Ira Antelis has been writing and producing music for commercials, records, theater, movies, dance, and television for over 40 years. Artists such as Marc Anthony, Patti La Belle, Christina Aguilera, B.B.King, Shawn Colvin, Regina Belle, have recorded or performed music he has composed. He has also composed jingles for most major brands including theme songs for McDonalds, Disney, and the well known “Be Like Mike” for Gatorade. He produced many tribute albums on the House Of Blues Label working with a variety of major artists such as Etta James, Taj Mahjal, Joe Walsh, Charlie Musselwhite, The Charlie Daniels Band, Lou Gramm, & Honeyboy Edwards, while doing so. During the early 2000s Ira was executive producer with Terrell Harris of a music television show titled “Raw TV” which ran in the Midwest on Fox. Many major music celebrities appeared. Hubbard Street Dance Chicago just premiered his piece “Love Infinite” choreographed by his longtime collaborator Randy Duncan. He also spent 10 years as music director for the famed advertising agency Leo Burnett.
Recently, Ira created “We Have Loved” which is an online memorial to honor those lives lost during covid. When the war in Ukraine broke out Ira wrote “We Sing For Ukraine” to help raise awareness and money and traveled around the country recording the song he composed with singers from Chicago, New York, L.A., Nashville and Houston. Many artists submitted their own version to help keep up the awareness and raise money. Ben Vereen has also been integral to this campaign.
When Elie Wiesel passed away Ira became aware of the music written in the ghettos and concentration camps. He decided this music needed to be heard, performed and the songwriters honored as most of them were murdered. Carnegie Hall marks the continued performances of these songs with more cities planned. “This project and these songs have become the most important endeavor of my life”. To have these songs performed with this amazing ensemble of artists is the most meaningful project I’ve ever been a part of.
Rabbi Charles E. Savenor
Rabbi Charles E. Savenor serves as the Executive Director of Civic Spirit. Founded in 2017, Civic Spirit provides training and support to Jewish, Catholic, Christian, and Islamic day schools in civic education. The mission of the organization is to educate, inspire, and empower faculty and students towards civic belonging, knowledge, and responsibility.
He recently finished eight years as the Director of Congregational Education at Park Avenue Synagogue (PAS) in New York. Rabbi Savenor came to PAS from the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ), where he served as the Director of Leadership and Organizational Development (2008-2014). Previous positions included the Associate Dean and Director of Admissions at the Jewish Theological Seminary (2001-2008) and Associate Rabbi at Anshe Emet Synagogue in Chicago (1996-2001).
Rabbi Savenor graduated from Brandeis University with a B.A., summa cum laude, in History as well as Near Eastern and Judaic Studies (1991), having spent his junior year studying at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He was ordained at JTS in 1996 with a concentration in Education. In 2008 he earned a Masters of Education at Columbia University, Teachers College. He participated in the 2019-2020 cohort of the LEAP Fellowship created by Clal and the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He received an honorary doctorate from JTS in 2022.
He currently sits on the international boards of Leket Israel (the National Food Bank of Israel), Gesher and the Brandeis University’s Alumni Admissions Council. He previously served as the Education Chair of the Rabbinical Assembly.
Rabbi Savenor’s articles on parenting, leadership and Judaism in the 21st century have appeared in The Jerusalem Post, The Jewish Week, The New York Observer, Kveller, Hadassah Magazine, and The Boston Jewish Advocate. He blogs for The Times of Israel. He is currently writing a book called What My Father Couldn’t Tell Me.
Charlie and his wife, Julie Walpert, are the parents of two sons, Joseph and Benjamin. Raving fans of the Red Sox, Celtics, and Patriots, they make their home in New York City.
Dr. Erica Brown
Dr. Erica Brown is the Vice Provost for Values and Leadership at Yeshiva University and the founding director of its Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks-Herenstein Center for Values and Leadership. She previously served as the director of the Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership and an associate professor of curriculum and pedagogy at The George Washington University. Erica is the author or co-author of 15 books on leadership, the Hebrew Bible and spirituality. Erica has a daily podcast, “Take Your Soul to Work.” Her forthcoming book Kohelet and the Search for Meaning (Maggid) will be available in 2023. Her last book Esther: Power, Fate and Fragility in Exile (Maggid) was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award.
Erica has been published in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Tablet, First Things, and The Jewish Review of Books and wrote a monthly column for the New York Jewish Week. She has blogged for Psychology Today, Newsweek/Washington Post’s “On Faith” and JTA and tweeted on one page of Talmud study a day at DrEricaBrown. She has master’s degrees from the Institute of Education (University of London), Jews’ College (University of London) and Harvard University and a Ph.D. from Baltimore Hebrew University. Erica was a Jerusalem Fellow, is a faculty member of the Wexner Foundation, an Avi Chai Fellow and
the recipient of the 2009 Covenant Award for her work in education. She was the scholar-in-residence at both The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston and as the community scholar for the Jewish Center of New York. She currently serves as a community scholar for Congregation Etz Chaim in Livingston, NJ.
