Diane Kaufmann Tobin is the president of the Institute for Jewish & Community Research (IJCR), an independent think tank providing original research and innovative initiatives. Founded by the late Dr. Gary A. Tobin, IJCR has strategic initiatives in three pivotal areas of Jewish life: religious prejudice, philanthropy, and demography. Ms Tobin is also the founder of Be’chol Lashon (In Every Tongue), a community-building initiative of the Institute that seeks to grow and strengthen the Jewish community through a global understanding of the Jewish people. With representatives and partners across the United States, as well as in Latin America, Europe, and Africa, Be'chol Lashon advocates for pluralistic inclusive expressions of Judaism that are relevant to young people and others. Diane Tobin is the author of In Every Tongue: The Racial & Ethnic Diversity of the Jewish People, which was a 2006 Independent Publisher Book Award finalist, and co-author of Jewish Family Foundations..
Ms. Tobin attended the California Academy of the Arts, and prior to joining the Institute in 1991, was the president of a design firm for more than fifteen years, specializing in corporate and non-profit identity, marketing, conferences, and fundraising events. Ms. Tobin brought with her a unique sense of organizational focus and direction that has helped IJCR to become a leader in Jewish research. She has served as a community leader in a number of Jewish organizations, including president of the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, 1986—1989.
Diane Tobin has six children, Adam, 39; Amy, 35; Sarah, 33; Aryeh, 30; Mia, 27 and Jonah, 12.
Director of Research
Aryeh K. Weinberg is the Director of Research at the Institute for Jewish & Community Research. He is also a research fellow with the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion. Mr. Weinberg received his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, in International Relations and Peace and Conflict Studies, with an emphasis on international freshwater conflict and cooperation.
Mr. Weinberg's research focuses on philanthropy, as well as anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism in American education. His latest publications include The UnCivil University: Politics and Propaganda in Higher Education, "An Exceptional Nation: American Philanthropy Is Different Because America Is Different,"A Profile of American College Faculty vol. 1: Political Beliefs & Behavior, and A Profile of American College Faculty vol. 2: Religious Beliefs & Behavior. He is presently completing two monographs, entitled Mega-Gifts in American Philanthropy vol. 2, and Mega-Gifts in Jewish Philanthropy.
Mia K. Weinberg
Mia K. Weinberg is a research assistant as well as a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist and primary care provider in San Francisco. She specializes in family medicine, and treats patients of all ages with a wide range of ailments. Mia Weinberg works closely with many health care professionals including western MDs, psychologists, physical therapists, and chiropractors to build a healthcare plan that is right for each individual. She draws upon her experience as a public health educator and researcher to help her patients navigate through a complicated medical framework. Her goal is to provide integrated, educated, comprehensive healthcare to her patients.
Ms. Weinberg graduated with honors from University of California Santa Cruz with a degree in Public Health. She went on to study at the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) in San Francisco and graduated at the top of her class from the four-year Masters of Science program. Clinical experience included rotations at The California Pacific Medical Center Stroke and Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Clinic, ACTCM Community Clinic, and the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic.
Mia K. Weinberg was born and raised in San Francisco and is inspired by the diverse cultural influences of her city and her family.
Deryck Reed provides IT services for the Institute for Jewish & Community Research. He has strategized about and implemented the use of technology through his company Modern Mechanic in order to effectively collaborate with IJCR's research associates and fellows scattered around the globe. In 2007 Mr. Reed went to Uganda to set up a computer center for the Abayudaya community, empowering them with the technology to communicate with the global Jewish community.
Mr. Reed founded his company Modern Mechanic in 1999 and has developed long-term relationships with a diverse clientele. He holds a Private Pilot license and is fluent in Spanish.
Rabbi Capers Funnye
Senior Research Associate
Rabbi Capers Funnye is spiritual leader of Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation, Chicago and the Associate Director of Be’chol Lashon. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Jewish Studies and a Master of Science in Human Services Administration from Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, Chicago and rabbinic ordination from the Israelite Board of Rabbis, New York.
Rabbi Funnye is involved in many community organizations. He serves on the boards of the Chicago Board of Rabbis, American Jewish Congress, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, Boys-To-Men and the South Chicago Chamber of Commerce. Rabbi Funnye has served as a consultant to the DuSable Museum of African American History, Chicago Historical Society, Spertus Museum of Judaica, and the Afro-American Museum, Los Angeles. Rabbi Funnye has appeared on numerous television and radio programs, including: Our Voices, BET, The Jerry Springer Show, WMAQ-TV, Common Ground, WBBM-TV, Talking With Aaron Freeman and WPWR-TV.
Rabbi Funnye and his wife, Mary, have four children.
