The Center for Jewish History has appointed Professor Gavriel Rosenfeld as its new President and Rio Daniel as its new CEO.
The new President, Prof. Gavriel Rosenfeld, is a prolific writer for academic and public audiences and is skilled in bringing scholarly insight to bear on topics of present-day importance, from the politics of Holocaust memory in the United States to the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine. He is a Professor of History and Director of the Judaic Studies Program at Fairfield University, having earned his B.A. in History and Judaic Studies from Brown University and his Ph.D. from UCLA. A specialist in the history of Nazi Germany, Holocaust studies, memory studies, and counterfactual history, Prof. Rosenfeld is the author or editor of eight books, including The Fourth Reich: The Specter of Nazism since World War II (Cambridge University Press, 2019) and Building After Auschwitz: Jewish Architecture and the Memory of the Holocaust (Yale University Press, 2011), which was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award in the category of visual arts.
As President of the Center for Jewish History, Prof. Rosenfeld will be the Center’s voice on issues of Jewish historical relevance in the contemporary world. “I am very excited to help the Center for Jewish History move forward on its ambitious agenda,” Rosenfeld commented. “By supporting high-level Jewish historical research and organizing public events on topics of current interest, I hope to enhance the Center’s stellar reputation as one of the country's preeminent Jewish academic and cultural institutions.”
Incoming CEO Rio Daniel will handle executive functions. Ms. Daniel has been a key part of the Center’s leadership team since she joined the organization as Chief Financial Officer in February 2019. Since January 2021 she has also served as Chief Operating Officer.
In these roles, she has provided critical leadership and day-to-day direction over operations that allowed the Center to navigate the challenges of the pandemic. Her accomplishments include managing finances during this unprecedented time and reopening the facility to the public with an updated auditorium, enhanced hybrid and virtual programming, and greater accessibility. A licensed CPA, Ms. Daniel holds a degree from the University of Cambridge and has 19 years of experience in finance and nonprofits, including positions at PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Guggenheim Museum, and AHRC NYC.
“The Center is an extraordinary institution,” said Ms. Daniel, “It’s a global hub for Jewish history and culture that welcomes everyone to research, learn, discuss, and discover together. The expertise and holdings of the five Partner organizations are simply unparalleled, and I am proud to be able to assist them through the services of the Center. The stakes feel higher than ever to preserve and share the stories in those collections. It’s a great honor to take on this new role, and I’m very excited to work with Gavriel, our Board, our Partner organizations, and our fantastic staff as we move the Center’s mission forward.”
The leadership change comes shortly after President and CEO Bernard Michael stepped down to pursue other opportunities. He led the organization since 2018. With Mr. Michael’s departure, the Center’s Board determined that it will be of most benefit to the organization going forward to split the previously combined roles of President and CEO.