jerusalem Post.

In 2004, Ron co-authored with Natan Sharansky the best-selling book, The Case For Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror, which has been translated into ten languages. From 2005-2008, Dermer served as Israel’s Minister of Economic Affairs in the United States. From 2009-2013, he served as Senior Advisor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He is married to Rhoda Dermer and has five children​.

Julia Eisenberg

Julia Eisenberg

PerformerAmerican Psalmody PerformerBook of J

Julia Eisenberg is a musician and composer working at the intersection of voice, text and diaspora consciousness. Her music is mostly released with John Zorn’s Tzadik label on the Radical Jewish Culture imprint. Her installation work has been curated into the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco and the Museum of Peace in Uzbekistan; she performs regularly in Europe and the Americas. She has been a visiting artist at CalArts, MIT, and the University of Colorado.

David Elcott

David Elcott

GuestThe Passengers

David Elcott has spent the last thirty years at the intersection of community building, the search for a theory of cross-boundary engagement, and interfaith and ethnic organizing and activism. Trained in political psychology and Middle East affairs at Columbia University and Judaic studies at the American Jewish University, Dr. Elcott is the Taub Professor of Practice in Public Service and Leadership at the Wagner School of Public Service at NYU and faculty director of the Advocacy and Political Action specialization at Wagner. His present research is focused in a number of inter-related areas: Launched with Ford Foundation grants, Dr. Elcott addresses how religious leaders can constructively affect civil discourse and democracy, searching for pathways for positive religious involvement in civic affairs.

Jamie Elman

Jamie Elman

PerformerDirectorGlobal Shtetl Live PerformerDirectorYidlive! PerformerDirectorChewdaism: A Taste of Jewish Montreal

Jamie Elman is an actor, writer, director, producer and musician.  He has appeared on some of television’s most acclaimed series including Mad Men, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and House M.D. and for three seasons of NBC’s critically lauded drama American Dreams. His breakout role was Cody on the FOX/YTV teen sitcom Student Bodies. Along with Eli Batalion, Jamie co-created the award-winning Yiddish web series YidLife Crisis, which has over 3 million online views and four prestigious Canadian Screen Award nominations, including Best Actor and, two years in a row, Best Digital Series. As ‘comedy peacekeepers’, YidLife regularly performs live all over Canada, the US, Europe and Israel, and has twice been named to the Slingshot Guide as one of the Top 50 Most Innovative Jewish Organizations in North America. Jamie recently starred in the Toronto production of the play BAD JEWS, his third run of that show in 3 years.

Franklin Foer

Franklin Foer

GuestThe Spy Behind Home Plate

The former editor of The New Republic, Franklin Foer is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and fellow at the New America Foundation. One of today’s most respected magazine journalists, Foer is also the author of the acclaimed book How Soccer Explains the World as well as World Without Mind. An enlightening and engaging speaker, Foer offers astute commentary on economics, globalization, the tech industry, and our current political climate.

Uli Geissendoerfer

Uli Geissendoerfer

PerformerIsle of Klezbos | Beregovski Suite

Pianist and composer, Uli Geissendoerfer, is a versatile and remarkable musician exploring rhythms and melodies across many styles of music, with a special emphasis on World, Jazz, and improvisation. Originally from Musich, Germany, he now holds dual residency with the US and worked with, among others, Tito Puente, William Cepeda (awarded a Grammy nomination), Groove Collective, Giovanni Hidalgo, Blood Sweat & Tears, Leslie Uggams, Cirque du Soleil, Kofo the Wonderman, Uta Lemper, and David Cassidy.

Ron Gerlitz

Ron Gerlitz

ModeratorThe 21%: The Lives of Arab Citizens of Israel

Ron Gerlitz joined Sikkuy: the Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality as co-executive director in January 2009. In this capacity, he led the development of the Sikkuy model for mapping the barriers to equality and creating policy recommendations, “From Barriers to Opportunities”, and edited six policy papers as part of this series. Ron is an expert on Jewish-Arab relations in Israel and frequently writes op-eds In Hebrew, English and Arabic about the status of relations between the Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel and between the Arab citizens and the state.