Los Angeles Director
Born in Hong Kong, Davi Yael Cheng immigrated to the United States with her family when she was fourteen. In addition to her rich Chinese heritage, Davi has embraced Judaism and is actively involved in her synagogue, Beth Chayim Chadashim (BCC), "House of New Life," the world's original gay and lesbian synagogue founded in Los Angeles in 1972. Davi is the past president and co-founder of the synagogue's Klezmer band, "Gay Gezunt," where she plays the trumpet and French horn, she also sings in the choir.
Davi is a graphic designer in Los Angeles and her artwork reflects the diverse aspects of her life and the unique perspective it has given her. Davi designed the twelve stained glass windows at BCC, and fabricated the windows along with three other artists, all BCC members, her new project will be to help create the stained glass door and Ner Tamid for the Ark in the new building her temple will be moving to in April 2011.
Davi has served as the Executive Vice Presidents for the Pacific Southwest Regional Board with the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) and currently take on the role as a Bridgebuilder for the West District.
Davi holds a B.A. degree in Biological Science from the University of California, Berkeley, where she met her spouse of 31 years, Bracha Yael Cheng.
Rabbi Gershom Sizomu is a Be'chol Lashon Rabbinic Fellow at the Institute for Jewish & Community Research and the spiritual leader of the Abayudaya Jews of Uganda. Rabbi Sizomu earned a Bachelor of Arts in education from Islamic University, Uganda. As an IJCR fellow, Gershom Sizomu attends the Zeigler School of Rabbinic Studies at the University of Judaism, Los Angeles. After he completes the 5-year rabbinic program in 2008, he will return to Uganda to start a yeshiva in Uganda to train African rabbis.
Abayudaya is a local term that means "the people of Judah.” The Jews of Uganda trace their roots to Semei Kakungulu, a local leader and missionary for the British, who favored the Hebrew bible and spread its teachings at the turn of the 20th century. Today, approximately 800 members of the Abayudaya community live in Eastern Uganda near Mbale. In 2002, at the community´s request, a Conservative Bet Din supervised the conversion of most of the Abayudaya community members.
Rabbi Sizomu plays guitar and writes music for the community. He and his wife Tziporah perform Ugandan Jewish music and lecture about Jews in Uganda. They have three children, Igaal, Dafnah, and Navah.
Rabson Wuriga holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa. Rabson Wuriga is a post-doctoral research fellow of the Institute for Jewish Community and Research, San Francisco, and Center for Afro-Jewish Studies, Temple University.
Rabson was born and raised in Zimbabwe. He belongs to the Hamis (or Hamish) clan of the Lemba community. He is married to Eveline with two children.
He works with the Lemba community in Zimbabwe (as a National Coordinator), and in South Africa, and Mozambique (Coordinator). Currently he is involved in community building through research work under the Institute for Jewish & Community Research funded project on Lemba traditions, and promoting dialogue with other Jewish groups; participating in mainstream Jewish circles through the help of the Centre for Afro-Judeo Studies; facilitating a computer equipping project for Mapakomhere High School in Zimbabwe together with Dr. Carolivia Herron, representing Tifereth-Israel Synagogue; facilitating the building of a community medical clinic in Tadzembwa, Zimbabwe.
New York Director
Lacey A. Schwartz is a film and television director/producer, who has worked with a variety of networks and production companies, including BETJ, @radical.media, Drive Thru Pictures and The Leon Charney Report, on branded entertainment programs, scripted and reality television series, commercials, feature-length documentaries, narrative films, concert films, live performances, added value DVD content and EPKs. Currently, she is producing/directing "Outside the Box," a documentary which traces Lacey’s upbringing in a white Jewish family, discovery at eighteen that her biological father is Black and personal exploration of her mixed-race identity; all the while exploring her connection to other Black Jews in America.
Originally from Woodstock, NY, Lacey graduated cum laude in 1998 from Georgetown University with a B.A. in Government and a minor in Studio Arts and received a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2003, where she wrote, directed, edited and produced her first two films; Schvartze (2002), a short autobiographical film, and, Legally Black, Brown, Yellow and Red (2003), a feature-length documentary on minority experiences at Harvard Law School.
Previous to her career in television and film production, Lacey worked in corporate, civil rights and entertainment law at the American Civil Liberties Union, Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton and Garrison LLP, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and MTV Networks. She also worked as a New York City Public School teacher teaching math and theater while she DJed on the side for an arts organization, band and private parties.
Rabbi Shlomo Zarchi
Rabbi Shlomo Zarchi is a research fellow at the Institute for Jewish & Community Research. He received his rabbinic ordination from the Rabbinical Academy in Jerusalem and New York. Rabbi Zarchi is the rabbi of Congregation Chevra Thilim, the oldest Orthodox synagogue in San Francisco.
