Speaker, Invisibles, Almost Friends, and Anywhere Else 

Pnina Agenyahu served as Director of the Hillel Center at Tel Aviv University. She has extensive experience in public speaking and teaching. She was an activist involved in several volunteer endeavors in Israel aimed at social change and she had been appointed to a prestigious position as public representative on Israel’s Council for Higher Education.

In 2014 As Israel marks 66 years of independence with a tribute to women, Pnina named by Haaretz as one of 66 Israeli influential women you should know. Pnina hold a BA from Hebrew university in Jewish History and sociology and MA in political and public leadership from Tel Aviv University.


Director, Deli Man

Erik Greenberg Anjou is a graduate of Middlebury College (B.A. American Literature), Northwestern University (M.A. Film) and the American Film Institute’s Center for Advanced Film Studies (Directing Fellow). He has written, directed and produced in both the narrative and documentary arenas. His documentary A Cantor’s Tale won top prizes at many festivals. His documentary 8: Ivy League Football and America which features Tommy Lee Jones, Calvin Hill, Chuck Bednarik and many national football icons, has been popular on PBS affiliates.

His latest film, The Klezmatics – On Holy Ground, was the opening night film at the Krakow Film Festival, one of Europe’s oldest events dedicated to documentary film. Erik has a particular passion for Jewish culture and storytelling, and is committed to mining the territory between tradition and modernity as American-Jewish life continues to reshape itself in the 21st century. He has taught and lectured at Middlebury College, the Haverford School, School for Visual Arts, and St. John’s University.


Speaker, Lunchtime Talk at the Library Congress with Peter Ascoli and Aviva Kempner

Peter Ascoli is grandson and biographer of Julius Rosenwald and the author of Julius Rosenwald: The Man Who Made Sears, Roebuck and Advanced the cause of Black Education in the American South.


Subject, East Jerusalem, West Jerusalem // Singer & Actress, The Dove Flyer

Mira Awad was born in Rameh village in Galilee, Israel to an Arab Christian father from the Galilee, and a Bulgarian Christian mother. She studied at the Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music in Ramat HaSharon, and at the Body Theatre School.

Awad became an instant star on Israeli television after appearing in the sit-com Arab Labor. She also appeared in The Bubble, a film by director Eytan Fox. She sang the songs for the films Forgiveness (directed by Udi Aloni), and Lemon Tree (directed by Eran Riklis). In 2006 she appeared as an IDF soldier in the Cameri production of a musical adaptation of Maya Arad’s novel in verse “Another Place, a Foreign City”.

Awad represented Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest 2009, along with Achinoam Nini (Noa). Awad was the first Arab-Israeli singer to represent Israel in the contest.


Former Director, WJFF (2008 – 2011) & Speaker, 2 or 3 Things I Know About Him 

Susan Barocas is filmmaker, writer and former director of the WJFF (2008-2011). She helped launch the Jewish Food Experience as its first project director. Currently, Susan writes, produces and directs documentaries and films for non-profit organizations.


Speaker, The Muses of Isaac Bashevis Singer 

Evelyn Torton Beck is Professor Emerita of Women’s Studies and Jewish Studies at the University of Maryland.  She pioneered bringing Yiddish into the Modern Language Association and was among the first to offer university courses in Yiddish Literature in Translation. She is the author of Kafka and the Yiddish Theater: Its Impact on his Work; she translated with I. B. Singer in the 1960s.


Director, Red Father

Tova Beck-Friedman is a multimedia artist and a writer, working in video, photography and sculpture and is the recipient of several grants and artist residencies.

Her work has been shown internationally in festivals, museums, galleries and on television including: The International Artists’ Museum, at the 50th Venice Biennale; The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington DC; New Jersey State Museum; Yeshiva University Museum in New York; and the Jerusalem Cinematheque.

Her film At the Altar of Her Memories was broadcast on Israeli Television and A Portrait of the Artists as an Old(er) Woman on US PBS stations. The film Don’t Askwon first prize on Reel/13 and 2nd prize at the 2010 Athens, GA Jewish Film Festival Shorts Competition and was broadcast on NY Thirteen/WNET.