Ron is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem with a B.Sc. in mathematics and computer science and an MA in public policy, both magna cum laude. He began his professional career in hi-tech, working for six years as software and algorithm team leader, both in Israel and in Silicon Valley, California.

Lex Gillespie

Lex Gillespie

DirectorThe Mamboniks

Lex Gillespie is a Peabody and duPont-Columbia Award-winning public radio producer turned film director. For the past 25 years, he’s produced documentaries on music, history and culture. My credits include The Science Sisters, the story of four Latina students who competed in Chicago’s Science Fair; A Kind and Just Parent, about the creation of the first juvenile court in the US; and Whole Lotta Shakin a 10-hour series on the birth of rock ’n roll. The Mamboniks is his first film.

Brian Glassman

Brian Glassman

PerformerMusic in Yiddish Cinema PerformerIsle of Klezbos | Beregovski Suite

Brian Glassman is an extremely versatile musician, at home in almost any genre of music be it, Classical, Rock, Latin, R&B, Cabaret but he is perhaps best known for his work in Jazz, Cabaret and world music styles such as Klezmer.  Some of the artists that Brian has performed, toured and recorded with include; -Jazz greats like; Paquito d’Rivera, John and Bucky Pizzarelli, Lionel Hampton, Sahib Shahab, Kenny Burrell, Benny Golson, Harold Mabern, Randy Brecker, Ken Peplowski, Gene Bertoncini, Billy Cobham to name just a few.  Legendary interpreters of the Popular American Song Book such as Margaret Whiting, Michael Feinstein, Karen Akers and Liza Minnelli, and Anne Hampton Callaway.  -Klezmer / Yiddish and Jewish music stars such as Andy Statman, Frank London, Zalmon Mlotek, Alicia Svigals, Michael Alpert, Greg Wall, Adrienne Cooper, Neshama Carlebach.  Brian has performed nationwide and throughout Europe, The UK, Japan, S. Africa, Brazil, Israel and Russia and has just returned from 2 different month long tours of 12 countries in South Pacific Asia and The Mid-East for Jazz At Lincoln Center and the U.S. Dept. of State Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs as a musical ambassador representing the best of American musical styles with The Johnny Rodgers Band.

Jorge Gurvich

Jorge Gurvich

DirectorBack To Maracanã

Jorge Gurvich was born in Argentina and immigrated to Israel in 1978. He studied Cinema at Tel Aviv University and very quickly became one of the leading cinematographers in Israel, shooting over 80 films (including features, shorts, and documentaries). In the late 90s, he directed several short films and TV dramas that won international awards, among them The Shower, Pesia’s Necklace, and Moments of Grace. In 2011he directed the feature film Mrs Moskowitz & the Cats.

Ricki Gurwitz

Ricki Gurwitz

GuestThe Accountant of Auschwitz

Ricki Gurwitz is a former producer at CTV News Channel. She started her career in New York, where she was a producerat WABC NewsTalkRadio. She moved back to Torontoin 2009where she took over the production of the TheBill Carroll Showand TheJerry Agar Show on Newstalk 1010. In 2011, Ricki made the switch to television, joining CTV News Channel as a segment and associate producer,working with reporters in the field to package news stories, and in the newsroom to cover the headlines of the day. In 2015 Ricki left CTV to produce The Accountant of Auschwitz, her first feature documentary.

Suzan Hasan

Suzan Hasan

SubjectGuestThe 21%: The Lives of Arab Citizens of Israel

In her current role at JDC-TEVET, Suzan Hasan is responsible for developing innovative initiatives for the integration of two main populations into the job market: Arab men and women who are disengaged from the labor force and working for lower wages than the general population, with emphasis on developing interventions and innovative employment opportunities such as telecommuting and e-commerce, and on enhancing capacities and skills relevant to effecting change in the employment field. Suzan has extensive knowledge and experience in the employment of special needs populations, accrued during her research work at the Myers-Joint-Brookdale Institute and accompanying programs for Israeli Arab society and disadvantaged women from their stage of development through their adoption by the government. Suzan also has broad experience advising social and business organizations in the development of employment programs for disenfranchised groups. She has also been a lecturer in career management programs. Suzan holds a Bachelor’s degree in behavioral neuroscience, an additional degree in social work, and a Master’s in Law studies and Criminology – all from Hebrew University.

