Special Guests

Thomas Doherty
May 15
By Sidney Lumet

Thomas Doherty, professor of American studies at Brandeis University since 1990, is a cultural historian with a special interest in Hollywood cinema who has also taught and lectured overseas as a Fulbright scholar. In 2005, he received recognition as an Academy Film Scholar from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Doherty is the author of several highly regarded books, including Teenagers and Teenpics: The Juvenilization of American Movies in the 1950s;Projections of War: Hollywood, American Culture and World War II; Pre-Code Hollywood: Sex, Immorality and Insurrection in American Cinema, 1930-1934; Cold War, Cool Medium: Television, McCarthyism and American Culture; and Hollywood's Censor: Joseph I. Breen and the Production Code Administration. His most recent book is, from Columbia University Press. In October 2013, NCJF mounted a special event in honor of the publication of Doherty's most recent book, Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-1939 (2013).

Lisa Fishbayn
May 18 The Law

Lisa Fishbayn directs the Project on Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute of Brandeis University. She is an expert on women’s rights under Jewish family law and African customary law and on the intersection between secular and religious law. She is co- of the anthologies Gender, Religion and Family Law: Theorizing Conflicts Between Women’s Rights and Cultural Traditions, The Polygamy Question, Women’s Rights and Religious Law, and a special issue of Nashim on New Historical and Legal Perspectives on Jewish Divorce. She is editor of the Brandeis University Press Series on Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law and is co-founder of the Boston Agunah Taskforce.

Ari Ofengenden
May 19
Arabic Movie

Profesor Ofengenden is Director of the Hebrew Language and Literature Program of the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. He is the author of the books The Passion for Absence in Abraham Shlonsky and Shlonsky an Introduction to his Poetry and articles on Hebrew poetry, contemporary Israeli culture, literary theory, and Jewish literature. Before joining the Brandeis faculty Professor Ofengenden taught at University of Tübingen Germany, Oberlin College and George Washington University.

Richard Peña
May 9
Rabin, The Last Day

Richard Peña is a Professor of Film Studies at Columbia University, where he specializes in international cinema and film theory. From 1988-2012, he was the Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Director of the New York Film Festival, where he organized many dozens of retrospectives and film series devoted to African, Chinese, Taiwanese, Cuban, Polish, Hungarian, Arab, Korean, Soviet, Turkish and Argentine cinema. He created with the Spanish Ministry of Culture the annual "Spanish Cinema Now" series at Lincoln Center, and "Rendez-vous with French Cinema." A frequent lecturer internationally, he is also currently the host of WNET/Channel 13's weekly Reel 13.

Antony Polonsky

Antony Polonsky is emeritus Professor of Holocaust Studies at Brandeis University and Chief Historian of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Warsaw. He is chair of the editorial board of Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry. His most recent work is The Jews in Poland and Russia (3 volumes, Oxford, 2010. 2012), published in 2013 in an abridged version as The Jews in Poland and Russia. A Short History. The three volume history was awarded the Pro Historia Polonorum prize in 2012 for the best book in a foreign language on the history of Poland. In 2010 he was awarded an honorary doctorate at Warsaw University and in 2014 by the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. In 2011 he was awarded the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of Polonia Restituta and the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of Independent Lithuania.

Benjamin C.I. Ravid, Jennie and Mayer Weisman Professor Emeritus of Jewish History at Brandeis University, specializes in the Jews of early modern Europe. His research focuses on the Jewish community of Venice, which serves as a case study for numerous basic issues in Jewish history, including the attitude of the church and state toward the Jews, the legal, economic and social history of the Jews, charters, the Jewish community, the institution of the ghetto, and the phenomenon of New Christians, crypto-Jews and the Iberian diaspora. Professor Ravid has authored many books, including Economics and Toleration in Seventeenth Century Venice: The Background and Context of the Discorso of Simone Luzzatto and The Jews of Early Modern Venice (co-editor).

Shula Reinharz
May 18 The Law

Shulamit Reinharz was born in Amsterdam, grew up in New Jersey, received her B.A. from Barnard College and her Ph.D. from Brandeis University. She was on the psychology faculty of the University of Michigan for 10 years, and then returned to Brandeis as a professor of sociology. In the 1990s Reinharz directed the Women's Studies Program at Brandeis University. Among many other innovations, she created its multi-faceted graduate program, including the first graduate program in Jewish Women's Studies in the world. She also initiated the Student-Scholar Partnership Program and the course on the Prevention of Violence against Women and Children, and created the National Board for Women's Studies. Reinharz chaired Hadassah's National Commission on American Jewish Women in 1993. Subsequently, in 1997, she established the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, which she heads to this day. Professor Reinharz is the author or co-author of twelve books including most recently, The JGirls' Guide, American Jewish Women and the Zionist Enterprise, Jewish Intermarriage around the World, Observing the Observer, and One Hundred Years of Kibbutz Life.

