Experts

The Center for Jewish History's staff, scholars, and partners are available to speak on a variety of subjects and current events. Meet them here.

Members of the media interested in interviewing one of the Center’s experts can contact David P Rosenberg, M.P.A., Senior Manager for Communications 212 294 8301 extension 1096 or email drosenberg@cjh.org


  • Jonathan Brent
    Executive Director and CEO, YIVO Institute for Jewish Research
    Expertise: Soviet History, Jewish Avant-Garde (1880 – 1930), Isaac Babel, Publishing, East European literature (1880s – World War II)

    Jonathan Brent, Ph.D., is the Executive Director and CEO of The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. In addition to his role at YIVO, Dr. Brent is an Alger Hiss Visiting Professor at Bard College, where he teaches Soviet History and literature. He lectures internationally on topics related to East European and Jewish history and literature.

    Before joining YIVO, Dr. Brent was the Editorial Director of Yale University Press for nearly 20 years, during which time he established “The Annals of Communism”series. He was the Director of Northwestern University Press for ten years.

    Dr. Brent is a frequent media commentator on outlets from The New York Times, to NPR to the History Channel. He has written and reviewed books for various magazines, including The New Republic, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Jewish Ideas Daily, Tablet, The New Criterion and Commentary. He has also produced a BBC production on the life of Joseph Stalin, as well as a French production of history of “The Doctors’ Plot.”

    Dr. Brent is active as a writer and editor of fiction and non-fiction, including “Inside The Stalin Archives: Discovering the New Russia” (Atlas & Co., 2008) and “Stalin’s Last Crime” (HarperCollins, 2003), which was selected as one of the best Books of the Year by the Financial Times of London. Dr. Brent is currently writing a novel titled “The Autobiography of My Brother,” and his nonfiction “Isaac Babel” is forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press. His biographical study of the Soviet-Jewish writer Isaac Babel. Dr. Brent established the YIVO Vilna Collections Project, in 2013, the largest preservation and digitization project in YIVO’s history.

    Dr. Brent received his B.A. from Columbia University, and attended the University of Chicago, where he earned his Master’s in English Literature and his Ph.D.


  • Joel J. Levy
    President and CEO, Center for Jewish History
    Expertise: Diplomacy, Jewish History, International Justice, Anti-Semitism, Civil Rights, Germany

    Joel J. Levy is the president and chief executive officer of the Center for Jewish History. He joined the Center in 2014 and in his role, he leads the organization and works closely with the five partner organizations to advance their initiatives to illuminate history for today’s experience. He also heads the Center’s development and organizational initiatives and oversees scholarship, public engagement, and cultural programming projects.

    Before joining the Center, Levy was the director of development at the Vera Institute of Justice from 2009 – 2014, where he led fundraising and development efforts in support of the organization’s mission to make justice systems fairer, and more effective. Prior to that, he was the New York regional director for the Anti-Defamation League from 2001-2009. He led the New York state’s efforts to protect civil rights for all. And, after being stationed in Berlin with the United States Foreign Service Levy was appointed as the founding chairman for Germany of The Ronald S. Lauder Foundation. He was simultaneously co-managing director of the SHOAH Visual History Foundation.

    Levy received multiple honor awards for his distinguished Foreign Service career, including the Foreign Service Superior Honor Award. In addition to his Germany appointment, he also served in Malta, Tanzania, and Romania. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in South Korea, and published two education books while stationed there. Levy is on the board of Youth Bridge New York, and is a member of the American Foreign Service Association. He is a founding member of the RIAS Berlin Commission and the Friends of America House, Berlin. He was also the founding president of the Foreign Service Youth Foundation.

    Levy received his bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Franklin and Marshall College, and received his master’s degree in anthropology from Columbia University. He is fluent in Hebrew and German.

    Links to past interviews:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7ImFredmAA
    http://blip.tv/jbs/new-york-sephardic-jewish-film-festival-7192919 (27:26 mark)


  • David N. Myers
    President and CEO Elect, Center for Jewish History
    Expertise: Modern Jewish history, Jewish intellectual history and thought, history of Zionism and Israel, contemporary Hasidic life

    David N. Myers is the President and CEO elect of the Center for Jewish History in New York City. He is also the Sady and Ludwig Kahn Professor of Jewish History at UCLA. An alumnus of Yale College (1982), Myers undertook graduate studies at Tel-Aviv and Harvard Universities before receiving his Ph.D with distinction in 1991 in Jewish history from Columbia University. He has written widely in the fields of Jewish intellectual and cultural history. His books include Re-inventing the Jewish Past (Oxford, 1995), Resisting History: The Crisis of Historicism in German-Jewish Thought (Princeton, 2003), Between Jew and Arab: The Lost Voice of Simon Rawidowicz (Brandeis, 2008), and Jewish History: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2017). Myers has also edited or co-edited eight books, most recently with Alexander Kaye The Faith of Fallen Jews: Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi and the Writing of Jewish History (Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 2014). He is the author of the forthcoming The Stakes of Jewish History: On the Use and Abuse of Jewish History for Life (Yale, 2017). He is also completing a monograph, with Nomi Stolzenberg, on the Satmar Hasidic community of Kiryas Joel, New York.

    Myers is serving during the 2017-18 year as the inaugural director of the UCLA Luskin Center for History and Policy. He served from 2010-15 as the Robert N. Burr Chair of the History Department. Prior to that, he served as Vice Chair for Academic Personnel in the History Department (2002-04). For ten years, Myers served as Director of the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies (1996-2000, 2004-09, 2010-11). Myers has taught at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris) and Russian State University for the Humanities (Moscow). He has received fellowships from the Leo Baeck Institute, Fulbright Foundation, Lady David Trust, and the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture. Myers has been a fellow at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania on three occasions (1995, 2009-10, 2016); he has also visited at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Jerusalem in 1997. Myers has served as a member of the board of the Association for Jewish Studies, as well as a teacher for the Wexner Heritage Foundation. He is also a member of the board of the New Israel Fund. He writes frequently on matters of contemporary Jewish concern. Since 2002, Myers has served as co-editor of the Jewish Quarterly Review. He is an elected Fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research, as well as a Fellow of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities.


  • William H. Weitzer
    Executive Director, Leo Baeck Institute
    Expertise: German-Jewish History, Contemporary Issues in Germany, Academic Affairs

    William H. Weitzer, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of the Leo Baeck Institute (LBI), a research library and archive with documents dating back over 500 years that preserves and promotes the history and culture of German-speaking Jewry. Dr. Weitzer, who great-grandparents came from Germany and Austria, manages all aspects of LBI, including administration, fundraising, programming, and LBI operations in Germany.

    Dr. Weitzer has over 30 years of experience in academic affairs, budget and finance, fundraising, community relations and program evaluation. Prior to LBI, he was the Executive Vice President at Fairfield University in Connecticut. He previously served as Senior Associate Provost at Wesleyan University, where he directed the academic plan for curricular renewal, supervised continuing studies options and developed new computer systems for course registration and electronic portfolios. He began his career as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. There, he directed survey research on students, oversaw program evaluation, and applied the results of research and evaluation to decision-making

    Dr. Weitzer currently serves on the board of the American Friends of the Jordan River Village, and has previously served on the Hillel Board for at the University of Massachusetts, and was a founding board member of the Jewish High School of Connecticut.

    Dr. Weitzer earned his B.A. at the University of Michigan. He has a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Environmental Psychology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.