Lady Irene Hatter

Lady Irene Hatter

SubjectGuestForgotten Soldier

The inspiration for Forgotten Soldier, Lady Irene Hatter galvanised the outstanding research by her brother Jacques, and went on a journey to discover the truth behind her father Sally’s wartime exploits. The only daughter of Sally Noach and Annie Visser, she was born in Holland but moved to London in her early twenties. She is married to the industrialist Sir Maurice Hatter, and together Lady Irene and Sir Maurice have devoted over thirty five years to an extraordinary range of philanthropic work, primarily in education. In particular, they have made an enormous contribution to ORT, the world’s largest Jewish eductional and vocational training charity, specialising in technology. They have also been long-standing patrons and donors to the University of Haifa in Israel, where they have endowed buildings, scholarships and educational programs. Forgotten Soldier will ultimately be included in the curriculum of the University of Haifa’s M.A Program of Holocaust Studies, an international centre of excellence for Holocaust research and education. Irene lives in London and has two sons, Daniel and Elliot, and two grandchildren Zak and Lola.

Dara Jeffries

Dara Jeffries

SpeakerSefarad

Dara Jeffries is a representative of the Jewish Community of Oporto. She is an attorney living in Miami but lived most of herlife in Portugal and still has strong ties with the Community there.

Daniel Kahn

Daniel Kahn

PerformerDaniel Kahn and the Painted Bird

Detroit-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter, polyglot poet, translator and activist Daniel Kahn concocts furious, tender, electrifying and revolutionary Alienation Klezmer. With the Painted Bird, he presents a variety of passionate songs inspired in part by the struggles of Jewish revolutionaries at the turn of the century, and in part by his own intense desire for a better world.The Painted Bird has brought “Yiddish Punk Cabaret” to rock clubs, festivals and shtetls, from Berlin to Boston, Leningrad to Louisiana.

Laura Katz Cutler

Laura Katz Cutler

ModeratorThe Passengers

Laura Katz Cutler is Managing Director of the Center for Israel Studies at American University. A former commercial banker with Wells Fargo Bank, Ms. Cutler is a community activist and active member of the Washington, DC, Jewish community, where she has been a tireless advocate for innovation in Jewish education. She is past chairman of the board of PANIM: The Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values and was a founding board member of the Partnership for Jewish Life and Learning. Ms. Cutler serves on the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. She holds a masters degree in international relations from The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Aviva Kempner

Aviva Kempner

DirectorThe Spy Behind Home Plate

Aviva Kempner has a mission in life. She makes films that investigate non-stereotypical images of Jews in history and celebrate the untold stories of Jewish heroes. To her list of those heroes, she has now added Moe Berg. Based in Washington, DC, director-writer-producer Kempner boasts a resume of critically acclaimed and award-winning documentaries, including Rosenwald, Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg, and Peabody winner The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg. She also produced another WWII documentary, Partisans of Vilna. She is an avid voting rights advocate for the District of Columbia and is the founder of the Washington Jewish Film Festival.

Debra Kreisberg

Debra Kreisberg

PerformerMusic in Yiddish Cinema PerformerIsle of Klezbos | Beregovski Suite

Saxophonist and clarinetist Debra Kreisberg performs, composes, arranges and records with the New York City-based Latin-jazz ensemble Los Mas Valientes, and the award-winning klezmer ensembles Metropolitan Klezmer and Isle of Klezbos, with whom she has toured in the U.S., Canada and in Europe. She is the leader of two jazz projects, East Harlem Trio, and The Highliners Jazz Quintet, and is a member of the Latin-jazz big band Bronx Conexión, led by master percussionist/composer Victor Rendón. Debra has performed with MacArthur Fellowship winner Taylor Mac in the world premiere of Taylor Mac’s 24-Decade History of Popular Music; renowned singer-songwriters Natalie Merchant and Jill Sobule; jazz luminaries Harvie S, Chuck Redd, Sheryl Bailey and Tommy Campbell; the Rochester Philharmonic; and the world-blues project Hazmat Modine. Her playing and compositions have been heard on CBS Sunday Morning, CNN Worldbeat, WBGO, SiriusXM Radio, Ebru TV’s Rhythm and Roots and on Showtime’s The L Word.