Lisa Rivo
May 12 Breaking Home Ties

Lisa Rivo is Co-Director of The National Center for Jewish Film, an independent nonprofit film archive, distributor and exhibitor located in metro Boston. Founded in 1976, NCJF owns the world’s largest archive of Jewish-content film, outside of Israel. The Center, which rescues, restores and makes available rare archival films, also distributes the work of 100 contemporary filmmakers, and responds to 7000 program inquiries each year. Ms. Rivo oversees the Center’s programmatic, distribution, curatorial and exhibition activities. Ms. Rivo has co-directed nine annual Boston-area film festivals and has curated many other series worldwide. She has a degree in Art History from Vassar College and focused on American visual culture and film at Emory University’s Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts PhD program. Ms. Rivo worked in the film program of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and as Director of Public Information at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston. Prior to joining NCJF in 2006, she was at Harvard University as Associate Director & Senior Writer of the African American National Biography, an encyclopedia edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Sharon Pucker Rivo
May 12 Breaking Home Ties

Sharon Pucker Rivo, Executive Director and Co-Founder of The National Center for Jewish Film, has been a leading force in the field of Jewish film and culture for more than three decades through her work as a curator, programmer, archivist, film distributor, film and television producer, and academic. In the mid-1970s she and co-founder Miriam Krant rescued a languishing collection of Yiddish-language feature films. Today, NCJF is the largest archive of Jewish film outside of Israel, and the largest film distributor of restored classic and new independent Jewish-content films. Ms. Rivo was an early advocate for the inclusion of film in the study of history and culture and for the historically accurate use of visual materials.

She has worked with hundreds of filmmakers around the world as a consultant and has appeared as an expert in many documentaries and television programs. She has curated film programs for venues from Boston to Beijing, including co-curating the first ever retrospective of Yiddish cinema, held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Ms. Rivo has been a member of Brandeis University faculty for more than twenty years and she lectures widely on the history of Jews in cinema, a field she helped pioneer. Internationally recognized as an authority on Jewish and Yiddish film, film archiving and restoration, and Jewish programming and distribution, she has been an invited lecturer at hundreds of venues and has served on numerous film festival juries.

Steve Rivo
May 5
Carvalho's Journey

Filmmaker Steve Rivo has produced, directed or written projects for PBS, CNN, MTV, MSNBC, Discovery, Investigation Discovery, The Weather Channel, Court TV/TruTV and VH1, and for filmmakers Alex Gibney, Robert Redford and Ric Burns. Rivo was a producer of New York: A Documentary Film, Eugene O'Neil and Ansel Adams for PBS, senior producer of The Vice Guide To Everything, and a writer/director for the CNN series Death Row Stories. His documentaries have garnered Emmys, Du-Pont-Columbia, Peabody, IDA, Telly and Cine Golden Eagle awards. Rivo also teaches in the MFA program at Hofstra University.

Jonathan D. Sarna
May 5
Carvalho's Journey

Dr. Jonathan D. Sarna is the Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History and Chair of the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program at Brandeis University, as well as Chief Historian of the new National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. Dubbed by the Forward newspaper in 2004 as one of America’s fifty most influential American Jews, he was Chief Historian for the 350th commemoration of the American Jewish community, and is recognized as a leading commentator on American Jewish history, religion and life. Professor Sarna is the author of more than thirty books and 100 scholarly articleson various aspects of American Jewish life and history. His most recent books are Lincoln and the Jews: A History and When General Grant Expelled the Jews.

Donald Sosin
May 12 Breaking Home Ties

Donald Sosin has performed live at major film festivals, including New York, Telluride, San Francisco, Seattle, Houston, TriBeCa, Denver, Virginia, and Newport, and at MoMA, BAM, the Wadsworth Atheneum, the Berlin Filmmuseum, and Moscow's Lumière Gallery. He is a favorite guest artists at the National Gallery and at Italy's annual silent film retrospectives in Bologna and Pordenone. He has created scores for over three dozen silent film DVDs, received commissions from the Chicago Symphony Chorus, the Colorado Children's Chorus, and the Orchestra of St. Luke's.

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