DAVID ELLENSON is Director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University. He has written extensively on the origins and development of Orthodox Judaism in Germany during the Nineteenth Century, Orthodox legal writings on conversion in Israel, North America, and Europe during the modern era, the relationship between religion and state in Israel, the history of modern Jewish religious movements, and American Jewish life. Chancellor-Emeritus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, he served as President of HUC-JIR from 2001-2013. For two decades Ellenson served as head of the Louchheim School of Judaic Studies, the undergraduate program in Jewish Studies at the University of Southern California conducted under the aegis of HUC-JIR. In the Spring of 2015, New York University appointed him as Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Skirball Department of Judaic Studies. At Brandeis, in addition to his position at the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, he serves as a Visiting Professor in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies.
KAREN FRANKLIN is Director of Family Research at the Leo Baeck Institute. She was formerly Director of the Judaica Museum in Riverdale, New York for 20 years and a guest curator at the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. Mrs. Franklin has served as chair of the Council of American Jewish Museums, president of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, as well as co-chair of the Board of Governors of JewishGen, the Jewish genealogy web site. A past chair of the Memorial Museums Committee of ICOM (the International Council of Museums). she was awarded the 2012 ICOM-US Service Citation for her work in Holocaust-era property restitution. The citation is the highest honor of ICOM-US.
DR. HANNO LOEWY is the Director of the Jewish Museum Hohenems in Austria. The founding director of the Fritz Bauer Institute, he was guest curator for the permanent exhibitions of the Jewish Museum Frankfurt am Main and Berlin. Dr. Loewy is president of the Association of European Jewish Museums. His many publications cover subjects including the history of photography, film and modern aesthetics, Jewish history and culture and contemporary Jewish politics, and the impact of the Holocaust on literature and film, most recent: Jukebox. Jewkbox! A Jewish Century on Shellac and Vinyl (2014) and Endstation Sehnsucht. Eine Reise durch Jerushaljim-Jerusalem-Al Quds (together with Hannes Sulzenbacher, 2015).
FRANK MECKLENBURG is Chief Archivist and Director of Research at the Leo Baeck Institute (LBI) New York, where he has worked since 1984. He heads the LBI Archives branch at the Jewish Museum in Berlin and is in charge of DigiBaeck, the digital archives project at LBI. He has been an active participant in the annual conference of Jewish Studies and German Studies and is working on a series of articles concerning the history of Jews in Central Europe during the 20th century from a post-cold war, post-East-West perspective. Born in Berlin he immigrated to the U.S. in 1981, the same year he received his PhD from the Technische Universität Berlin in modern German history.
SARA NACHAMA became the executive founding director of the Berlin branch of Touro College and University Systems (New York, NY) in October 2003. It is the only Jewish American College in Germany offering bachelor and master programs. Since 2005 she is a vice president and rector of Touro College Berlin. She is on the board of Jewish Community in Berlin, where she is responsible for Culture and Adult Education Centre. She is a board member of Berlin’s Christian-Jewish Association. She also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Hospital in Berlin. In 2014 she was awarded a “Federal Cross of Merit” for her voluntary community services.
HENRY OBERMAYER is a son of Dr. Arthur Obermayer, founder of the Obermayer German Jewish History Awards. He is a psychologist, academic, and community builder in the San Francisco area. A faculty member in the Intensive English Program at the University of Rostock in 1988, Mr. Obermayer has returned many times to Germany since then for both professional and personal reasons.
RALF WIELAND has been Speaker of the Berlin House of Representatives since October 27, 2011. He was born in Wilhelmshaven in 1956 and did an apprenticeship as a shipping agent. After his vocational training, he worked as an expediter and as the branch manager of a shipping company. After working as an assistant to the executive staff of Berlin’s Senate Department for Construction and Housing, he headed Berlin’s agency for construction waste management from 1996 to 1997. In 1997 he moved to the Senate Department for Urban Development, the Environment and Technology and was a division head there until 1999. From 1999 to 2004 he was the party manager for the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Berlin. Ralf Wieland has been a member of the Berlin House of Representatives since 1999, where he headed the Budget Committee for many years. Responsible for the deliberations on Berlin’s annual Budget Act and for monitoring the government’s implementation of the Budget Act, it is one of the legislature’s most important committees.