Shira Leibowitz Schmidt

Shira Leibowitz Schmidt

SubjectHidden Face

Shira Leibowitz Schmidt is best known for the book she co-authored with Nobel Prize laureate Roald Hoffman, “Old Wine, New Flasks: Reflections on Science and Jewish Tradition.” From her perch in the Chassidic enclave of Kiryat Sanz, where the film Hidden Face was shot, she has interviewed dozens of Holocaust survivors who were helped by the Sanz-Klausenberger Rebbe to rebuild their lives.

Jeremiah Lockwood

Jeremiah Lockwood

PerformerAmerican Psalmody PerformerBook of J

Jeremiah Lockwood has played around the world from Montreal Jazz to the Festival au Desert in Timbuktu, Mali, as the leader of The Sway Machinery and as the guitarist in the Balkan Beat Box. Jeremiah was a recipient of a Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists, an Artist-in-Residence for the Forward and a Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra Composer Fellow. He is currently completing a PhD on Khasidic cantorial music at Stanford University.

Celia Lowenstein

Celia Lowenstein

DirectorSacred Spaces – From Temple to Synagogues: Absence and Presence

Celia Lowenstein is a director, writer, and producer of over 50 films whose subjects range from science, religion, art, philosophy, and music. She has been commissioned and made films for the BBC, ARTE, CBS, NBC, PBS, Discovery, NOVA, National Geographic, and Animal Planet.

Guy Mendilow

Guy Mendilow

PerformerMyths, Lies, and Truths: Romanticizing Traditional Cultures PerformerThe Guy Mendilow Ensemble | Beyond the Pale

Guy Mendilow grew up in what seemed like a global game of hopscotch, choosing between three passports in homes in the Middle East, North, Central and South America and Africa. He began his professional stage career at age ten, touring internationally and domestically with the American Boychoir and annually singing some two hundred concerts  in venues like Carnegie Hall, Boston Symphony Hall and Lincoln Center.

An artist-in-residence with leading performing arts organizations like Celebrity Series of Boston, Mendilow is a teaching artist at universities across the U.S. from Harvard to the University of Washington. His work has received multiple funding awards from the National Endowment for the Arts on the basis of artistic strength, cultural preservation and the strengthening of communities through the arts.

Zalmen Mlotek

Zalmen Mlotek

GuestArtist Talk: Zalmen Mlotek

Zalmen Mlotek is an internationally recognized authority on Yiddish folk and theater music and a leading figure in the Jewish theatre and concert worlds. Mr. Mlotek was raised in a prominent Yiddish speaking family renowned for its Jewish songbook collections. His formal training as a classical musician and conductor was at Julliard School of Music, the New England Conservatory of Music, the Tanglewood Music Center, Manhattan School of Music and Mannes School of Music. Among his most notable teachers and mentors was Leonard Bernstein.

Shoko Nagai

Shoko Nagai

PerformerMusic in Yiddish Cinema PerformerIsle of Klezbos | Beregovski Suite

Shoko Nagai is a versatile musical artist who improvises and performs with world-renowned musicians on piano and accordion and composes original scores for films and live performances. Since moving to the U.S. from Japan and studying classical and jazz music at Berklee, she has adapted her mastery of the keyboard to prepared piano, accordion, Moog synthesizer, and other instruments. Whether she is performing Klezmer, Balkan or experimental music, Nagai is a charismatic presence onstage, who hypnotizes audiences with her intense focus and virtuoso sound. A veteran of the New York downtown music scene, she performs with John Zorn, Erik Friedlander, Marc Ribot, Miho Hatori (Cibo Matto), Satoshi Takeishi, Elliot Sharp and many eclectic performers.