Subject, Theodore Bikel: In The Shoes of Sholom Aleichem

Theodore Bikel is an award-winning actor on screen and stage (The Defiant Ones, The African Queen, The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, Fiddler on the Roof), an activist for civil rights and progressive causes worldwide, and a singer whose voice has won him great applause.

Born in Austria, raised in Palestine, educated in England, and with a stellar career in the United States and around the world, Bikel is a singular artist, still active as ever at 90 years old!


Subject, The Rosenwald Schools

Julian Bond has been an activist in the civil rights, economic justice, and peace movements since his college years. In 1960, Bond helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and soon became its communications director. Earlier that year, he helped create the Atlanta University student civil rights organization, which directed several years of nonviolent protests and won integration of Atlanta’s movie theatres, lunch counters, and parks.

Bond served 20 years in the Georgia House and Georgia Senate, drafting more than 60 bills that became law. He was president of the Atlanta branch of the NAACP for 11 years and in 1998, was elected chair of the NAACP national board and served for 11 terms until stepping down in 2010.

He was the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Bond received the Civil Liberties Union Bill of Rights Awards of Massachusetts and Georgia, and holds 25 honorary degrees. Time magazine named Bond as one of America’s top 200 leaders.


Subject, East Jerusalem, West Jerusalem

Israeli superstar David Broza has been considered one of the most dynamic and vibrant performers in the singer/songwriter world. His charismatic and energetic performances have brought to worldwide audiences, a fusion of the three different countries in which he was raised: Israel, Spain, and England, filling concert halls with his famous guitar playing, ranging from flamenco flavored rhythmic and percussion techniques, to whirlwind finger picking, to a signature rock and roll sound.

Broza unites the three worlds by utilizing his ability to take on the troubadour tradition, up to now, featuring lyrics of the worlds’ greatest poets. More than a singer/songwriter, David Broza is also well known for his commitment and dedication to several humanitarian causes, predominantly, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


Speaker, Lunchtime Talk at the Library of Congress with Peter Ascoli, A’Lelia Bundles and Aviva Kempner 

Journalist A’Lelia Bundles is the author of three books about her great-great-grandmother, including On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker. She is chairman of the board of the National Archives Foundation and a Columbia University trustee.

A’Lelia was a network television news executive and producer for thirty years at NBC News and then at ABC News, where she was Washington, DC Deputy Bureau Chief and later Director of Talent Development. She currently is chairman of the board of the National Archives Foundation, a Columbia University trustee and on the advisory boards of the March on Washington Film Festival and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study’s Schlesinger Library at Harvard. As president of the Madam Walker/A’Lelia Walker Family Archives, she shares the history of her famous ancestors through speeches, publications, documents, photographs and several public initiatives.

Her young adult biography, Madam C. J. Walker: Entrepreneur received an American Book Award. Her pictorial history, Madam Walker Theater Center: An Indianapolis Treasure, includes more than 100 photographs from the Walker Archives.

A’Lelia’s articles and essays have appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Parade, Ms, O Magazine, Essence,, several encyclopedias including Black Women in America and African American National Biography and on her websites at and

She has been a keynote speaker at Harvard University, the Library of Congress, London City Hall and dozens of colleges, conventions and book festivals. She also has appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, BBC, NPR and other major networks. Among her broadcast journalism awards are an Emmy and a du Pont Gold Baton.


Speaker, 100 Years Later: The Legacy of Booker T. Washington and Julius Rosenwald

Stephanie Deutsch is the author of You Need a Schoolhouse, Booker T. Washington, Julius Rosenwald and the Building of Schools for the Segregated South (Northwestern University Press, 2011).

She was born in Washington, D.C. and has lived on Capitol Hill for forty years. She has written for The New York Times, The Weekly Standard, The Millions blog.


