Hillel Smith is an artist and designer focused on re-imagining the potential of Judaica by utilizing contemporary media to create new manifestations of traditional forms. He has painted dynamic Jewish murals across the globe and revitalizes ancient rituals with online projects. Making fun and engaging content is similarly the crux of his work as a designer for clients including HIAS, PJ Library, and Patton Oswalt. hillelsmith.info
Yochai Maital is co-founder and senior producer of the Israel Story podcast and radio show. His work is on the seam of journalism and art and Yochai spends his days combing Israel and the world for stories and then endlessly fretting over how best to tell them. https://israelstory.org/
Albert S Maimon
Al Maimon was born and raised in Seattle, into the Sephardic community. His Jewish education, formal and informal, encompasses many aspects of Jewish history, traditions, and culture, emphasizing the Sephardic experience. He is an active participant in Jewish communal life in Seattle, New York, Israel, and elsewhere, and is dedicated to learning, in every way. He has been married to Jean for 54 years, and their children and grandchildren live in Seattle and Israel.
Dr. Sara Yael Hirschhorn is the Visiting Assistant Professor in Israel Studies at Northwestern University. Her expertise focuses on Diaspora-Israel relations. Her first book, City on a Hilltop: American Jews and the Israeli Settler Movement (Harvard, 2017) was the winner of the 2018 Sami Rohr Prize in Jewish Literature Choice Award and a finalist for the 2018 National Jewish Book Award. She is currently writing a new book on Zionism and Identity Politics since 1967. Dr. Hirschhorn is also frequent public speaker, writer, media commentator, policy consultant on Israel/Jewish Affairs.
Beth is the Director of Project Kavod/Dignity, the Jewish Education program at Jewish Family Service. Beth grew up in Spokane and moved to Seattle in 1984. She has enjoyed teaching Judaica to children and adults of all ages in both formal and informal settings for over 35 years. She is the recipient of a 2010 National Covenant Award for Excellence in Jewish Education.
Ilana Kaufman is the Executive Director of the Jews of Color Field Building Initiative as well as a Senior Schusterman Fellow. Ilana's work has been featured in the books Black Power Jewish Politics, and Moral Resistance and Spiritual Authority. Ilana has also published articles in The Times of Israel, The Forward, eJewish Philanthropy and The Foundation Review. A nationally regarded thought leader on the importance of grappling at the intersection of Jewish communities, Jewish identity and racial justice, Ilana has been featured on NPR's All Things Considered and Code Switch, and in the series “ELI Talks: Inspired Jewish Ideas”.
Natan M. Meir
Natan M. Meir is the Lorry I. Lokey Professor of Judaic Studies in the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies at Portland State University. The author of Kiev, Jewish Metropolis: A History, 1859-1914 (2010) and Stepchildren of the Shtetl: The Destitute, Disabled, and Mad of Jewish Eastern Europe, 1800-1939 (forthcoming 2020), he also serves as a museum consultant and leads study tours of Eastern Europe with Ayelet Tours.
Rabbi Simon Benzaquen
Rabbi Simon Benzaquen is an accomplished Dayan, Rabbi, Mohel, Sofer S’T’a’M, Shochet, Chazan, Poet, and Artist. Known as the Rabbi and the Rapper, and lead singer and author of the Album “Los Serenos Sefarad." Rabbi Benzaquen has served as a Rabbi at Sephardic Bikur Holim and is currently serving as Rabbi at Congregation’s Ezra Bessaroth rabbi.
Esther D. Kustanowitz
Esther D. Kustanowitz is a writer, editor and consultant. She is a contributing writer at the Los Angeles Jewish Journal and a columnist at J. The Jewish Weekly of Northern California. Esther was founding editor and contributor at GrokNation.com, has written for Modern Loss, Haaretz, JTA, The Jewish Week, The Forward and eJewishPhilanthropy, and has worked with dozens of Jewish organizations. In August 2019, she co-authored "The Week That All Jewish Women Turned Invisible," a piece about gender equity in Jewish professional spaces that was signed by more than 550 Jewish women. As an early adopter of social media, Esther is endlessly fascinated with how the evolution of media affects human connection, as how we receive, consume and share content changes. She is working on a book project about life after loss, and is a casual scholar of #TVgoneJewy, a term she coined to describe the increasing frequency of Jewish references and storylines on TV.
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