Special Guests

Esther Dischereit
May 7
The Bloom of Yesterday

Ms. Dischereit was born in Germany in 1952 and lives in Berlin. The author of fiction, poetry and essays, as well as plays for radio and the stage, she has received many prizes, including the Erich Fried Prize in 2009. Dischereit's work reflects the cultural landscape of post-Holocaust Germany, most recently in Before the High Holy Days the House was Full of Whisperings and Rustlings, the book adaptation of a permanent sound-installation Holocaust memorial. In 2014, she published the book/libretto Lamentations: Flowers for Otello. On the Crimes of Jena dedicated to the victims of a series of racist killings perpetrated in Germany between 2000 and 2007. She is Professor of Language Arts at the University of the Applied Arts in Vienna, and since January, the Max Kade Professor in the German Department at the University of Virginia.

Thomas Doherty
May 16
To Be or Not to Be

Thomas Doherty, professor of American studies at Brandeis University since 1990, is a cultural historian with a special interest in Hollywood cinema who has also taught and lectured overseas as a Fulbright scholar. In 2005, he received recognition as an Academy Film Scholar from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Doherty is the author of several highly regarded books, including Teenagers and Teenpics: The Juvenilization of American Movies in the 1950s;Projections of War: Hollywood, American Culture and World War II; Pre-Code Hollywood: Sex, Immorality and Insurrection in American Cinema, 1930-1934; Cold War, Cool Medium: Television, McCarthyism and American Culture; and Hollywood's Censor: Joseph I. Breen and the Production Code Administration. In October 2013, NCJF mounted a special event in honor of the publication of Doherty's most recent book, Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-1939 (2013).

Ralf Horlemann
May 7
The Bloom of Yesterday

Dr. Ralf Horlemann has served Germany’s Foreign Service for more than two decades and has a rich experience in international security policy, transatlantic relations and Asian affairs. He took up his position as Consul General of Germany to New England in July 2015. Between 1998 and 2002 he was instrumental in founding the Berlin Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF). Dr. Horlemann has also worked on Asian affairs as Consul in Hong Kong and Head of the German Interest Section to Pyongyang, North Korea, as well as during various postings to the Federal Foreign Office. From 2002 to 2005 he was responsible for Transatlantic Relations and Asian Affairs as Counsellor to the German Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Jeffrey Melnick
May 5
Body & Soul

Mr. Melnick is professor of American Studies in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Massachusetts Boston. His research interests include Black-Jewish relations, the global circulation of US culture, and immigration and migration culture studies. He teaches courses in American cultural history and comparative ethnicity, and the cultural impact of 9/11. His publications include 9/11 Culture: America Under Construction (2009), Immigration and American Popular Culture (with Rachel Rubin). (2006), and "Soul: Keywords in the New Jewish Studies," in Shofar (2006).

Yariv Mozer
May 4
Ben-Gurion, Epilogue

Film Director, Producer and Scriptwriter, Yariv Mozer graduated with distinction from Tel-Aviv University’s Film and Television Department in 2004. Since then he has directed documentary and feature films, among them are  Ben-Gurion, Epilogue (Israel-France-Germany 2016),  Snails in the Rain  (Israel-Spain 2013), The Invisible Men (Israel-The Netherlands 2012), and My First War (Israel 2008). His films have been shown in film festivals worldwide and won several awards.

Antony Polonsky
May 10

Antony Polonsky is emeritus Professor of Holocaust Studies at Brandeis University and Chief Historian of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. He is chair of the editorial board of Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry. His most recent work is The Jews in Poland and Russia (3 volumes, Oxford, 2010. 2012), published in 2013 in an abridged version as The Jews in Poland and Russia: A Short History. The three volume history was awarded the Pro Historia Polonorum prize in 2012 for the best book in a foreign language on the history of Poland. In 2010 he was awarded an honorary doctorate at Warsaw University and in 2014 by the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. In 2011 he was awarded the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of Polonia Restituta and the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of Independent Lithuania.

Shula Reinharz
May 11 Fanny’s Journey

Shulamit Reinharz, Ph.D., is the Jacob Potofsky Professor of Sociology as well as the Founder and Director of three units at Brandeis: The Hadassah-Brandeis Institute (est. 1997), the Women's Studies Research Center (est. 2001), and the Kniznick Gallery for Feminist Art (est. 2001). She supervises all internal programs including the WSRC Student Scholar Partnership Program; the HBI Summer Internship Program; the HBI Artist-in-Residence Program; the HBI Project on Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law; and HBI Project on Children, Families and the Holocaust; as well as several book series and the journal Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies and Gender Issues. In 2001, she opened the physical facility in which all of these activities take place. Professor Reinharz is the author or co-author of twelve books including most recently, The JGirls' Guide, American Jewish Women and the Zionist Enterprise, Jewish Intermarriage around the World, Observing the Observer, and One Hundred Years of Kibbutz Life.