Author, Roads Taken

Hasia Diner is Paul and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History and director, Goldstein-Goren Center for American Jewish History, New York University. Among her numerous books is We Remember with Reverence and Love: American Jews and the Myth of Silence after the Holocaust, a National Jewish Book Award winner.


Speaker, Israel Screened // Distributor, The Polgar Variant

Since 2001 Ruth Diskin Films has been a leader in world sales and marketing of quality independent films worldwide. As a boutique sales company, Ruth Diskin Films represents artistically excellent and compelling works that largely address human rights, Jewish content and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Managing Director Ruth Diskin offers her services as a consultant to many film organizations in Israel in addition to serving as a jury member at various prestigious film festivals worldwide. With over 25 years of experience in marketing and distribution in the international arena, Ruth Diskin, along with her team ensure that films reach diverse and varied audiences across the globe.


Director, Zemene

Melissa Donovan has worked in the commercial, independent and documentary world as a cinematographer for over 15 years. A native of Boston, Melissa started her career as a camera assistant to many well-known filmmakers, including Robert Richardson and Carolyn Chen. She went on to be a director of photography and most recently the director of her own feature length documentary, Zemene.

Melissa received critical praise from the New Haven Film Festival for the short film “Freebox”, that won the Kodak Award in Cinematography. She served as a DP on the Peabody Award winning documentary Between the Folds as well the award-winning feature An Unreasonable Man. She has filmed numerous multi-camera productions for PBS including Finding Billy Elliot, the musical, A Tale of Two Citiesand Jesus and the Awakening to God-Consciousness with Deepak Chopra.

Melissa lives in New York City where she continues to work as a cinematographer.


Director, Stateless

Michael Drob emigrated from Riga, Latvia, in 1988 at the age of 10. His family was denied refugee status by the United States and remained stranded in Italy for ten months. Deeply affected by this experience, even as a child, Michael wanted to find out the “Why?” behind the denials.

His quest, along with support from COJECO’s BluePrint Fellowship, resulted in this deeply moving film. He hopes it will serve as a tool to educate future generations about this part of Jewish history and provide answers for thousands of immigrants who shared his family’s fate. Michael studied filmmaking at Rutgers University under the tutelage of Oscar winning director Ross Kauffman and has operated his own video production company, Story Tailors, since 2005. Stateless is his first foray into documentary filmmaking.


Subject, East Jerusalem, West Jerusalem

A protégé of legendary songwriters Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, Steve Earle quickly became a master storyteller in his own right, with his songs being recorded by Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings, Travis Tritt, The Pretenders, Joan Baez and countless others.

1986 saw the release of his debut record, Guitar Town, which shot to number one on the country charts and immediately established the term “New Country.” What followed was an extremely exciting and varied array of releases including the biting hard rock of Copperhead Road (1988), the minimalist beauty of Train A Comin’ (1995), the politically charged masterpiece, Jerusalem (2002) and the Grammy Award Winning albums The Revolution Starts…Now (2004), Washington Square Serenade (2007) and Townes (2009). I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive (2011) is Steve Earle’s 14th Studio Album and shares the same name with his 2011 debut novel.

Of the novel, Patti Smith stated, “Steve Earle brings to his prose the same authenticity, poetic spirit and cinematic energy he projects in his music. I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive is like a dream you can’t shake, offering beauty and remorse, redemption in spades.”


Keynote Speaker, 5th Annual Community Education Day on Arab Citizens of Israel

Dr. Dalia Fadila is currently President of Al-Qasemi College of Engineering and Science. She has acted as the president of the college during 2006. She is also a fellow member of the “EU Leadership Program,” and “USA International Leadership Program”.

Dr. Fadila is an expert on organizational development and a researcher of American literature, women’s literature and ethnic studies. She has led and managed national and international seminars and projects on issues of gender, culture, identity and education. Of deep concern to her are promoting quality education for the Arab students through establishing an alternative schooling system, and empowering Arab women as educators, entrepreneurs and leaders.

She has established private schools for teaching English called “Q SchoolsEnglish Language and HR Development” which propose a unique approach to learning/teaching English suited to Arab students and stemming from the need of these students to develop personally and professionally.