Rabbi Zarchi comes from a Hasidic family of rabbis that goes back six generations. Growing up in Brooklyn, he learned Hebrew and Aramaic as soon as he was able to read. He began studying Kabbalah shortly thereafter, at the age of five. He has studied under some of the great Hasidic and Kabbalistic masters. He is one of the foremost experts on the Kabbalah on the West Coast and is a frequent lecturer. Rabbi Zarchi currently teaches classes at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco.
Rabbi Zarchi has traveled to many parts of the world through his involvement in outreach programs. He spent significant time in the Former Soviet Union participating in the synagogue recovery program in the early 1990s.
He presently serves on the Vaad Hakashrus of Northern California.
Rabbi Zarchi lives in San Francisco with his wife Chani and their five children.
Tobin Belzer, Ph.D.
Tobin Belzer PhD is Research Associate at the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California. A sociologist of American Jewry, her research and program evaluations have focused on young adults’ Jewish identity, Jewish organizational culture, Jewish education, and congregational studies. She has worked with numerous Jewish organizations and foundations including: the Foundation for Jewish Culture, the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, The Koret Foundation, the Jim Joseph Foundation, Berman Center for Research and Evaluation in Jewish Education at JESNA, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, and the Covenant Foundation. Belzer earned her PhD in Sociology from Brandeis University in 2004. With Rabbi Julie Pelc, she is the co-editor of Joining the Sisterhood: Young Jewish Women Write Their Lives (SUNY Press, 2003). Belzer was awarded the Hadassah Award for Excellence in Writing about Women from the American Jewish Press Association. She was a 2007-08 Fellow of the Congregational Studies Team's Engaged Scholars Program, funded by the Lilly Endowment.
Joshua Comenetz, Ph.D.
Dr. Joshua Comenetz directs research on international demographic mapping, supervises development of high-resolution geodemographic products and websites for humanitarian relief and disaster response, and advises internationally on best practices in population mapping.
In a paper in the journal Contemporary Jewry, Dr. Comenetz used census data and cartography to derive the most accurate possible estimate of the size of the American Hasidic population. He serves as consultant for the mapping of population by religion.
Dr. Comenetz has published numerous articles on international and domestic population and mapping, ethnic and religious geography, and
analysis of spatial data and satellite imagery. He was previously a geography professor at the University of Florida specializing in
demographics and international relations. He holds a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Minnesota and an A.B. in geology from Harvard.
Stephen Mark Dobbs, Ph.D.
Dr. Stephen Dobbs is a native San Franciscan and received his B.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University. His first career was as a university professor in the humanities. He is currently an adjunct professor at San Francisco State University and an adjunct faculty at the Institute for Jewish & Community Research.
His second career has been in the foundation world. He was a former program analyst for the John D. Rockefeller III Fund and a senior program officer at the J. Paul Getty Trust. He served as CEO of the Koret Foundation and the Marin Community Foundation. Dr. Dobbs is currently the executive director of the John & Lisa Pritzker Family Fund, the Nancy & Stephen Grand Philanthropic Fund, and Taube Philanthropies which includes the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture.
His third career has been in Jewish community organizations. He is a former president of the Brandeis-Hillel Day School, vice president of the Bureau of Jewish Education, and vice president of Congregation Emanu-El. He was the founding director of the Jewish Community Federation Leadership Institute. He was President of Mount Zion Health Fund and served on the board of the Jewish Community Federation. In the general community, Dobbs serves as a director of Guide Dogs for the Blind, and San Francisco State University Foundation. He and his wife, Victoria, have four sons.
Marc Dollinger, Ph.D.
Dr. Marc Dollinger holds the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies and Social Responsibility at San Francisco State University.
He has served as Research Fellow at Princeton University's Center for the Study of Religion as well as the Andrew W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow and Lecturer in the Humanities at Bryn Mawr College, where he coordinated the program in Jewish Studies. He currently serves on the academic advisory council of the American Jewish Historical Association.
His first book, Quest For Inclusion: Jews and Liberalism In Modern America, was published by Princeton University Press in 2000. His second book, California Jews, co-edited with Ava Kahn, was published in 2003 by Brandeis University Press. Dr. Dollinger has also contributed entries on American Jewish life to the Encyclopedia Judaica and the Dictionary of American History. He is currently at work on two projects, Is It Good for the Jews? and Power, Politics, and the 1960s and American Jewish History: A Documents Reader, which will be published by Brandeis University Press.
Dr. Dollinger is the former educational director of URJ's Camps Newman and Swig, and is the recipient of UCLA's distinguished teaching award.
He serves on the California advisory committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights, the board of the Bureau of Jewish Education, Camp Newman-Swig, and is board president of Brandeis-Hillel Day School.
David Dutwin, Ph.D.
Dr. David Dutwin is Vice President and Chief Methodologist of Social Science Research Solutions, a major market research and social science research firm located outside of Philadelphia, PA. His primary areas of expertise are in sampling methods, questionnaire development, weighting, and data analysis. Dr. Dutwin has conducted a wide range of studies, mostly pertaining to Jewish demography, Hispanic attitudes, opinions, and behavior, health policy, political tracking, and education policy.