Nina Paley

Nina Paley

DirectorSeder-Masochism

Nina Paley is the creator of the critically acclaimed animated musical feature film Sita Sings the Blues. Her adventures in our broken copyright system led her to join QuestionCopyright.org as Artist-in-Residence in 2008, where she produced a series of animated shorts about intellectual freedom called Minute Memes. Seder-Masochism is her second feature.

DJ Ricky Paul

DJ Ricky Paul

PerformerEurovision Song Contest 2019

Ricky Paul was born and raised in the East Falls section of Philadephia, PA and Cherry Hill, NJ. He graduated with a B.A. from Rowan University and has steadily worked for over 20 years in all facets of the performing arts including: environmental and improvisational theatre, musical comedy, socially conscious performance art, film, and television. He has performed extensively throughout the U.S. as well the world over. Career highlights include Michael Ogborn’s Regalia at The Duplex NY/NY, the Barrymore Award nominated 1812 Productions Box Office of The Damned at The Arden Theatre, and sharing a regional Emmy Award for Soldiers In The Sky, produced as part of WHYY TV 12’s Philadelphia Performs series.

Michelle Paymar

Michelle Paymar

DirectorFrom Cairo to the Cloud: The World of the Cairo Geniza

Michelle Paymar produced, directed, and filmed From Cairo to the Cloud. Her independent work has screened at festivals around the world and she has extensive credits as a director and writer of documentary and non-fiction television programs for NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, CBC, MTV, CTV, Travel, Discovery, History, and other major broadcasters. Her production company, D-Facto Filmstudio, makes independent documentaries and promotional films for nonprofits and NGOs. Clients include Amnesty International (Canada), Alzheimer’s Services of the East Bay (California), and the Ayubowan Women’s Project (Sri Lanka). Earlier films include her pioneering AIDS documentary, For Our Lives, and Sippie, a documentary about classic blues artist Sippie Wallace (Co-Directed with Roberta Grossman). She received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Film Directing from the American Film Institute and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California, Berkeley. Paymar is a member of the International Documentary Association and Women in Film.

Ryan Porush

Ryan Porush

DirectorThe Passengers

Ryan Porush is a documentary filmmaker and journalist based in LA. He’s produced, filmed and edited documentaries and short films around the world, with an emphasis on telling dynamic, character-driven stories that give voice to marginalized communities. He received a BA from UCSB, and an MA in documentary journalism from NYU, where he learned from established documentarians like Kirsten Johnson, Carol Dysinger and Shimon Dotan. Porush’s award-winning first short documentary film, Two Hundred Percent, screened at film festivals in 2016. He has collaborated with VICE, GQ and National Geographic. He founded the production company Far Between Pictures in 2017.

Amal Rihan

Amal Rihan

GuestThe 21%: The Lives of Arab Citizens of Israel

Amal Rihan lives in Jaffa. She is an Arab Muslim woman, and an Arabic Language teacher for Arab and Jewish people.

Dr. Baruch Schmidt

Dr. Baruch Schmidt

SubjectHidden Face

Dr. Baruch Schmidt, from a non-religious Jewish family in Texas now makes his home in the Sanz Chassidic community in Netanya. He served as Head of Dept. of Surgery in the Laniado Hospital founded by the late Sanz-Klausenberger Rebbe, the subject of this film. Dr. Schmidt enjoyed a unique, enriching, and multifaceted relationship with the Rebbe. In addition to the towering figure sketched in the movie, Dr. Schmidt can flesh out the portrait of the Rebbe with a wide range of personal experiences.

Dan Shadur

Dan Shadur

DirectorKing Bibi

Dan Shadur is an Israeli filmmaker and writer, a graduate of the Tel Aviv University Steve Tisch School of Film and Television. His debut documentary “Before The Revolution” was funded by Yes Docu and ITVS, premiered in Hotdocs 2013 and featured in dozens of other international festivals. It was the first ever Israeli documentary to be broadcast inside Iran. Shadur also directed short films, music videos and commercials. His articles and stories have been featured in Israel’s leading newspapers and magazines.