Speaker, The Lost Embrace

Joshua Ford is a writer, public programmer and arts administrator with a passion for bringing big ideas to diverse audiences. He was the the WJFF director from 2003-2007 and until March 2014 he was Associate Executive Director of the Washington DCJCC. His plays include In The Land of Israel (2000), Miklat (2002), and he is finishing development of To Kill A King, recently named a Semi-Finalist for the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s 2014 National Playwrights Conference and a Top 10 play of 2015 by the Jewish Plays Project.


Director, The Muses of Isaac Bashevis Singer

Asaf Galay has been director and content editor for many historical documentaries and museum exhibits. Among other projects, he worked with Modi Bar-On and Anat Zeltzer on many projects like: The Jewish State,and Tel Aviv-Yaffo.

In addition, Asaf is pursuing his doctorate studies in Hebrew Literature at Bar Ilan University.


Actor and Writer, You Must Be Joking

Sas Goldberg is a Manhattan-based actor whose New York credits include the NYC premiere of David Adjmi’sStunning, Ars Nova’s The Urban Dictionary Plays and most recently, The New York Times critics’ pick, The Best of Everything at Here Arts Center.

In addition to her theatre credits, Sas has shot commercial and voiceover campaigns with The Olive Garden, Orbitz, Lady Speedstick and Dunkin’ Donuts. Sas received the coveted Student Drama Desk Award in 2003 and can be seen in her first feature film starring Parker Posey and Brendan Fraser, Hairbrained.


Subject, Zemene

Dr. Rick Hodes is an American doctor who has lived and worked in Ethiopia for over 20 years. He is the Medical Director of Ethiopia for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), a 95-year old NGO.

Over the years, he has been in charge of the health of Ethiopians immigrating to Israel. Currently, he is the senior consultant at a Catholic mission helping sick destitutes with heart disease (rheumatic and congenital), spine disease (TB and scoliosis), and cancer.

He has also worked with refugees in Rwanda, Zaire, Tanzania, Somalia, and Albania.


Actress and WJFF Visionary Award Winner, Hester Street

Carol Kane first appeared on screen in seminal films of the 1970s: Carnal Knowledge, Dog Day Afternoon and Annie Hall.

Her breakout role in Hester Street, netted an Oscar Nomination for Best Actress. Her role as Simka Dahblitz-Gravas on television’s Taxi earned her two Emmy Awards.

First and foremost a stage actress, she is well-loved for her portrayal of Madame Morrible in Broadway’s Wicked (2005-2009).

Among other projects, she is currently on the hit TV series Gotham.


WJFF Founder and Director, The Rosenwald Schools

Aviva Kempner’s career goal is to make films about under-known Jewish heroes. She produced and conceived Partisans of Vilna, wrote, produced and directed the critically acclaimed Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg. Kempner directed, wrote and produced the Emmy nominated and Peabody awarded The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg and its new DVD version.

Kempner was the recipient of the 2009 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival’s Freedom of Expression Award and the 2011 Washington Jewish Film Festival’s Visionary Award, DC Mayor’s Art Award, and Women of Vision award.

She is a voting rights advocate for the District of Columbia.


Director, The Decent One

Born and raised in Belgium, Vanessa Lapa has been living in Israel since 1995. An accomplished journalist, she produced and directed over a hundred factual reportages for Israeli television. Her documentary film Olmert – Concealed Documentary was hailed as a unique cinéma vérite achievement, revealing the behind-the-scenes of the government and the private life of Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Vanessa was also on the Israeli side of the production and content for the 52-minute documentary Straddling the Fence directed by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, which aired worldwide.


Director, Some Vacation

Anne S. Lewis is a writer and filmmaker in Austin, Texas. Some Vacation is her fourth animated short.


Guitarist, Performing live soundtrack for Golem

Gary Lucas in known for his work with Captain Beefheart, Jeff Buckley, and Gods and Monsters, and for his innovative film scores. He has been dubbed “The Thinking Man’s Guitar Hero” by The New Yorker, “the world’s most popular avant-rock guitarist” by The Independent (UK), “One of the 100 Greatest Living Guitarists” by Classic Rock and the “Guitarist of 1000 Ideas” by The New York Times.


