2014 WJFF FILMMAKER AND SPEAKER BIOS


PJ ANDREWS, Actor, SpeakeasyDC LEIGH JAMESON, Actor, SpeakeasyDC
JABIR ASAQLA, Day of Education Panelist AVIVA KEMPNER, Filmmaker
KATY BARRETT, Actor, SpeakeasyDC
SALO LEVINAS, Architect
KEVIN BOGGS, Director of SpeakeasyDC MEREDITH MASLICH, Director of SpeakeasyDC
KAREN KOHN BRADLEY, Moderator for Dancing in Jaffa Library of Congress talk LODI MATSETELA, Producer for Barea
JAMES CALABRESE, Actor, SpeakeasyDC KETIH MELLNICK, Actor, SpeakeasyDC
ARCH CAMPBELL, ABC7/WJLA-TV EUGENE B. MEYER, International Chess Master
MYRIAM DARMONI CHARBIT, Day of Education Panelist NICK NEWLIN, Actor, SpeakeasyDC
DAN CHYUTIN, American University Schusterman Visiting Artis AVI NESHER, Director of The Wonders, TaxmanTurn Left at the End of the World
ANNE CLEMONS, Day of Education Panelist LISA RIVO, Co-Director of The National Center for Jewish Film
JULIE COHEN, Director of Sturgeon Queens AMY SAIDMAN, Artistic Director of SpeakeasyDC
LAURA KATZ CUTLER, Managing Director of the Center for Israel Studies at AU PETER SANDERS, Director of Altina
HAY DAVIDOV, Subject of Handa Handa 4 NAOMI SCHACTER, Day of Education Panelist
RONEN DAVIDOV, Subject of Handa Handa 4 RYSZARD SCHNEPFAmbassador of Poland
TAWD B. DORENFELD, Director of Master of a Good Name RABBI SID SCHWARZ, Moderator for the Day of Education
AVNER DORMAN, Composer of Original Music, The Wonders DAN SHADUR, Director of Before the Revolution
MARSHA DUBROW, Actor, SpeakeasyDC LIRON SHOHAMModerator for the Day of Education
PIERRE DULAINE, Subject of Dancing in Jaffa RAN TAL, Director of The Garden of Eden
DIANA GROO, Director of Regina ANNE THOMAS, Actor, SpeakeasyDC
JASON HUTT, Director of Sukkah City JOHN TURTURRO, Director of Fading Gigolo
GANIT ILOUZ, Director of Dove's Cry ALI WAKED, Director of Bethlehem, Day of Education Panelist
ANNETTE INSDORF, Speaker for Ida GEORGE WEISZ, Executive Producer, Regina
PJ ANDREWS, Actor, Speakeasy DC 

PJ Andrews has been living in Washington, DC for the better part of the last decade.He spends his weekdays working for the government and his weekends working with youth to build a better world (mainly by dominating them on the basketball court). He is a proud graduate of SpeakeasyDC’s Storytelling 101 class and is currently in love with storytelling.
JABIR ASAQLA, The Garden of Eden, Day of Education Speaker  

Jabir Asaqla became co-executive director of Sikkuy in July 2013. He joins Sikkuy after more than fifteen years as a senior staff member of Shatil, the New Israel Fund agency that advances civil society organizations in Israel, first as the head of Shatil's Palestinian programs and then as Shatil's associate director. Jabir has a rich and varied background with other NGOs including head of the Arab Student Union, founder of Al-Ahali - the Center for Community Development in Nazareth, and in many voluntary capacities as a board member and advisor.