Dr. Dutwin is also an adjunct professor at West Chester University where he teaches research methodology as well as business communication, rhetoric and mass media effects. David holds a Ph.D. from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, where his area of study was the formation of mass opinion. He also holds an M.A. from the University of Washington in rhetorical studies. Dr. Dutwin's prior experience was in politics, where he worked for former U.S. Senator Harris Wofford of Pennsylvania and Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco.
David lives in the Philadelphia area with his wife Betsy and his two sons, Aidan and Elias.
Jane Anna Gordon
Jane Anna Gordon teaches in the Department of Political Science at Temple University, where she also is Associate Director of the Center for Afro-Jewish Studies. She is the author of Why They Couldn't Wait: A Critique of the Black-Jewish Conflict Over Community Control in Ocean-Hill Brownsville, 1967-1971 (Routledge, 2001), which was listed by The Gotham Gazette as one of the four best books recently published on Civil Rights, co-author of Of Divine Warning: Reading Disaster in the Modern Age (Paradigm Publishers, 2009), and co-editor of A Companion to African-American Studies (Blackwell's, 2006) and Not Only the Master's Tools (Paradigm Publishers, 2006). Gordon is currently finishing a book entitled Creolizing Political Theory (forthcoming with Fordham University Press) that advances creolization as a preferable alternative to multiculturalism for approaching abiding challenges of difference in democratic public life and as a useful model for how we might creatively rework relations among currently discrete academic disciplines to better illuminate central, pressing political questions. Gordon is particularly interested in how most accurately and effectively to emphasize and educate contemporary Jews and non-Jews about the creolized past and present of vibrant Jewish communities.
Lewis R. Gordon, Ph.D.
Lewis Gordon is the offspring of two Jewish communities that converged in his mother.
One was the Solomon family, who migrated to Jamaica in the 19th Century. The other was from Ireland under the name of Finikin, who also immigrated there during the same period. Noticing that admission of his Jewish heritage stimulates discussion and reflection on Jewish diversity and history, Gordon has committed himself to working with fellow scholars and community workers dedicated to the re-appearance of Jewish people who have disappeared either by force or neglect. He is the founder and co-director, with his wife Jane Gordon, of the Center for Afro-Jewish Studies at Temple University, a research institute dedicated to developing reliable sources of information on Afro-Jews and Jewish diversity. He is also a research affiliate of the Institute for Jewish Research and Community. His formal academic appointment is the Laura H. Carnell Professor of Philosophy, Religion, and Judaic Studies at Temple University. Professor Gordon achieved his PhD in Philosophy with distinction from Yale University in 1993. He earned his B.A., with multiple honors, through the Lehman Scholars Program at Lehman College in the Bronx, New York, in 1984, after which he had taught as a Social Studies teacher in the Bronx, where he was also founder of the Second Chance Program at Lehman High School. Professor Gordon is the author of several influential and award-winning books, such as Bad Faith and Antiblack Racism (1995), Her Majesty's Other Children (1997), which won the Gustavus Myer Award for Outstanding Work on Human Rights in North America, Exisentia Africana (2000), Disciplinary Decadence (2006), and his co-edited A Companion to African-American Studies, was chosen as the NetLibrary eBook of the Month for February 2007. His forthcoming books are An Introduction to Africana Philosophy, which will be published by Cambridge University Press, and, with Jane Anna Gordon, Of Divine Warning: Reading Disaster in the Modern Age, which will be published by Paradigm Publishers. He is the author of the foreword to Gary and Diane Tobin and Scott Rubin's In Every Tongue (2005), and he is currently working on a book tentatively titled The Afro-Jewish Question and co-editing an anthology on the study of Jewish diversity. Professor Gordon has received many accolades work his work and has lectured internationally.
Ephraim Isaac, Ph.D.
Dr. Ephraim Isaac is Director, Institute of Semitic Studies, Princeton, NJ; Fellow, Butler College, Princeton University (1994 –); Fellow, The Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation.
Born in Ethiopia, where he got his early education, Dr. Isaac holds a B.A. in philosophy, chemistry and music (Concordia College); an M. Div. (Harvard Divinity School); a Ph.D. in Near Eastern languages (Harvard University); a D.H.L. (honorary, John Jay /CUNY). He was Professor at Harvard (1968 – 1977). The first professor hired in Afro-American Studies at Harvard, he was voted the best teacher each year by the students and the department. In addition to Harvard (which endowed the Ephraim Isaac Prize? in African Studies in 1998), Dr. Isaac has lectured at Hebrew U. (ancient Semitic languages), Princeton U. (Near Eastern studies, religion); V. Prof. (religion & African American studies 1995 – 01) and U. of Pennsylvania (religion, Semitic languages), Howard U (Divinity School), Lehigh U. (religion), Bard College (religion, history), and other institutions of higher learning. His subjects range from those mentioned above to biblical Hebrew, rabbinic literature, Ethiopian history, concept and history of slavery and ancient African civilizations. He has been a Fellow, National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute for Advanced Studies. He has received many awards and honors including an honorary D.H.L. (John Jay College, CUNY), and the 2002 Peacemaker Award? of the Rabbi Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding.