Subject, My Favorite Neoconservative

Edward Luttwak is an American military strategist, political scientist, and historian who has published works on military strategy, history, and international relations.

He also provides consulting services to governments and international enterprises including various branches of the U.S. government and the U.S. military.

He is chairman of the board of Aircraft Purchase Fleet Limited (APFL), an aviation lessor, and the head of a conservation ranch in the Amazon.


Director, My Favorite Neoconservative and Alex’s Letters

Yael Luttwak is a Washington, DC based filmmaker. She is the founder of Slim Peace Groups, a non-profit organization that emerged from her documentary film, A Slim Peace, portraying the drama of Israeli and Palestinian women in a weight-loss cohort involving Jews, Muslims, and Christian Arabs.

A Slim Peace premiered at the Tribeca Film festival in 2007 and was broadcast worldwide and on the Sundance Channel in the US.


Speaker, Anywhere Else and Apples from the Desert

Noa Meir is the Director of Israel Action Center at the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington. Prior to this position, Noa, who holds both American and Israeli citizenship, completed a one year appointment as a Jewish Agency Israel Fellow at George Washington University’s Hillel. She served three years in the Foreign Relations Department of the Israel Defense Forces as Head of the North American Desk, holding the rank of major. As a Captain, she served as a spokesperson for the IDF and as Deputy Head of the Military Strategic Information Section. Noa holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Bar Ilan University in Social Sciences and a Master’s Degree in Diplomacy and Security from Tel Aviv University. Noa is extremely passionate about Israeli advocacy, and her entire career has been focused on it, as well as on foreign relations and diplomacy.


Subject, Red Father

Joseph E. Moore attended University of Maryland School of Law where he graduated with a Bachelor of Laws Degree in 1968.  He became associated with the law firm of Marcus J. Williams in 1969 and became a partner in the law firm of Williams, Hammond & Moore two years thereafter.

Mr. Moore is presently a partner in the law firm of Williams, Moore, Shockley & Harrison, LLP which has offices located in Ocean City and Ocean Pines, Maryland.  Mr. Moore previously served as States Attorney for Worcester County; Attorney for the Worcester County Board of Zoning Appeals; Attorney for the Town of Berlin, Maryland; and presently represents Ocean Pines Association. Mr. Moore is a member of the Maryland State Bar Association where he previously served on the Association’s Board of Governors.

Mr. Moore is the author of Murder on Maryland’s Eastern Shore: Race, Politics and the Case of Orphan Jones.


Musician, Breaking Home Ties

Joseph Morag joined the New York Youth Symphony when he was 12. 5 years later, he was sitting in first desk, setting an example for the new members of the orchestra.

He is still awed by the New York Youth Symphony as much as the first day he joined – it is an orchestra which improves every year, without fail, and that will continue to inspire musicians, young and old alike, far into the future.

Miriam Mörsel Nathan

WJFF Director Emerita & Speaker, Divided We Fall

Miriam Mörsel Nathan co-founded the Washington Jewish Film Festival in 1990 with Founding Director Aviva Kempner.  In addition to her work as Festival Director, she served as a Juror for the Mayor’s Award for Films of the Jewish Experience at the Jerusalem International Film Festival and was Co-Curator of the Israeli Film Festival for the Kennedy Center Celebration of Israel’s 50th Anniversary. A poet and visual artist, Miriam’s work has been exhibited throughout the United States and is in private collections both nationally and abroad.



Author / Noted Food Critic and speaker at Q&A following Deli Man

Joan Nathan is the author of ten cookbooks including her most recent, “Quiches, Kugels and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France” (Knopf), which was named one of the 10 best cookbooks of 2010 by NPR, Food and Wine, and Bon Appétit magazines.  She is a regular contributor to The New York Times, Food Arts Magazine, and Tablet Magazine.