Jabir also has long and substantial background as an activist working for Arab-Palestinian rights in Israel and as a leading voice advancing shared Jewish-Arab society in Israel. Jabir received a B.A. in Educational Counseling and Arabic literature from the Hebrew University and an M.A. in education from Haifa University.
KATY BARRETT, Actor, Speakeasy DC 

Katy Barrett discovered SpeakeasyDC two years ago at My So Called Jewish Life, and has been hooked ever since.  She has performed several times, and loves being a part of this amazing community.  She is looking forward to performing at the DCJCC. 
KEVIN BOGGS, Director of SpeakeasyDC 

Storyteller and actor, Kevin Boggs has coached hundreds of individuals  since becoming part of the SpeakeasyDC faculty in 2008. He "comes by storytelling naturally" since he grew up in Jonesborough, TN, the home of the National Storytelling Festival.  His solo show -- & Afterwards -- was a popular and critical success at the 2013 Capital Fringe Festival and he brings a sensibility to his teaching that helps each person tap into what will resonate most deeply with their audience. 
  KAREN KOHN BRADLEY, Moderator for Dancing in Jaffa Library of Congress talk  

Karen Kohn Bradley is Director of Graduate Studies of the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies at the University of Maryland. She is a Certified Movement Analyst in Laban Movement Analysis and is on the Board of the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies in New York City.

As a dance scholar, she is a Past-President of the Congress on Research in Dance (CORD). Bradley sits on the board of directors and is Government Affairs Liaison for the National Dance Education Organization, and has contributed regularly to the development of national standards and to various research projects in dance education. She also serves on the board of the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies in New York City. She has worked in dance therapy, with learning disabled children, in arts education research and policy, and observes and coaches politicians and business leaders.  She authored the book Rudolf Laban as a part of Routledge’s series on 20th Century performance practitioner. In addition, she has published book chapters, articles, and presentations on arts education, specifically learning theory and styles as observed and accessed through dance and movement. Bradley comments regularly in the media on political figures and their body movement, most recently in The New Yorker magazine, for the Washington Post, and has appeared on Hardball, with Chris Matthews and Inside Politics on CNN.
 
James Calabrese, Actor, SpeakeasyDC

James Calabrese is 6'0" a tall male weighing roughly 170 lbs with "forest green" eyes. He's known to answer to cali, breezer, chimp, plimp, and j breezy baby. 

ARCH CAMPBELL, ABC7/WJLA-TV

Arch Campbell has reported on movies theatre and entertainment in Washington, D.C. and on the national scene since the 1970's. He joined NBC owned WRC TV News in 1974 as a feature reporter, and created that station's entertainment beat. He hosted twice daily segments on WRC’s local news and provided the NBC affiliate service with nationally syndicated movie reviews. From 1985-1990, he hosted The Arch Campbell Show, a late night ratings hit which won more than a dozen Emmy awards, including the "Best Local Entertainment Show" three years in a row. Campbell has also won eight other Emmy awards for his celebrity interviews and comedy specials. 

Campbell branched out in 2007, moving his entertainment reports to ABC7/WJLA-TV, and agreeing to host special programs for American University and the American Film Institute. He also hosts The Arch Campbell Show, which airs on WJLA’s sister station News Channel 8. Arch appears in a regular segment on Friday mornings on WASH FM and has created a new entertainment website, ArchCampbell.com.
MYRIAM DARMONI CHARBIT, Dove's Cry, Day of Education Speaker  

Myriam Darmoni Charbit was born in France and made Aliyah to Israel in 1984. After completing her BA degree in Political Science and International Relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, she served as a research officer at the Israel Air Force (IDF) during six years. After the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin she decided to quit her military career and to devote herself to education for democracy. In 1995 she completed her Master degree in Political Science at the Hebrew University focusing in democratization processes. 

In her current position as the director of civic education and shared life at the Center for Educational Technology, she heads a team of ten staff members from various groups in the Israeli society. The team is in charge of content development and Educators' professional development in  two locally based educational initiatives for nurturing a shared citizenship in the mixed city of Ramleh and the southern locality of Netivot.
Dan Chyutin, American University Schusterman Visiting Artist 

Dan Chyutin, a filmmaker and film historian, will be in residence at American University this spring semester. On campus, Chyutin will be teaching a course titled, Israeli Identities through Film.
ANNE CLEMONS, Day of Education Speaker  

Anne Clemons has been involved with the Washington Jewish Community for over twenty years.  She is the currently co-chair of the Greater Washington Forum on Israeli Arab Issues (GWFIA).  Anne has been a board member of several organizations in the community including The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington’s Women’s Philanthropy Committee, The Planning and Allocation Committee/Jewish Identity Division, and the Jewish Youth Philanthropy Institute (JYPI).
JULIE COHEN, The Sturgeon Queens  

Julie Cohen is a veteran television news and documentary director and producer, and the founder of BetterThanFiction Productions, Inc. She has directed, produced, and written seven documentaries for WNET, NY and other PBS stations around the country; more than 20 hour-long and two-hour programs for Dateline NBC; and three webisode series for Lifetime Television; as well as segments for the national PBS series Need to Know. She also produces documentary-style films for non-profit and educational organizations.