Erica is also the author of Dreaming Bigger: A Leadership Guide for Jewish Teens (Behrman House) out this October. She is a contributing editor to Faith-Honoring: A Spiritual Pedagogy (Academic Studies Press). She wrote Jonah: The Reluctant Prophet, Take Your Soul to Work: 365 Meditations on Every Day Leadership and Happier Endings: A Meditation on Life and Death (Simon and Schuster), which won both the Wilbur and Nautilus awards for spiritual writing. Her previous books include Inspired Jewish Leadership, a National
Jewish Book Award finalist, Spiritual Boredom, Confronting Scandal and co- authored The Case for Jewish Peoplehood (All Jewish Lights). She also wrote Seder Talk: A Conversational Haggada, Leadership in the Wilderness, In the Narrow Places and Return: Daily Inspiration for the Days of Awe (All OU/Koren).
Erica has interviewed Isaac Herzog, the President of Israel, Madeleine Albright, David Brooks, Jeffrey Goldberg, Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, David Gregory, Dennis Ross, David Makovsky, Sarah Hurwitz, Ruth Messinger, and Dara Horn, among others.
Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson
Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson holds the Peter and Mary Kalikow Senior Rabbinic Chair of Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York. From 2002 through 2013 he served as
senior rabbi of Temple Beth El of Northern Westchester in Chappaqua, New York, and from 1997 to 2002 as assistant and associate rabbi of Central Synagogue in New York City, advising that synagogue’s award-winning Social Action Committee.
A graduate of Princeton University and ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Rabbi Davidson’s work has included anti-death penalty advocacy, LGBTQ inclusion and interfaith dialogue. In 2009, he was honored for his interfaith efforts by the Westchester Jewish Council and the American Jewish Committee, on whose New York Board he sits. Currently Rabbi Davidson chairs A Partnership of Faith in New York City. He is a member of the Hebrew Union College Board of Governors, HUC’s President’s Rabbinic Council, the Clergy Advisory Board of Interfaith Impact of New York State, the Board of UJA-Federation of New York, and the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council. He is a past president of both the Westchester Board of Rabbis and the Chappaqua Interfaith Council. From 2001 to 2006, he served as chair of the Central Conference of American Rabbis’ Committee on Justice, Peace and Religious Liberties and vice-chair of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism. He also chaired the Commission’s task force on Israel and world affairs. He is a past board member of Rabbis for Human Rights-North America. Rabbi Davidson was honored with a Corkin Family Fellowship at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and Clal-The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. His articles have appeared in The Jewish Week, Commentary Magazine, The New York Times, The New York Post and The Huffington Post; and he is a contributing writer in Rabbi Lawrence Hoffman’s Prayers of Awe series. Over the last decade, Rabbi Davidson has guided Congregation Emanu-El through a revisioning to meet the needs of the 21st century.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan
Timothy Dolan is the oldest of five children born to Robert and Shirley Dolan in St. Louis in 1950. His education was at Holy Infant Grade School in Ballwin, Missouri; high school and college at the seminaries of the Archdiocese of St. Louis; theology at the North American College in Rome; and doctoral studies in Church history at The Catholic University of America.
Ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Louis in 1976, he served as parish priest for eight years, as secretary to the Apostolic Nuncio in DC, as a professor at Kenrick Seminary and St. Louis University, and as rector of the North American College in Rome.
In 2001, he was appointed auxiliary bishop of his home diocese by Pope St. John Paul II, who, a year later, made him archbishop of Milwaukee. Pope Benedict XVI transferred him to the Archdiocese of New York in 2009, and named him a Cardinal in 2012.
He has served as President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Relief Services, and the co-chair of the National Jewish-Catholic Dialogue. It was his honor as well to enter the conclave which elected Pope Francis in 2013.
Eric Goldstein has served as the Chief Executive Officer of UJA-Federation of New York since July 2014.
UJA-Federation of New York is the largest local Jewish philanthropy in the United States. It allocates approximately $180 million annually in grants to a large network of nonprofits caring for New Yorkers of all backgrounds; strengthening Jewish community in New York and around the world; supporting a secure, diverse, and vibrant State of Israel; and responding to crises near and far.
Prior to working at UJA, Eric was a litigation partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, where he practiced for over 30 years. During his law career, Eric served in many volunteer leadership positions throughout New York, including as vice chair of UJA’s board, President and Chair of Manhattan Day School, and as a board member of the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG), DOROT, the Ramaz School, and the Jewish Agency for Israel.