Director, Magic Men and Dear God

Guy Nattiv is an acclaimed writer/director from Tel Aviv, Israel. His first feature, Strangers, premiered at the Sundance and Tribeca Film Festivals in 2008.

His second feature, The Flood (Mabul) won the top prize at the Berlin Film Festival in 2011, two awards at the Thesaloniki film festivals, best film at Haifa Film Festival and was nominated for 6 Israeli Academy Awards.


Director, Cherries

Noa Osheroff was born in Israel in 1984. Her passion for arts and film led her to study film and TV in Tel Aviv University, one of Israel’s best film schools, where she graduated with honors. During her studies she directed two short films and produced three. In 2010, she decided to focus on film production, and joined Green Productions, one of Israel’s leading production companies.


Subject, The Polgar Variant

Grandmaster Susan Polgar (born as Zsuzsanna Polgar) is a Hungarian-American chess player, and one of the strongest female players ever, having been Women’s World Chess Champion from 1996 until 1999.

She beat the odds back in 1986 when she made history by being the first ever female player to qualify to compete in the Men’s World Chess Championship.

Currently she works at Webster University as the Director of SPICE (Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence) and as the Head Coach of the Webster Chess Team.


Distributor and Speaker, 2 or 3 Things I Know About Him, American MatchmakerBreaking Home Ties and Theodore Bikel: In The Shoes of Sholom Aleichem

Lisa Rivo is Co-Director of The National Center for Jewish Film, the largest archive of Jewish content film in the world, outside of Israel, and the largest distributor of independent Jewish films. She oversees the Center’s programmatic, distribution and exhibition activities and co-directs NCJF’s annual Boston area film festival.

Prior to joining NCJF in 2006, she was Associate Director & Senior Writer of the African American National Biography, an encyclopedia edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr. at Harvard University and published by Oxford University Press.

She has a BA in Art History from Vassar College and received a fellowship to Emory University’s Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts PhD program where she studied visual culture & film. Rivo worked at the Museum of Fine Arts and as Director of Public Information at The Institute of Contemporary Art, both in Boston.

In addition to directing nine annual film festivals, she has curated many festivals and series, sat on grant review panels, and written university textbooks.


Honoree and Distributor, 2 or 3 Things I Know About Him, American MatchmakerBreaking Home Ties and Theodore Bikel: In The Shoes of Sholom Aleichem

Sharon Pucker Rivo is Executive Director and Co-Founder of The National Center for Jewish Film, has been a leading force in the field of Jewish film and culture for more than 40 years through her work as an archivist, curator, distributor, film and television producer, and academic.

In the mid-1970s Sharon and NCJF co-founder Miriam Krant rescued a languishing collection of Yiddish-language feature films. Today, The National Center for Jewish Film is the largest archive of Jewish-content film in the world, outside of Israel, and the largest distributor of restored classics and new independent films with Jewish content.

She has overseen the rescue of thousands of rare films (the earliest dates from 1903) and the restoration of more than 100 endangered films. Sharon was an early advocate for the inclusion of film in the study of history and culture, and for the historically accurate use of visual materials. She has consulted with filmmakers from around the world and has appeared as an expert in many documentaries and exhibits. She has curated film programs for venues around the world, including co-curating the first ever retrospective of Yiddish cinema, held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Sharon has been a member of the Brandeis University faculty for more than twenty years and she lectures widely on the history of Jews in cinema, a field she helped pioneer. Internationally recognized and honored as an authority on film archiving and restoration, film curating, programming and distribution, Sharon has been an invited lecturer at hundreds of venues and has served on numerous film festival juries.


Director, Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz is the CEO of Truth Aid. She is a director/producer and outreach strategist who has worked with a variety of production companies, organizations and networks, including MTV, BET,, NASCAR and Be’chol Lashon. She also Executive Produced the narrative film Difret which won audience awards at the 2014 Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals. Lacey has a BA from Georgetown University and a JD from Harvard Law School. She is a member of the NYS Bar.