Dr. Isaac is author of numerous articles and books on (Late Second Temple) Jewish and (Ancient Ethiopic) Ge’ez literatures. Three of his recent works pertain to the oldest known manuscripts of The Book of Enoch (Doubleday, 1983). He has also completed An Ethiopic History of Joseph (Sheffield Press, 1990) and did Proceedings of Second International Congress of Yemenite Jewish Studies (ISS & U. of Haifa, 1999). An expanded definitive version of his The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is in print (Africa World Press, 2001.) He is currently working on a new edition of the Dead Sea Scrolls Fragments of The Book of Enoch (Princeton Theological Seminary), A History of Religions in Africa?, and A Cultural History of Ethiopian Jews. He is on editorial boards of two international scholarly journals on Afroasiatic languages and Second Temple Jewish literature respectively.
Dr. Isaac has diverse accomplishments. He knows seventeen languages. He is the first translator of Handel’s Messiah into Amharic, the official Ethiopian language. He is widely known in Ethiopia as founder of the National Literacy Campaign that made millions literate in the late sixties. He is currently the international chair of the Horn of Africa Board of Peace and Development Organization (Addis Ababa, Asmara) and the president of The Yemenite Jewish Federation of America. He is on the board of many charitable and educational organizations. Sought after nationally and internationally, he is widely acclaimed as a public lecturer on religion, literature, ancient history, peace and conflict resolution, and various other subjects listed above.
Alexander Joffe is an archaeologist and historian who has worked at a variety of education and non-profit settings. He received a BA in History from Cornell University and an MA and PhD in Near Eastern Studies from the University of Arizona. Dr. Joffe is the author of over 60 articles and 100 reviews dealing with archaeology and ancient history, as well as modern issues including Middle Eastern history, nationalism, environmental security, and intelligence reform. Joffe's primary today work addresses the future of American Jews, antisemitism, and higher education reform.
Since 1980 Joffe has worked on over two dozen excavations in Israel, Jordan and the U.S., and from 1993 to 2000 he taught in the Anthropology department at Penn Sate University. From 2006 to 2010 he was the Director of Research for the Boston-based David Project. There he oversaw the creation of curricular products on the Arab-Israeli conflict aimed at high school and college students, and analyses of threats facing Israel and the U.S., such as Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran. Joffe also produced the weekly Israel news update. Prior to the David Project he worked at the Middle East Forum and Global Policy Exchange.
Joffe's recent publications include “A Tale of Two Galloways: Notes on the Early History of UNRWA and Zionist Historiography,” (with A. Romirowsky), Middle Eastern Studies 46/5:655-675 (2010), “The Changing Place of Biblical Archaeology: Exceptionalism or Normal Science?” in Historical Biblical Archaeology and the Future – The New Pragmatism, (T.E. Levy, ed.), pp. 334-351. (London: Equinox, 2010), and Zion as Proxy? Three Jewish Scholars of Nationalism on Zionism and Israel (Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2007). His opinion pieces have appeared in the Jerusalem Post, the Jewish Week and the Forward. These and other publications are available at his web site, www.alexander.joffe.net.
As side projects Joffe is currently writing the biography of a British general from World War II and is researching a book on the role of intelligence agencies in security sector reform. He is married and lives in New Rochelle, New York.
Byron Johnson is Professor Sociology and Co-Director of the Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) as well as director of the Program on Prosocial Behavior, both at Baylor University. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, New Jersey. He has a Ph.D in Criminology from Florida State University (1984), a M.S. in Criminology from University of Tennessee (1980), a M.A. in Psychology/ Sociology from Middle Tennessee State University (1980), and a B.A. in Psychology/Sociology from Minot State University (1977).
Johnson is currently completing a series of studies for the Department of Justice on the role of religion in prosocial youth behavior. Recent publications examined the impact of faith-based programs on recidivism reduction and prisoner reentry. Johnson is currently completing an evaluation examining academic outcomes among public high school students enrolled in elective courses in comparison with those taking a course on the Bible. Along with other ISR colleagues he is completing a series of groundbreaking empirical studies on religion in China. Johnson's research has been used in consultation with the Department of Justice, Department of Defense, Department of Labor, and the National Institutes of Health.