Lisa Rivo
Festival Co-Director

Lisa Rivo is Co-Director of The National Center for Jewish Film. Founded in 1976, NCJF owns the world’s largest archive of Jewish-content film, outside of Israel. The Center, which rescues, restores and makes available rare archival films, also distributes the work of 100 contemporary filmmakers, and responds to 7000 program inquiries each year. Ms. Rivo oversees the Center’s programmatic, distribution, curatorial and exhibition activities. Ms. Rivo has co-directed and co-curated 12 annual Boston-area film festivals and has curated many other series worldwide. Ms. Rivo consults regularly with filmmakers and has sat on several film festival juries. She has a degree in Art History from Vassar College and focused on American visual culture and film at Emory University’s Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts PhD program. Ms. Rivo worked in the film program of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and as Director of Public Information at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston. Prior to joining NCJF in 2006, she was at Harvard University as Associate Director & Senior Writer of the African American National Biography, an encyclopedia edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Sharon Pucker Rivo
Festival Co-Director

Sharon Pucker Rivo, 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 three decades through her work as a curator, programmer, archivist, film distributor, film and television producer, and academic. In the mid-1970s she and co-founder Miriam Krant rescued a languishing collection of Yiddish-language feature films. Today, NCJF is the largest archive of Jewish film outside of Israel, and the largest film distributor of restored classic and new independent Jewish-content films. Ms. Rivo 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 worked with hundreds of filmmakers around the world as a consultant and has appeared as an expert in many documentaries and television programs. She has curated film programs for venues from Boston to Beijing, including co-curating the first ever retrospective of Yiddish cinema, held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Ms. Rivo has been a member of 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 as an authority on Jewish and Yiddish film, film archiving and restoration, and Jewish programming and distribution, she lectures and has served on numerous film festival juries.

Ilan Troen
May 4 Ben-Gurion, Epilogue

Ilan Troen is the Stoll Family Chair in Israel Studies at Brandeis University and Founding Director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies. He currently serves as president of the Association of Israel Studies. He has served as dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at Ben-Gurion University in Israel and as director of the Ben-Gurion Research Institute and Archives in Sede Boker. He has authored or edited numerous books in American, Jewish and Israeli history. He is also the founding editor of Israel Studies (Indiana University Press), the leading journal in this new field, and he has co-edited the Schusterman Series in Israel Studies (2007-2016). He is currently chair of the Center's publication committee that has launched a new series in Israel Studies in conjunction with Ben-Gurion University and published through Indiana University Press.

Elizabeth von Wagner
May 4 To Be or Not to Be

Elizabeth von Wagner is the Cultural and Press Affairs Officer at the German Consulate in Boston. She grew up in the Boston area but spent most of her adult life living abroad in France, the Republic of Georgia, Hungary, Kuwait and Germany. Before returning to the Boston area in 2015, she was the Press and Public Relations Officer at the German Mission to the United Nations in New York City. She is a resident of Brookline, MA and is the mother of 4 children.

Yehuda Yaakov
May 4 Ben-Gurion, Epilogue

Yehuda Yaakov, Consul General of Israel to New England since February 2014, has focused largely on strengthening business, academic and social justice partnerships between Israel and New England. Consul General Yaakov has spent most of his diplomatic career on issues pertinent to Israel’s security. This experience has included heading the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s department for non-conventional weapons prevention (2004-2007), as well as establishing and running the homeland security and counter-terrorism unit (2001-2004). In 2012, he received the Ministry's award for excellence for his work on the Iranian crisis. He has also served outside Israel in New York and New Zealand. Yaakov grew up in Queens, NY, and moved to Israeli in 1983, after earning a BA from Syracuse University.

Matan Zamir, Israel’s Deputy Consul General to New England, has been a member of Israel’s Foreign Service since 2011, previously serving as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Israeli Consulate in Mumbai. He served in the IDF from 1999-2003 and was released as a lieutenant. During his service he trained over 1,000 cadets, and in 2003, he received the President’s medal of excellence. Before joining the Foreign Service, Zamir was an International Business Manager at Bezeq International and the Director of the Training Department of the Israeli Supreme Court. He received his law degree from Hebrew University. Zamir grew up in Jerusalem where his family has lived for nine generations.

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