Speaker, The Dove Flyer

Born in Baghdad in 1955, Edwin Shuker lived the early part of his life under the shadow of fear and persecution until escaping the country with his family in 1971.

Edwin will review The Dove Flyer and the period it covers within the context of an uninterrupted diaspora of the Jewish community in Iraq that stretched for 2,600 years. As a regular visitor to Iraq and the Middle East, Shuker will share an up-to-date eye witness testimony and assessment.

Shuker is a London-based international businessman with a wide range of educational, communal and philanthropic involvement and is Vice President of the European Jewish Congress.


Director, The Ten Plagues

Serena Shulman is the writer, director, and executive producer of the award-winning short film, The Ten Plagues, presented by LipShtick Pictures. She is currently in post-production on the web series, NEXT, which she also wrote and directed, featuring a female-led Silicon Valley startup on a retreat where they must give up all of their mobile phones, tablets, laptops… and must survive the week left to their own devices.

She is a member of Bay Area Women in Film + Media and is the Program Manager for SF Web Fest. Serena also coaches creative writing with 826 Valencia and with the Young Storytellers Foundation’s inaugural screenwriting program in San Francisco.


Musician, Breaking Home Ties

Donald Sosin has been composing and performing silent film music for over forty years. His work as a silent film composer and pianist has taken him all over the United States from Lincoln Center, MoMA and the Kennedy Center to the Seattle, San Francisco and Telluride Film Festivals, and twice a year to Italy’s silent film festivals in Bologna and Pordenone. He has written many types of music from theater and dance pieces to television and contemporary film scores, in addition to the silent film music he has recorded for the Criterion, Kino and Milestone labels.

He has played his scores for Jewish-themed silent films— JEWISH LUCK, BREAKING HOME TIES and Lubitsch’s THREE WOMEN—at the New York Jewish Film Festival. His one-act children’s opera ESTHER was performed at the National Yiddish Book Center. Other Jewish music includes Yiddish folk songs arrangements for chamber ensemble, a short opera on the I. B. Singer story, “A Parakeet Named Dreidel” and several choral psalm settings, which were orchestrated under the title “Three Psalms” and premiered in 2009 by the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra.  He lives in Lakeville CT with his wife, singer Joanna Seaton. They have two children.  Website:


Producer, Above and Beyond

An accomplished businesswoman, fundraiser and philanthropist, Nancy Spielberg has in recent years turned her energy and talents to producing documentary films.

She served as consultant on the Oscar-winning documentary Chernobyl Heart, and is executive producer of Elusive Justice: The Search for Nazi War Criminals, which aired nationally on PBS, and the forthcoming documentary Mimi and Dona.

She is also executive producing Who Will Write Our History, with director Roberta Grossman. Before creating and producing Above and Beyond, Spielberg produced a project for the Israeli government, Celebrities Salute Israel’s 60th, which was featured in Times Square on the NASDAQ screens for one month.

Spielberg grew up surrounded by the film industry, where she worked on her brother Steven’s early films. She is founder and co-founder of several charities including “A Bid for Charity,” “Children of Chernobyl,” “Project Sunshine” and the American branch of The Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance.


Speaker, 100 YEARS LATER: The Legacy of Booker T. Washington and Julius Rosenwald

Jay Stewart is an Adjunct Professor at Howard University. He hails from Atlanta, Georgia.  He holds an AB from Harvard College, a JD from Georgetown University, and an MA in US History from Howard University.  He formerly interned for the DC Circuit Task Force Project on Gender, Race and Ethnic Bias.  Jay worked on the Denny’s Restaurants case for the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.  He served as a staff member for the National Urban League Washington Bureau developing the NUL’s response to the Amadou Diallo police shooting.  Jay subsequently worked for the DC Superior Court-affiliated Youth Court program assisting at-risk youth primarily in Mt. Pleasant and Anacostia.  He served as pre-law advisor in the Howard University Political Science Department for seven years.  Jay currently coaches the forensics teams at Howard University, and teaches pre-law and history courses at UDC Community College, Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria, and Trinity University at THEARC in Anacostia.