Helen K. Kim is an assistant professor at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. She earned her B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, her M.A. from the University of Chicago, and her Ph.D. in social work and sociology from the University of Michigan. Helen is broadly interested in race and ethnicity, gender, second generation Asian Americans and interracial/interfaith marriages among American Jews.
Rabbi Irwin Kula
Rabbi Irwin Kula is an eighth-generation rabbi, nationally known speaker and teacher, and the president of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. A regular guest on Oprah and The Today Show, he is also the host of the public television broadcast called The Wisdom of Our Yearnings.
Irwin Kula is the author of author of Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life (Hyperion 2006). In his new public television special, based on his book Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life, the acclaimed educator, speaker, and author discusses the powerful positive energy of our yearnings. Our everyday lives are driven by deep and profound yearnings for happiness, for certainty, for love and meaningful relationships. By understanding the "hidden wisdom" of our desires, Kula maintains, an individual can transform their life into one of greater meaning, passion and love. Drawing upon ancient wisdom texts, Old Testament and Talmudic teachings, Buddhism, modern literature and contemporary life stories, Kula explains how to celebrate, embrace and grow from the paradoxes, contradictions and "sacred messiness" of life.
Rabbi Kula lives with his wife and daughters in New York City.
Shawn Landres, PhD, is the co–founder & CEO of Jumpstart, a philanthropic research & design lab that helps philanthropic and community leaders expand what they know, adapt how they think, and redefine what is possible. Jumpstart's unique combination of original research, convenings, and funding enables creative changemakers—philanthropists and institutional leaders alike—to realize their own visions and advance the common good. At Jumpstart, Shawn has led the research & publication of such original reports as The Innovation Ecosystem (2009), Haskalah 2.0 (2010), The 2010 Survey of New Jewish Initiatives in Europe: Key Findings (2010), The Jewish Innovation Economy (2011), and the Connected to Give report series (2013-2014).
A respected researcher, editor, and essayist, and a popular lecturer both in the United States and abroad, Shawn has focused much of his work, within and beyond the academy, on convening conversations, where none exist, on matters of intellectual, political, and moral urgency. He has co–edited four books on topics as diverse as the practice of ethnography; the interreligious impact of the film The Passion of the Christ; the intersection of religion, violence, memory, and place; and a campaign biography of Bill Clinton. Shawn holds degrees from Columbia University (BA, religion), the University of Oxford (MSt, social anthropology), and the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he earned a PhD in religious studies. He holds advanced certification from 21/64 as a consultant/trainer in multigenerational family philanthropy and is certified as a facilitator by the Center for Leadership Initiatives. Shawn was elected in 2013 by his peers to the Board of Directors of the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry; he also serves on the Sh'ma Advisory Committee.
Noah S. Leavitt is a teacher, author, community organizer and attorney. He serves as President of Congregation Beth Israel in Walla Walla, Washington. He is also a Visiting Assistant Professor with Whitman College.
He earned his B.A. from Haverford College, his J.D. from the University of Michigan, and his M.A. in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago, where his thesis, "The Ends of Ethnicity," analyzed the shifting perceptions of identity among leaders of interethnic networks in the Midwest.
He served as the Advocacy Director for the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, directing numerous campaigns to carry out the organization’s mission to combat poverty, racism and anti-Semitism in partnership with Chicago’ s diverse communities.
Leavitt’s writings analyzing contemporary legal, cultural and political events have appeared in a wide range of print and online publications including The Forward, Slate, Michigan Journal of International Law, CNN, The Housing Law Bulletin, FindLaw, the International Herald Tribune, Jurist, and the blog of the American Constitution Society.
He is currently working on a project with his wife, Helen Kim, to understand how American Jews and Asian-Americans who are married to each other think about their racial, religious and ethnic identities.
Lynne is a research associate at the Institute for Jewish and Community Research where she writes and conducts research on college and university endowments. She is also president of an education consulting firm, Six Consulting, Inc., and president and executive director of Common Core, a non-profit research and advocacy organization dedicated to improving liberal arts education at the K-12 levels. She is an author who served as Deputy Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities from 2001-2005.
In September 2007 Lynne testified before the Senate Finance Committee on the issue of college and university endowment spending, a topic she has written on for USAToday, Boston Globe, and Inside Higher Education and discussed on television and radio including CNN, FoxNews, PBS, and NPR. Lynne was profiled in the Chronicle of Higher Education in January 2008 and in April the Capital Research Center published a compilation of her writings and speeches. Lynne’s remarks to a February 2008 American Enterprise Institute (AEI) conference were published by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity as a debate with Charles Miller, chairman of the Secretary of Education’s Task Force on Higher Education.