During her nine years as a staff producer at Dateline, she specialized in reporting on crime and justice issues, hard news and pop culture. In her final two years at NBC, she also served as a senior development producer, generating Dateline stories and innovative show ideas.

She holds Master's degrees from Yale Law School and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a Bachelor's degree from Colgate University
LAURA KATZ CUTLER, Managing Director of the Center for Israel Studies at American University

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.
 HAY DAVIDOV, Handa Handa 4  

Bio coming soon. 
 RONEN DAVIDOV, Handa Handa 4  
 
Bio coming soon. 
TAWD B. DORENFELD, Master of A Good Name 

Tawd b. Dorenfeld is a filmmaker, artist, stop motion animator, cinematographer, director and writer. He is primarily known for his feature-length live-action and animated film The Anna Cabrini Chronicles as well as numerous animated shorts. 
AVNER DORMAN, Composer of Original Music, The Wonders

Avner Dorman has quickly risen to become one of the leading composers of his generation. Dorman’s unique approach to rhythm and timbre has attracted some of the world’s most notable conductors, including Zubin Mehta, Christoph Eschenbach, Riccardo Chailly, and David Robertson to bring his music to international audiences at: the New York Philharmonic the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra the San Francisco Symphony the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra the Chicago Symphony Orchestra the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra at the Musikverein the Salzburg Festival the Lucerne Festival Avner Dorman is also Music Director of CityMusic Cleveland Chamber Orchestra
MARSHA DUBROW, Actor, SpeakeasyDC 

Marsha Dubrow writes the DC Art Travel column for examiner.com, and volunteers for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington Humane Society, among others. She earned an M.F.A. in Fiction Writing and Literature at Bennington College. Her fiction and nonfiction is in several anthologies. She was a Correspondent for Life, People, Punch, and Reuters. The Texan native lives in Washington, D.C. with her white dove, Nureyev.  
PIERRE DULAINE, Dancing in Jaffa 

Dulaine began to dance at the age of 14, performing in venues ranging from Germany, East Africa and the Caribbean. By 1972, Pierre ended up in New York City. In 1984 Pierre and his dancing partner Yvonne founded The American Ballroom Theater Company and as the Artistic Directors they performed with the company all over the USA, at Saddlers Wells in London, and numerous countries around the world.

Pierre founded Dancing Classrooms in 1994 to build social awareness, confidence, and self- esteem in children through the practice of social dance. In 2005 Mad Hot Ballroom, the hit documentary based on Pierre’s work with the New York City Public Schools children through Dancing Classrooms was released and in 2006, Pierre’s life was the focus of a major motion picture called Take the Lead, with Antonio Banderas portraying his work with children.

Pierre’s latest project, Dancing in Jaffa, follows his efforts to use dance to help Israeli- Palestinian and Israeli-Jewish children – and their families – to peacefully coexist. Since the program was founded in 1994, it has served over 400,000 children. Pierre himself has trained over 500 Teaching Artists in the Dulaine Method, and the numbers keep growing.

DIANA GROO, Regina  

Diana Groo was born in 1973 in Budapest, where she received her education, obtaining a Bachelor degree in French-Hebrew from the Faculty of Arts, followed by a Master in TV and Film Directing at the Hungarian Film Academy. She has co-founded DocClub and Madzag Film associations, and Katapult Film. 