Natan Sharansky

Natan Sharansky

SubjectFrom Slavery to Freedom

Natan Sharansky was born in Donetsk, Ukraine. He was a spokesman for the human rights movement, a leader in the struggle for the right of Soviet Jews to immigrate to Israel and a prisoner of Zion, served 9 years in the Gulag. From 1996–2005 he was Minister and Deputy Prime Minister in four successive Israeli governments. From 2009–2018 he served as Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel. Natan Sharansky is the recipient of Congressional Medal of Honor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2018 he received the highest Israeli award – the Israel Prize for promoting Aliyah and the ingathering of the exiles. He is also the author of three books: Fear No Evil, The Case for Democracy and Defending Identity.

Eve Sicular

Eve Sicular

PerformerMusic in Yiddish Cinema PerformerIsle of Klezbos | Beregovski Suite

Drummer, bandleader and film scholar Eve Sicular formed and leads NYC-based bands Isle of Klezbos all-women’s sextet (since 1998) and Metropolitan Klezmer octet (since 1994). She has produced the two bands’ seven acclaimed CDs, as well as band tours throughout North America and Europe. In the musical documentary theater realm, she created the Off-Off Broadway hit “J. Edgar Klezmer: Songs from My Grandmother’s FBI Files.” Her musical and multi-media archival projects have received accolades from Sparkplug Foundation, Outmusic Awards, Chamber Music America, New York State Council on the Arts, and NYC’s Department of Cultural Affairs. A graduate of Harvard in Russian History & Literature and former Curator of Film and Photo Collections at YIVO Institute, she researched what became the “Yiddish Celluloid Closet” while working on the landmark Museum of Modern Art retrospective “Bridge of Light: Yiddish Film Between Two Worlds.”

Chuck Smith

Chuck Smith

GuestBarbara Rubin and the Exploding New York Underground

Chuck Smith is a filmmaker, TV producer, and writer who has produced documentaries and TV series for many network and cable stations. Most recently he has been working as a Producer for Vanity Fair Confidential. His Show-running credits include, The Dose with Dr. Billy, Hawaii Air Rescue and Alaska Wing Men. With his own company, Smith Productions, Smith wrote, produced and directed Forrest Bess: Key to the Riddle.

Lucille Smith

Lucille Smith

DirectorForgotten Soldier

Lucille Smith’s previous credits include the BAFTA-winning centennial anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele and over seventy Holocaust testimonies from Britain’s last living Holocaust survivors, interviews which will be housed for posterity in a new Holocaust Learning Center in the United Kingdom. Forgotten Soldier is Lucile’s feature directing debut.

Micah Smith

Micah Smith

DirectorSustainable Nation

Micah Smith is an award-winning narrative and documentary filmmaker whose films have been featured on Netflix, and have been screened at international film festivals, the UN, British Parliament, and US Congress. Smith graduated from the Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at New York University’s Tisch School of the Art

Donald Sosin

Donald Sosin

PerformerThe Ancient Law

Donald Sosin has been enthralling audiences in the US and Europe with his silent film music for over thirty years. Born in 1951, he grew up in Rye, NY, and Munich. He studied piano with Kyriena Siloti, and is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Columbia University, studying composition with William Albright and Jack Beeson. He was the resident film accompanist at the Museum of Modern Art in the late 70’s, and returns there frequently as a guest pianist.

Eric Stein

Eric Stein

PerformerTio Chorinho PerformerThe Guy Mendilow Ensemble | Beyond the Pale

Toronto’s Eric Stein is a multi-instrumental musician (mandolin, bass, cimbalom) and a leading figure in Canada’s World, Folk and Jewish-roots music scenes. He is founder/leader of the innovative klezmer/world fusion group Beyond the Pale, with whom he has performed across North America, Europe, Brazil and Australia and released four award-winning CDs. Eric also leads the Brazilian choro ensemble Tio Chorinho, is a member of the international supergroup the Ger Mandolin Orchestra, and has performed with a number of other leading world, folk and classical artists, including Socalled, Theodore Bikel, Flory Jagoda, MIke Marshall, Avi Avital, and various Canadian chamber groups and symphonies.