From 1993-2001 Lynne was a fellow at AEI where she wrote Exhibitionism: Art in an Era of Intolerance (Ivan R. Dee, 2000). In 2005 Lynne led the first US government delegation to Afghanistan concerned with cultural reconstruction. In 2004 she represented the US at UNESCO meetings in Asia and Australia where she helped negotiate guidelines for cross-border higher education. Lynne served on President George W. Bush’s Department of Education transition team, on the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, and testified before the Board of Trustees of the City University of New York regarding remediation programs. Lynne, who is a graduate of Northwestern University, has written widely on education and cultural issues for national publications including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Public Interest. She and her husband live in Alexandria, Virginia with their two children.
Gregg J. Rickman, Ph.D.
Gregg J. Rickman received his Masters of Arts and Bachelor of Arts in Middle Eastern and Russian history from John Carroll University, in Cleveland, Ohio and a Doctorate of Philosophy in International Relations from the University of Miami in Miami, Florida.
From 1991-1999, Gregg J. Rickman directed the legislative agenda for two U.S. Senators, where he worked to secure vital funding for infrastructure projects as well as transportation, aviation security, counter-terrorism, foreign aid, economic sanctions and export control issues working with the staff of the Senate Banking Committee. From 2003-2006, he served as a senior Committee aide and Staff Director to three Foreign Affairs Committee and Subcommittee Chairs working on financial, criminal, and foreign aid investigations and terror financing issues.
He has directed news-making advocacy campaigns both nationally and internationally, including a three-year campaign against the Swiss Banks resulting in a $1.25 billion settlement for Holocaust survivors; a campaign to uncover Iraqi violations of the United Nations’ Oil-for-Food program and numerous others relating to criminal and policy matters.
For nearly three years, he served as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, traveling to twenty-eight countries in defense of victims of anti-Semitism and intolerance. His diplomatic efforts and contacts in nearly fifty countries in Europe, the Middle East, the Gulf, Afghanistan, Latin America, Australia and Southeast Asia as well as dozens of Embassies in Washington during his career have resulted in the alleviation of numerous international problems. He has been widely published in the United States and abroad, including two books, and has spoken and been interviewed in the United States and around the world.
Middle East analyst Asaf Romirowsky is an adjunct scholar at the Foundation for Defense for Democracies , and the Middle East Forum . Previously, he served as the Manager of Israel and Middle East Affairs at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. Mr. Romirowsky got his start in the policy world as a research fellow at the Middle East Forum, a Philadelphia-based think tank headed by scholar Daniel Pipes. Mr. Romirowsky, is a former Israel Defense Force (IDF) International Relations liaison officer in the West Bank, currently serves as an IDF reserve liaison officer to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. He holds a B.A. in Middle East Affairs and Contemporary Jewish History and from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an M.A. in International Relations and Middle East Affairs from Villanova University, where he focused on the differences and similarities between the Mitchell Report in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland.
In addition, he earned another M.A. in Holocaust and Genocide Studies from West Chester University. He is currently a PhD candidate at Kings College London, focusing on UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) documenting when and how they lost their humanitarian integrity as a UN agency.
Mr. Romirowsky has published numerous scholarly journal articles, national newspaper editorials, and magazine features. Mr. Romirowsky has traveled widely in Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Tunisia, Israel, and the Palestinian Territories.
Rodney Stark is the co-director of the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion, University Professor of the Social Sciences. He earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Denver (1959), M.A. in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley (1965), and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley (1971).
Rodney Stark grew up in Jamestown, North Dakota, and began his career as a newspaper reporter. Following a tour of duty in the U.S. Army, he received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, where he held appointments as a research sociologist at the Survey Research Center and at the Center for the Study of Law and Society. He left Berkeley to become Professor of Sociology and of Comparative Religion at the University of Washington. In 2004 he joined the faculty of Baylor University. He has published 27 books and more than 140 scholarly articles on subjects as diverse as prejudice, crime, suicide, and city life in ancient Rome. However, the greater part of his work has been on religion. He is past president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and of the Association for the Sociology of Religion. He also has won a number of national and international awards for distinguished scholarship. Many of his books and articles have been translated and published in foreign languages, including Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, and Turkish.
Gary A. Tobin, Ph.D., z"l
1949-2009 | GaryTobin.org
Founder, Institute for Jewish & Community Research
Dr. Gary A. Tobin z"l was the founder and president of the Institute for Jewish & Community Research, San Francisco. He was also a senior fellow with the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion. He earned his Ph.D. in city and regional planning from the University of California, Berkeley. He served as Director of the Maurice and Marilyn Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University for 14 years, after 11 years at Washington University, St. Louis. Dr. Tobin consulted with scores of non-profits and foundations, and speaks on a range of topics, from philanthropy to religious stereotypes.