Since 2001 has been director and scriptwriter at the Cinema Film and Katapult Film studios. After her prize winning shorts and documentary films, she directed her first feature film, A Miracle in Cracow in 2004. In 2001 she has been working on the Wild Imagination art-history series. The first four episodes of the Wild Imagination series opened the contemporary art exhibition in Herzlya Muzeun, Tel-Aviv, Israel in March 2005. In June 2005 the series were included into the InterMedia course program at Haifa University, Israel, along with Peter Greenaway, Derek Jarman and others.
JASON HUTT, Sukkah City  

Jason Hutt’s films are portraits of unique cultures and innovative individuals found within the contemporary Jewish landscape and beyond.   Hutt’s first feature length film Breezewood, Pennsylvania shows how service workers and a truck stop ministry in a tiny interstate crossroads have found a mission in providing for the social, spiritual and material needs of the truck drivers, travelers and homeless of the American road. Breezewood was broadcast by PBS affiliates in 2004, and the New York Times’ Jeannette Catsoulis called it “one of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen.”

Hutt’s second film Orthodox Stance follows Dmitriy Salita, a Russian immigrant, professional boxer and religious Jew, and the diverse characters (boxing trainers, promoters and rabbis) supporting his devotion to both Orthodox Judaism and the pursuit of a professional boxing title.

In addition to Sukkah City, Hutt recently worked as a producer on Michael Kantor’s PBS documentary Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy, a follow up to Kantor’s 2005 Emmy Award-winning series “Broadway: The American Musical."
GANIT ILOUZ, Dove's Cry  

Dove's Cry
 is 
the first full length documentary for director Ganit Ilouz. Her past projects include short documentaries, amongst them Hebrew Labor, 2010, screened at the 13th Tel aviv International Student Film Festival and The Perfect Human, 2005, which won the Grillo Award at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Ganit (a certified Lawyer from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem) is about to finish her studies towards the MFA Degree in the Department of Film & Television at Tel-Aviv University. 

ANNETTE INSDORF, Ida 

Annette Insdorf is the author of Francois Truffaut, Indelible Shadows: Film and Holocaust, Philip Kaufman and Double Lives, Second Chances: The Cinema of Krzysztof Kieslowski. She is the Director of Undergraduate Film Studies at Columbia University.

LEIGH JAMESON, Actor, SpeakeasyDC 

Leigh Jameson is delighted to be returning to the SpeakeasyDC family. As an actor, she has performed on stages from Alaska to Texas to Maine in productions that run the gamut from fairy tales to Shakespeare to classic musical theatre, but you might recognize her as the Oregon cult member poisoning unsuspecting townspeople via salad dressing in National Geographic’s  Inside Bioterror.  She also went to school, has degrees, and maintains a day job.

Since 2010, Leigh has been proud to be actively involved with Belarus Free Theatre, the internationally celebrated company of theatremakers, currently in political exile from their own country due to the challenging and enlightening art they create. She’s now working on a book that will help tell their tales. Leigh is also a free-lance storyteller and founder of The History Warehouse, a living history performance company. 
AVIVA KEMPNER, Filmmaker

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.  She is presently making The Rosenwald Schools.  Kempner also founded the Washington Jewish Film Festival in 1989.
SALO LEVINAS, Archtect 

Salo Levinas is an internationally-recognized architect known for his distinguished contemporary designs. His work brings fresh and innovative approaches to challenges presented by a broad array of institutional, commercial and residential clients. 

His projects include AIA award-winning designs for facilities at the Chicago Botanical Gardens, which highlights the firm’s talents in collaboration with nationally renowned landscape firms, and educational and religious facilities in the Washington, DC, and Baltimore metropolitan regions. Interior Design magazine has featured Levinas’ cutting-edge transformation of an historic Georgetown property, and his residential work has been published repeated times in Home & Design, The Washington Post and Spaces. Levinas often lectures on synagogue design and is an occasional lecturer on architecture at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC.
MEREDITH MASLICH, Director of SpeakeasyDC 

Meredith Maslich has introduced hundreds of people to the art of storytelling since joining the SpeakeasyDC faculty in 2008. She has also led corporate storytelling training workshops for a variety of organizations including the Maryland Library Association, The Eugene and Agnes Meyer Foundation, and the American Heart Association. Most recently she was a guest lecturer for Georgetown University’s Capstone program.  When she directing shows or teaching storytelling, Meredith is the CEO of Possibilities Publishing Company. 
LODI MATSETELA, Producer for Barea

Lodi Matsetela is a South African Writer, Producer and Director. She is a partner at Puo Pha Productions, which produces content for corporations, broadcasters, and for theatrical releases. She matriculated from the National Arts School in Johannesburg where she majored in theatre/drama, and later went on to study copywriting and creative writing. She also served as a copywriter for one of the top advertising agencies in the world, Net#Work BBDO. 