JACK KLIGER, President & CEO of the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, was born in Florence, Italy to Polish and Hungarian Holocaust survivors before emigrating with his family to Brooklyn as a young child. He has had an accomplished career in media, beginning in the 1980s as Publisher of GQ Magazine and then Glamour magazine, followed by his roles as Executive Vice President of Condé Nast Publications and Parade Publications. In 1999, he began a decade-long tenure as President & CEO of Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S., publishing 17 magazine brands in the United States that included the popular Elle, George, Woman’s Day, and Car and Driver. Kliger has served as Chairman of the industry trade association Magazine Publishers of America and as CEO of TV Guide Magazine, and has been recognized with Lifetime Achievement Awards from Magazine Publishers of America and the Anti-Defamation League. Kliger was named President & CEO of the Museum of Jewish Heritage in 2019 after 13 years of service on its Board of Trustees and oversaw the opening of its groundbreaking exhibitions, Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away and The Holocaust: What Hate Can Do.
Abigail Pogrebin is the author of “Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk about Being Jewish,” and “My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew,” which was a finalist for a National Jewish Book Award. A former Emmy-nominated producer for “60 Minutes,” she has written for The Atlantic, Newsweek, Tablet and the Forward and she was a co-host — with Rabbi Dov Linzer— for the Tablet podcast, “Parsha in Progress.” Abby moderates public conversations for the Streicker Center, Shalom Hartman Institute, and the JCC in Manhattan. She is a past President of Central Synagogue in New York.
Rabbi Joseph Potasnik
Rabbi Potasnik is the Executive Vice President of The New York Board of Rabbis, the largest interdenominational rabbinic body in the world. Since 1972, he has been the spiritual and educational leader of Congregation Mount Sinai in Brooklyn Heights, New York, and is presently Rabbi Emeritus. He has served as Chaplain of the New York City Fire Department since 1999. Rabbi Potasnik maintained a high profile, helping many families cope with the disaster of September 11th, 2001. Rabbi Potasnik co-hosts The Rev and The Rabbi on WABC Talk Radio 77 in New York together with Rev. AR Bernard, since 2018. He is the host of the TV program Faith to Faith on Jewish Broadcasting Service (“JBS”), which is seen around the country and invites people of all faiths to participate in meaningful conversation. He is an Honorary President of Religions for Peace International.
Scott Richman serves as the Director for ADL’s largest regional office covering New York and New Jersey. He oversees the work of the region, which includes incident response, anti-bias education, legislative initiatives, educational programs,fundraising and leadership development – all designed to fight antisemitism and combat hate in all its forms. This is reflected in his weekly national podcast called “From the Frontlines.” He is an experienced advocate dedicated to developing community partnerships and initiatives that provide justice, equality and fair treatment for all.
Richman comes to ADL from the American Jewish Committee (AJC) where he served as Regional Director for Westchester (NY) and Fairfield (CT) Counties. In that role, he was responsible for directing the day-to-day operations of this top regional office dedicated to advocacy on key issues impacting the American Jewish community. He came to AJC as an experienced Jewish professional, having served for 10 years at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) aiding the rebirth of Jewish life in the Former Soviet Union, and three years as the founding Director of Dor Chadash, a non-profit startup which engaged young professionals in the New York area.
Richman was a practicing attorney and investment banker before becoming a Jewish professional. He worked at a firm specializing in international law and in public finance at Merrill Lynch. He received his undergraduate degree in finance from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and he earned his law degree from Brooklyn Law School. Scott subsequently completed an executive certificate program at Columbia University’s Business School in nonprofit management.
Scott is married with two grown children and lives in Westchester County.
Menachem Rosensaft, the son of two survivors of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen who was born in the Displaced Persons camp of Bergen-Belsen, is the associate executive vice president and general counsel of the World Jewish Congress. He teaches about the law of genocide at the law schools of Columbia and Cornell Universities. He is the author of a volume of poetry, Poems Born in Bergen-Belsen, published in 2021, and the editor of God, Faith & Identity from the Ashes, Reflections of Children and Grandchildren of Holocaust Survivors, published in 2015. He is also the founding chairman of the International Network of Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and a past president of Park Avenue Synagogue in New York City. He served as a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council from 1994 to 2004 (appointed by President Bill Clinton), and from 2010 to 2020 (appointed by President Barack Obama).
Greg Schneider was appointed Executive Vice President of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) in 2009. A passionate advocate for Holocaust survivors, he joined the Claims Conference in 1995 as an assistant to the then Executive Vice President.