Having edited two volumes on the effects of the racial schism in America, What Happened to the Urban Crisis? and Divided Neighborhoods, Dr. Tobin targeted racial and religious prejudice in America as a key concern. He wrote books and monographs on anti-Semitism, including Jewish Perceptions of Anti-Semitism and Anti-Semitic Beliefs in the United States. His writings on prejudice in America's education systems include The UnCivil University: Politics and Propaganda in American Education, Profiles of the American University Volume 1: Political Beliefs & Behavior of College Faculty, and Profiles of the American University Volume 2: Religious Beliefs & Behavior of College Faculty. He completed a volume, published by Lexington Books, entitled The Trouble with Textbooks, an examination of anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism that saturate elementary and secondary school social studies materials.
Dr. Tobin's Jewish demography and Jewish identity texts include In Every Tongue: The Racial & Ethnic Diversity of the Jewish People, Rabbis Talk About Intermarriage, and Opening the Gates: How Proactive Conversion Can Revitalize the Jewish Community. He also wrote about organized religion in America, having completed two works, Church and Synagogue Affiliation and The Decline of Religious Identity in the United States.
His work on philanthropy was extensive. His publications include Mega-Gifts in American Philanthropy: Giving Patterns 2001-2003, Mega-Gifts in Jewish Philanthropy: Giving Patterns 2001-2003, and A Study of Jewish Foundations. Among his previous publications are Mega-Gifts in American Philanthropy: General & Jewish Giving Patterns Between 1995-2000 and The Transition of Communal Values and Behavior in Jewish Philanthropy.
Though the Jewish community lost a great leader in July 2009, Dr. Tobin left a gift
in both the work he completed and the work he initiated for others to
complete. Dr. Tobin worked tirelessly to coach his team of colleagues at IJCR. He wanted his work to live beyond him, not for the sake of his own legacy, but for the sake of the greater good he always pursued. The Institute for Jewish & Community Research will continue to pursue Dr. Tobin’s vision, inspired by his passion, courage, professionalism, and optimism.
Harvey M. Weinstein, MD, MPH
Harvey Weinstein, MD, MPH is Senior Research Fellow at the Human Rights Center of the University of California, Berkeley and a Clinical Professor in the School of Public Health. He obtained his B.Sc and M.D, from McGill University, an MPH from UC Berkeley, and completed a residency in psychiatry at Yale University. After a 20 year career in psychiatry and college student health at Stanford University, his interests shifted to public health and specifically, the problems faced by forced migrants. This led to research in human rights, transitional justice and social reconstruction after violent conflict, and the effects of mass trauma. He served as Associate Director of the Human Rights Center at UC Berkeley from 1998-2005 and as founding Co-Editor of the International Journal of Transitional Justice from 2005-2010. Dr. Weinstein is a past-chair of the Refugee and Immigrant Caucus of the American Public Health Association and a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.
He is the author of Psychiatry and The CIA: Victims of Mind Control, APA Press, 1990 and co-editor of My Neighbor, My Enemy: Justice and Community After Mass Atrocity from Cambridge University Press, 2004, as well as numerous reports and journal papers. He has consulted widely to local and international organizations in Europe, Africa and Asia.
Currently, he is working on a book with his wife Professor Rhona Weinstein on the legacy of Eisig Lubetzky, a little recognized Hebrew scholar, critic, musician, and financier in Vienna at the turn of the 20th Century, whose roots are found in the shtetls of Belarus (White Russia). Through the examination of found material, family interviews, and memories, the book will provide a psychosocial and historical analysis of three generations of lives shaped by the interaction of character, family, culture, and the eras in which they lived.
Rhona S. Weinstein, Ph.D.
Rhona S. Weinstein is Professor of the Graduate School and Professor of Psychology Emerita at the University of California, Berkeley. She received her B.A. from McGill University and Ph.D. in clinical and community psychology from Yale University. She is a former director of the Clinical Science Program and the Psychology Clinic, as well as founding co-director of research and development for CAL Prep, an early-college secondary school for “first in the family to go to college” youth, created through a partnership between UC Berkeley and Aspire Public Schools. Weinstein’s research focuses on how low academic expectations and self-fulfilling prophecies limit the development of minority and poor children, and on classroom and school-level changes that can promote greater equity and reduce the achievement gap. She is the author of more than 70 research publications and her book, Reaching Higher: The Power of Expectations in Schooling (Harvard University Press, 2002), received the Division K Book Award from the American Educational Research Association and the Virginia and Warren Stone Prize from Harvard University Press. Weinstein has received awards for teaching, diversity, school reform, and science, including Distinguished Contributions to Theory and Research in Community Psychology from the American Psychological Association.
Currently, she is working on a book with her husband Professor Harvey Weinstein on the legacy of Eisig Lubetzky, a little recognized Hebrew scholar, critic, musician, and financier, in Vienna at the turn of the 20th century, whose roots are found in the shtetls of Belarus (White Russia). Through the examination of found material, family interviews, and memories, the book will provide a psychosocial and historical analysis of three generations of lives, shaped by the interaction of character, family, culture, and the eras in which they lived.