After freelancing for a couple of years, and writing for TV dramas and soap operas, she opened Puo Pha with business partners Makgano Mamabolo and Vincent Moloi. She is currently working towards her Masters in film at Howard University in Washington DC, where she is a founding member of Parallel Film Collective, an initiative aimed at promoting independent alternative black films through various platforms.  “Berea” recently screened at the 2013 International Toronto Film Festival as part of the African Metropolis compilation. Puo Pha is in development for several features, while overseeing the writing of made for TV one hour features for one of the South African broadcasters (eTV) and are about to start pre-production for a 13 part half-hour TV series for the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).
KEITH MELLNICK, Actor, SpeakeasyDC 

Keith Mellnick is a freelance photographer and writer currently based in Washington, DC. His photos of the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Central Asia have appeared in publications by National Geographic Books, on the Atlantic’s Cities website, and in his mom’s house. He appeared in SpeakeasyDC's Top Shelf show in 2013 and 2014.
EUGENE MEYER, International Chess Master 

Eugene B. Meyer holds the title of International Chess Master and has served as a Philadelphia Society Trustee. Meyer is President of the Federalist Society and has served as Executive Director and CEO of the organization for more than 25 years. He lives in McLean, Virginia, with his wife Lori and their son.
AVI NESHER, The Wonders, Taxman, Turn Left at the End of the World  

Producer Dino De Laurentis convinced Nesher to come to Hollywood after seeing his critically acclaimed Rage and Glory. Nesher’s initial work came as a writer, penning studio assignments for such filmmakers as Ron Howard and James Cameron. As part of this “Hollywood period”, Nesher wrote, produced and directed The Taxman which opened to extraordinary reviews: The New York Times called the film “A delight...a charmer of a mystery” and Jeffrey Lyons of NBC hailed it as “A cinematic gem...not to be missed!” 

In 2001, Nesher honored his father’s memory by writing and directing Turn Left at the End of the World – a surreal deconstruction of Israel’s immigration mythology. The movie became Israel’s greatest box office success in the last twenty years, as well as becoming one of the best-reviewed films of the era.  Since then, nearly all of his films have been Israeli blockbusters: The Secrets, The Matchmaker, and most recently our Opening Night film, The Wonders.

Avi Nesher will accept the WJFF Visionary award after a retrospective screening of Turn Left at the End of the World, and will also be on hand for the late-night showing of The Taxman, and to present the screenings of The Wonders.
NICK NEWLIN, Actor, SpeakeasyDC 

Nick Newlin has been entertaining children of all ages for 30 years with his high-energy super-fun comedy juggling act.  He has performed solo and with his wife the Queen of Whimsey in all 50 states and internationally, combining ridiculous wordplay with awesome juggling, merry music, and a silly zest for life and love of fun!  Nicolo Whimsey has performed at the Kennedy Center, The White House and at hundreds of schools, libraries, festivals and any place that needs a good laugh.  Nick Newlin also directs plays at the high school level and has written a book series called The 30-Minute Shakespeare.  He also plays rock and roll accordion!  
LISA RIVO, Co-Director of the National Center for Jewish Film, Mamele 

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 eight annual film festivals, she has curated many festivals and series, sat on grant review panels, and written university textbooks.
AMY SAIDMAN, Artistic Director of SpeakeasyDC 

Amy Saidman, Artistic Executive Director of SpeakeasyDC, has been the driving force behind the growth of storytelling as a performance genre in Washington, DC and regionally. Called DC's "matriarch of storytelling", she's been running SpeakeasyDC's programs, telling stories, hosting, inventing new ways to present storytelling, building relationships with other local arts groups, and spreading the gospel since 2001. She began coaching and teaching storytelling in 2006 and, along with the SEDC teaching staff, has developed a curriculum and pedagogy for teaching the art of storytelling  that includes more than five different classes at different levels and customized trainings for corporate, government, and nonprofit clients.  
PETER SANDERS, Altina  

Producer/Director

Award-winning documentary filmmaker Peter Sanders holds a graduate degree in broadcast journalism from New York University and an undergraduate degree in history from the University of Vermont. His feature-length film, The Disappeared (2008), was awarded a special prize for best documentary by the 2007 Documentary and Fiction Festival of Hollywood.