Alicia Svigals

Alicia Svigals

PerformerIsle of Klezbos | Beregovski Suite PerformerThe Ancient Law

Alicia Svigals was one of the founders in 1986 of the band the Klezmatics, and co-led the ensemble until 2001. With them, she appeared on A Prairie Home Companion, Rosie O’Donnell’s Kids are Punny, Good Morning America, MTV News, Nickelodeon, and NPR’s New Sound and Weekend Edition. As a composer for the group, she provided music for the play A Dybbuk by Tony Kushner, and collaborations with poet Allen Ginsbergand Israeli singer Chava Alberstein. They also performed with Itzhak Perlman on PBS’ Emmy-winning Great Performances documentary In the Fiddler’s House and on the Late Show with David Letterman, and appeared together in concert at Radio City Music Hall, Tanglewood, and Wolf Trap.

Sofía Tosello

Sofía Tosello

PerformerThe Guy Mendilow Ensemble | Beyond the Pale

From Cordoba, Argentina, vocalist Sofia Tosello draws on her expertise in such Latin American Cancion traditions as Tango, Chacarera, Bolero, Son and Zamba to bring GME vocals alive with bold colours. Part of an exciting group of young transnational artists advancing change in Latin American song, Tosello performs and records worldwide with artists like Horacio “El Negro” Hernández, Alex Cuba, and Marta Gómez. She is a teaching artist at performing arts organizations like NY’s Carnegie Hall and at universities from Reed College to the Swarnaboohmi Academy of Music in Chennai, India.

Nani

Nani

PerformerYemen Blues | Nani

Noam “Nani” Vazana is an acclaimed international Singer, Composer, Pianist and Trombonist. Official selection WOMEX panel 2018, won the Sephardic Music Award 2017, ranked iTunes Top-20 bestseller 2015, won ACUM album prize . Played Jazzahead DE, North Sea Jazz NL, Roccella Jazz IT, Injazz NL, Blue Note PL, Tanjazz MA Tel Aviv Jazz ISR, Artist in residence Amsterdam Roots Festival, sharing the stage with John Clayton, Terell Stafford, Katie Melua, Bobby Mcferrin & more. Vazana composed music for BBC and NPO documentaries & released 3 albums. The Dutch NPO network released a mini documentary about her work in 2018 and is now making a documentary about her life & music to be released in 2020.

Elizabeth White

Elizabeth White

SpeakerThe Accountant of Auschwitz

Dr. Elizabeth B. (“Barry”) White is a historian in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Division of the Senior Historian, where she serves as an expert on matters related to the Holocaust, post-Holocaust genocides and mass atrocities, and international justice.  She has also served as the Research Director of the Museum’s Center for the Prevention of Genocide.  Prior to her employment at the Museum, she served at the U.S. Department of Justice as the Chief Historian and Deputy Director of the Office of Special Investigations and, most recently, as Deputy Chief and Chief Historian of the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section.  In both positions, she directed research to develop and support prosecution of perpetrators of genocide, war crimes, Nazi persecution and other human rights violations.  Dr. White has a Ph.D. in History from the University of Virginia and is the author of German Influence in the Argentine Army, 1900-1945, as well as numerous articles and papers.

Gili Yalo

Gili Yalo

PerformerGili Yalo

Gili Yalo is one of the most intriguing new musicians in the music scene in Israel. From his base in Tel aviv, Gili Yalo is launching a solo career in a new project that combines Ethiopian roots with Soul, Funk, Psychedelic and Jazz music. Gili Yalo, who has collaborated with top music producers Beno Hendler and Uri Kinrot (Boom Pam), incorporates sounds from traditional Ethiopian music into a contemporary music production. The result is an exceptional, rich, vivid melody accompanied by Gili’s unique voice with lyrics in both English and Amharic.

Carole R. Zawatsky

Carole R. Zawatsky

ModeratorFrom Slavery to Freedom

Carole Zawatsky has been the CEO at the Edlavitch DCJCC since 2011.

She has held leadership roles at many Jewish museums throughout the United States including the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC and The Jewish Museum in New York.  Her most recent position was with the JCC of San Francisco where she was the Associate Director of Arts, Ideas and Jewish.

Carole was born and raised in suburban Washington and holds a BA from the University of Maryland and MA from George Washington University.