Since 2011, he has facilitated the preparation for ongoing negotiations with the German government that have resulted in funding for compensation programs and home care for poor and disabled Holocaust survivors. For 2032, the Claims Conference will distribute over $1.3 billion to Holocaust survivors worldwide.The increase in allocations has enabled pioneering care for Nazi victims as they age and require more assistance. The Claims Conference provides grants to over 300 social service agencies worldwide that provide vital services for vulnerable Holocaust survivors, such as home care, food and medicine. Mr. Schneider also guided the creation of many additional programs to compensate victims such as the victims of Nazi medical experiments, former refugees to Switzerland, survivors of the Nazi occupation of Budapest, first-ever one-time payments to Nazi victims in the former Soviet Union, child survivors, and Kindertransport survivors. He has overseen negotiations with the German government that have substantially liberalized eligibility criteria for direct compensation programs, fundamentally altering their contours and enabling tens of thousands of additional victims to receive payments.In addition, under his leadership, the Claims Conference is a leader in funding Holocaust education from teacher training programs to archival preservation and accessibility to Holocaust film.
Emmet Smith (writer, co-producer of “We Are Here”) is a songwriter, actor, and climate activist from New York City. Since graduating from Northwestern University last year he has been acting on television (CBS, NBC) and in productions regionally (Marriott Theatre, Pioneer Theatre Company). As an award winning composer / lyricist (Write Out Loud, NMI’s Search for New Musicals) Emmet has recently had musicals produced Off-Broadway and regionally. It has been a deep honor to work on “We Are Here” for the past year, working with this remarkable team to give voice to the voiceless in a timely warning for today’s world.
Rabbi Gordon Tucker
As vice chancellor for Religious Life and Engagement, Rabbi Gordon Tucker focuses on enhancing Jewish life at JTS, enriching our study of Judaism with the joy and deep understanding that only lived experience can provide. A leading scholar and interpreter of Conservative Judaism, he also articulates the enduring power of JTS’s compelling approach to Jewish law and Jewish life, while strengthening JTS’s religious leadership through partnerships with organizations in the Conservative Movement and beyond.
Rabbi Tucker’s current role brings him back to JTS, where he served as dean of The Rabbinical School from 1984 to 1992 and as assistant professor of Jewish Thought from 1979 to 1994. He was ordained at JTS in 1975 after receiving his A.B. at Harvard College. He also earned a PhD in Philosophy from Princeton University.
Rabbi Tucker served from 1994 to 2018 as senior rabbi of one of North America’s foremost Conservative congregations, Temple Israel Center in White Plains, NY. Under his leadership, the synagogue flourished and was characterized by vibrant communal life and an exceptional devotion to Jewish learning. While at Temple Israel Center, Rabbi Tucker mentored numerous JTS Rabbinical School students who worked at the synagogue as part of the prestigious Gladstein Fellowship in Entrepreneurial Rabbinic Leadership. He served, as well, as an adjunct JTS faculty member, teaching courses in Jewish thought and ethics, the history and philosophy of Conservative Judaism, and leadership skills for rabbis.
Today Rabbi Tucker is Temple Israel Center’s senior rabbi emeritus and a senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. He previously served as board chair of the Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel and was a member of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly.
In 1979-80, he was a White House Fellow, and served as assistant and chief speechwriter to U.S. Attorney General Benjamin R. Civiletti. He is the author of scores of articles on Jewish theology and law, and published Heavenly Torah, a translation of and commentary on Abraham Joshua Heschel’s three-volume work on rabbinic theology. An anthology of his writings was published in 2014, under the title Torah for its Intended Purpose. Most recently, his new commentary on Pirkei Avot was published by the Rabbinical Assembly in 2018.
ALIX WALL is writer and producer of The Lonely Child, a documentary in progress about a song written in the Vilna Ghetto about her mother and grandmother. The film explores how the song has taken on a life of its own, and has impacted the lives of others who come across it. She is an award-winning journalist who lives in Oakland, California on Ohlone land. She is a regular contributor to the popular Vows column in The New York Times, and the Mazels column of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, and other publications. She is a contributing editor to J., The Jewish News of Northern California, for which she writes about food, and other features. Alix is the founder of The Illuminoshi: The Not-So-Secret Society of Bay Area Jewish Food Professionals, and is part of the Next Generations Speaker’s Bureau of the Holocaust Center of Northern California, for which she has shared her family’s story with students.
Bret Werb has served as the Musicologist & Recorded Sound Curator at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum since 1993, helping to build an archive and reference service used by researchers worldwide. He has programmed the Museum’s chamber music events, curated its online exhibition Music of the Holocaust, and produced and annotated four CDs of ghetto, camp and resistance songs. A contributor to The New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians, The Oxford Handbook of Holocaust Studies, Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, Musica Judaica, and other scholarly books and periodicals, Werb holds a PhD in Ethnomusicology from UCLA, has lectured widely, and collaborated on numerous theater, film, recording, and concert projects.