Sanders’ wide range of interests include penetrating portraits of writers and artists, the latest of which is Altina (2012), the story of a wealthy New Yorker who invented the Harlequin glasses in the 1930s and created a unique brand of functional sculpture she called “chairacters.” He is CEO of Eight Twelve Productions, a branch of Sanders Productions he founded in 2006.
NAOMI SCHACTER, The Garden of Eden, Day of Education Speaker 

Naomi Schacter is Associate Director of Shatil, an initiative of the New Israel Fund. Shatil leads efforts in Israel to build a democratic, just and shared society. Prior to working at Shatil, Naomi established and directed Media Connections, a Jerusalem-based company which provided marketing services for Israeli companies.  

Naomi grew up in New York City and graduated from Barnard College with a degree in psychology and art history.  She moved to Israel in 1983 and continued her studies with an MA in Public Policy from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.   

Naomi writes regularly on social change issues for various publications, including the Public Policy Journal of Hebrew University, Conversations, the Times of Israel and Haaretz. She is also involved in a range of peace-related projects.


RYSZARD SCHNEPF,  Ambassador of Poland 

Born September 22, 1951, in Warsaw, Poland, Ambassador Ryszard Schnepf earned an M.A. in History at Warsaw University in 1974 and a PhD in History at the Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences in 1979 with a dissertation on the history of Latin America. 

Commencing his academic career, Schnepf was assistant professor of History in the Iberian Studies Department at Warsaw University from 1978 to 1991, rising to vice chair of the department.  

After the fall of the pro-Russian communist government in 1989, Schnepf became involved in politics and diplomacy, putting his knowledge of Latin America to good use by serving as ambassador of Poland to Uruguay and Paraguay from 1991 to 1996. Back in Warsaw, Schnepf served as deputy director and chief of protocol in the office of Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek from 1998 to 2000. Schepf then served two consecutive ambassadorships, first as ambassador to Spain from 2000 to 2001, and then as ambassador to Costa Rica, resident in San José and concurrently accredited to Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and El Salvador, from 2001 to 2004. 

On September 22, 2012 Ryszard Schnepf became the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United States of America.


RABBI SID SCHWARZ, Moderator for Day of Education 

Rabbi Sid Schwarz has been a congregational rabbi, a social entrepreneur, an author and a political activist. He founded and led PANIM: The Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values for 21 years, an organization that is dedicated to inspiring, training and empowering Jewish youth to a life of leadership, activism and service.  


Dr. Schwarz previously served as the executive director of the Jewish Community Council of Greater Washington D.C. where he oversaw the public affairs and community relations work for the Jewish community. He is the founding rabbi of Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation in Bethesda, MD where he continues to teach and lead services. 

Dr. Schwarz holds a Ph.D. in Jewish history and is the author of over 100 articles and two groundbreaking books--Finding a Spiritual Home: How a New Generation of Jews Can Transform the American Synagogue (Jossey-Bass, 2000) and Judaism and Justice: The Jewish Passion to Repair the World (Jewish Lights, 2006).
DAN SHADUR, Before the Revolution  

A graduate of the Film and Television Department in Tel Aviv University, Dan was a writer and editor in some of the main newspapers in Israel, before shifting into Film and TV making. Dan was the founder and chief editor of the cultural section of Globes - Israel's leading financial newspaper, and founder of Shadurian Publisher's – a publishing house for cutting edge literature from Israeli and international writers. 

