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.


  • 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.