Author and Moderator of Q&A during Centerpiece Evening with Theodore Bikel

Deborah Tannen is University Professor and Professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University and author of many books and articles about how the language of everyday conversation affects relationships.

She is best known as the author of You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, which was on the New York Times best seller list for nearly four years, including eight months as No. 1, and has been translated into 31 languages. This is the book that brought gender differences in communication style to the forefront of public awareness. Her most recent book, You Were Always Mom’s Favorite!: Sisters in Conversation Throughout Their Lives, also a New York Times best seller, received a Books for a Better Life Award and was featured on 20/20 and NPR’s Morning Edition.


Speaker, Above and Beyond

Jeff Weiss has Masters Degrees in International Law and Biotechnology.  He has been writing on international law and security issues for more than 15 years.  In addition to co-authoring I Am My Brother’s Keeper with Craig Weiss, he has also written on the Oslo political process between Israel and the Palestinians, parallels between the India/Pakistan and Israel/Palestinian experiences, and on Iraq and Democracy.  He and Craig are nearing completion of their second book.


Director, You Must Be Joking

Jake Wilson is the creator and star of the musical web series The Battery’s Down, which features original musical numbers from the likes of Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning composers.

Since the series finale, Jake has continued to create viral videos, with over 8 million video views to date. They have been covered in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, The Huffington Post, Entertainment Weekly, Nylon Magazine, and seen on Tosh.0, CBS, E! and CNN.

Jake has produced television shows for MTV, Bravo and OWN and written for Out of Character (USA) and “VH1 Big Morning Buzz Live” (VH1). As an actor, he can be seen on the pilot of NBC’s Smash sporting a fierce Justin Bieber haircut.


Owner, DGS Delicatessen and Speaker, Deli Man

Nick Wiseman started cooking in restaurants when he was fifteen years old. The fast paced lifestlye was addictive. When he moved back to his hometown DC, he opened DGS Delicatessen (named after the District Grocery Stores owned by earlier Wiseman generations). Follow his musings on the culinary landscape in DC on the Huffington Post.


Speaker, Almost Friends

Isaac Zablocki is the Director of the Israel Film Center at JCC Manhattan. He was born in New York, and grew up in Israel and served in the IDF’s leading film unit as an Educational film producer. He attended film school at Columbia University and went on to work at Miramax films. Since 2004 Isaac has been the Director of Film Programs at JCC Manhattan and runs weekly screenings and conversations as part of Cinematters. He programs multiple film festivals annually including the acclaimed Other Israel Film Festival about Arab and other minority populations in Israel, and Reelabilites: NY Disabilities Film Festival – now a national program in over 15 major cities across the U.S.

As Director of the Israel Film Center, he is the leading programmer of Israeli films in the U.S. and developed the largest on-line database of Israeli films as well as Israel Film Center Stream, the leading site for streaming Israeli films. Isaac lectures around the world in major institutions on a variety of topics from New Israeli Cinema, Hollywood and the Holocaust, to The Power of Film for Social Change and writes for a variety of publications including the Huffington Post.


Director, The Return

Adam Zucker’s most recent film, Greensboro: Closer to the Truth (2007). screened at over 35 festivals in the U.S. and abroad, and received the Audience Award for Best Feature at the Rome International Film Festival and Best Documentary at the Dead Center Film Festival. In addition, the film’s Audience Engagement effort, The Closer to the Truth Project, is facilitating the film’s use as a catalyst for change in communities across the U.S..

Adam has edited numerous award-winning documentaries. Edited projects include Rory Kennedy’s American Hollow (Sundance Film Festival and HBO) and Homestead Steel Strike (History Channel, Ten Days That Changed America series), Michael Kantor’s Broadway: The American Musical (PBS), Madison Davis Lacy’s Richard Wright: Black Boy (PBS), Ken Burns and Steve Ives’ The West (PBS), Dori Berinstein’s Show Business (Tribeca Film Festival and Showtime) and Josef Astor’s Lost Bohemia.