In the last couple of years he made a few shorts, video clips and various works for TV, including a 30 minutes fiction film - "Sunburn".
LIRON SHOHAM, Dove's Cry, Moderator for the Day of Education 

Liron Shoham serves as Communications Manager for the Inter Agency Task Force on Israeli Arab Issues. Liron co-founded HGF's New York office to grow the foundation's signature programs in the metropolitan region and implement national partnerships. Prior to working for HGF, Liron was part of Major Gifts and Foundation Relations division at the American Friends for the Weizmann Institute of Science and worked to develop and steward funding relationships for specific basic science research projects.  

With a lifelong interest in cross-cultural relations, Liron has traveled widely and trained in community dispute resolution, non-violent communication, restorative justice and cross-cultural dialogue.    

Liron received an MA in Conflict Resolution from Bradford University in England and a BA in Anthropology and Arts-Semiotics from Brown University.

RAN TAL, The Garden of Eden  

Director Ran Tal was born in 1963 in Israel to a farmer’s family and grew up on Kibbutz Beit Hashita. After finishing his military duty, he studied cinema and television at Tel Aviv University. Tal was creative director at several TV stations and since the mid-90s has been an independent documentary filmmaker whose work deals with the essence of Israeli politics through social and historical phenomenon.

He also teaches at various film schools in Israel.
ANNE THOMAS, Actor, SpeakeasyDC 

Anne Thomas is a master of reinvention. She has been an oil & gas landman, an employment civil rights attorney, a conflict resolution expert, and a leadership development innovator before becoming a storyteller.  She is the 2013 National Storytelling Festival Slam Champion, has been featured on The Moth, Storycorps and performs often for SpeakeasyDC, Better Said Than Done, and more. She is also one of the authors featured in the book Sucker for Love. 
JOHN TURTURRO, Fading Gigolo  

Actor John Turturro rose to prominence as a favorite of filmmakers Spike Lee and the Coen Brothers with early roles in "Do the Right Thing" (1989) and "Miller's Crossing" (1990), making him a go-to guy for volatile, complex characters. Because of his distinct, but indistinguishable appearance, the Yale Drama School grad was able to play a wide array of ethnic characters, giving him the opportunity to add more depth to cinema's historically two-dimensional Italians, Jews and Latinos.

While Turturro made his home in independent film, he experienced commercial success with a starring role in "Quiz Show" (1994) and supporting role in "The Good Shepherd" (2006).  

Meanwhile, as a writer and director, he helmed three original films, including his ode to 1950s working-class Queens, "Mac" (1992), and an homage to turn of the century Italian theater, "Illuminata" (1999). Despite avoiding television throughout his career, Turturro emerged in 2004 with an Emmy for a guest stint on "Monk" (USA, 2002- ), and in 2007 earned kudos from fans and critics for his portrayal of combative Yankees manager Billy Martin in the ESPN mini-series "The Bronx is Burning."

ALI WAKED, Bethlehem 

Ali Waked is a journalist and the Deputy Director at Merchavim, the Institute for the Advancement of Shared Citizenship in Israel. Ali holds a BA degree in Political sciences from the Open University in Tel Aviv, and an MA in History of the Middle East from the Tel Aviv University. He is also the Middle East and Israel Affairs analyst of several international media.  

Since March 2012 he is the Deputy Director and Head of the Kulanana society - building initiative at Merchavim, the Institute for the Advancement of Shared Citizenship in Israel.  

In September 2013, Ali won the Israeli Oscar – the Ophir Prize for best screenplay for “Bethlehem”, a movie which he co-wrote with Yuval Adler. The film won the best film award.

  GEORGE WEISZ, Executive Producer, Regina 

George Weisz is a double Queen’s Award winning engineer and inventor who retired from his active industrial work a few years ago. He has always been interested in promoting art and visual art including films (the Hungarian Psychoanalytical Film Conference from its inception etc)

Due to severe difficulties in finding resources for finishing Regina, Diana Groo’s inspiring poetic documentary about the first female rabbi of the world George Weisz was approached to come in and rescue the project 3 years ago. Being true to his Jewish roots and values and also paying respect to his parents’ –Joir and Kato Weisz – memory he agreed to stand by this film. He believes that the message of Regina Jonas’s life, a story of devotion and hope in the face of despair, is relevant for our time and wishes it to be heard and understood all round the world.