Speakers and Presenters

Speakers and Presenters 
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Ruti Abramovitch has been the Deputy State Archivist since March 2010. Previously, she had functioned as an Advisor to the Prime Minister, and served as the Director of the Prime Minister's Public Inquiries Department, in addition to curating historical documents within the Prime Minister's offices. Abramovitch holds a B.A. in Political Science and an M.A. in Archival Studies from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In the context of her work in the State Archives, she is a member of several professional councils. As Deputy State Archivist, Abramovitch is responsible for overseeing Human Resources, budget implementation, and project management. She is also responsible for representing the Archives both nationally as well as internationally.

Avriel Bar-Levav is Professor and head of Judaic Studies at the department of History, Philosophy and Judaic Studies at the Open University of Israel, and editor of Pe'amim: Studies in Oriental Jewry, published by the Ben-Zvi Institute, Jerusalem. He has published on Jewish attitudes towards death and the history of the Jewish book. His latest book is an introduction to Jewish mysticism (together with Moshe Idel), in four volumes (Open University of Israel Press).

David Benayem holds a BA from the department of archaeology and information science, and an MA in law from Bar Ilan University, where he is curator of manuscripts and rare books.

David Blumberg is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Library of Israel, where he has been leading the renewal process of the Library for more than ten years. Mr. Blumberg also serves as Chair of the Adi Foundation, which supports the creative and philosophical activity of artists and intellectuals concerned with the relationship between art and Judaism. Mr. Blumberg has had a long career in the banking industry and held a number of directorial positions in the private sector. These positions include CEO of the United Mizrahi Bank and of the Tefahot Israel Mortgage Bank, and Chair of the Board of the Bank of Jerusalem as well as Chair of the Board of the Israeli Credit Insurance Company (ICIC) and of the Ezer Mortgage Insurance Company (EMI), and Member of the Board of U-Bank and of Africa Israel Properties. Mr. Blumberg received a BA in Economics and Political Science and an MBA from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife, Esther, and has three children.

Rachel Boertjens is the curator of the Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana, part of the University of Amsterdam's Special Collections. She began working at the Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana in 2003, while studying Hebrew Language and Culture at the University of Amsterdam, beginning as a cataloger of printed books, and moving on to become a junior-curator. She shared the responsibility of being in charge of the Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana from 2013-2015, afterward assuming sole responsibility. Rachel has managed several national and international digitization projects of printed books, manuscripts and archives for the university library. She has also worked on several exhibitions, among them the exhibitions on Jewish book culture in the Landesmuseum in Zurich and the Jewish Museum in Berlin.

Laura Brazzo, historian and archivist, is currently the Head of the historical archive of the CDEC Foundation and curator of the CDEC Digital Library. She is also the editorial secretary of the CDEC's scientific journal "Quest: Issues in Contemporary Jewish History". Since 2015 Laura has been involved in the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure Project (EHRI) as representative of the CDEC Foundation.

Michelle Chesner is the Norman E. Alexander Librarian for Jewish Studies at Columbia University. She is a co-director of Footprints: Jewish Books Through Time and Place, and the incoming Secretary of the Research, Academic, and Special Libraries section of the Association of Jewish Libraries. She also co-coordinates the Northeast Judaica Librarians' Consortium. Michelle has worked at the University of Pennsylvania, the Jewish Theological Seminary, and Kestenbaum and Co. Her degrees are from University of Maryland, Long Island University, and New York University.

Roney Cytrynowicz, PhD, is the director of the documental collections of the Jewish archives in São Paulo. He is also the director of the Editora Narrative Um, a publisher that focuses on historical publications. He has published books and articles on topics such as the immigration of Jews to Brazil during the Holocaust, as well as on Jewish life in São Paulo during the Second World War.

Yaron Deutscher, Head of Digital Access Division at the National Library of Israel, has extensive experience in the field of digital media and online publishing, including product management, leading content and social teams, and defining and creating digital platforms. One of the founders of the internet news desk at Israel's TV Channel 2, Deutscher also previously served as the deputy editor and manager of MSN Israel. In his most recent role, he was responsible for establishing and managing the IDF Intelligence Division's central content website and app.

Yoel Finkelman, PhD, is the curator of the Haim and Hanna Salomon Judaica collection at the National Library of Israel. Formerly a lecturer at Bar-Ilan University, he has published widely on topics related to Jewish education, contemporary Ultra-Orthodox Judaism, and the relationship between religion and popular culture.


Anastasia Glazanova is an archivist at the CAHJP. She has MA in Linguistics and an MA in Art History. She is currently a PhD student in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


Silvia Hansman received her MEd and MID degrees in archives, curriculum and instruction. She directed major archival projects in the Argentina National Archives, Argentine Society of Theater Producers, The Railroad National Museum, and Ex-President Raul Alfonsín papers, among other. Since 2004 she has served as Director of Collections in Fundación IWO Buenos Aires.


Rachel Heuberger, PhD, is the Head of the Judaica Division of the University Library Frankfurt/Main, Chair of the Judaica Europeana Consortium. She has been responsible for the growth of the Judaica collection over the years and for developing various digital Judaica portals e.g. Compact Memory, Freimann Collection and Hebrew Manuscripts.


Lev Israel is Software Architect and Senior Engineer at Sefaria, a non-profit organization working to completely digitize the Jewish canon for the first and last time. He has been working in the world of Israeli start-ups since 2001.


Stephen Jacobs is a Professor in the School of Interactive Games and Media and an affiliated faculty member with both the Center for Media, Art, Games, Interaction and Creativity (MAGIC) and Digital Humanities and Social Sciences at the Rochester Institute of Technology. For the past six years he has served as a Visiting Scholar for the International Center for the History of Electronic Games at the Strong National Museum of Play, where he assists with overall interpretation of the museum's collections and has been a member of the design teams for the eGame Revolution permanent exhibit on Video Games and the recently opened science fiction toy and games exhibits Rockets, Robots, and Rayguns and The Force at Play. His digital humanities work includes the Jewish Play Project, which examines the historical role Jewish designers, entrepreneurs and inventors have disproportionately played in the 200 years of the toys, games, coin-op and video game industries. He also works with the University of Pennsylvania's Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies on digital humanities and games related projects.


Gabor Kadar, PhD, is Director of the Yerusha Project of the Rothschild Foundation (Hanadiv) Europe. Previously he worked as Senior Historian of the Hungarian Jewish Archives. Dr. Kadar is a visiting professor of the Jewish Studies Program at the Central European University. He is the author and co-author of five monographs and over a hundred studies, articles and encyclopedia entries.


Menachem Katz, PhD, is the Academic Director of the Friedberg Genizah Project. He is a lecturer at the Open University and at the Graduate School of the Givat Washington College, where he researches Talmud and Midrash. He recently published a critical edition of the Jerusalem Talmud, Tractate Kiddushin.


Arthur Kiron, PhD, is the Schottenstein-Jesselson Curator of Judaica Collections at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of History at Penn. He is the Director of the Jesselson-Kaplan American Genizah Project and is the editor of Constellations of Atlantic Jewish History: The Arnold and Deanne Kaplan Collection of Early American Judaica (2014), recipient of the Arline Custer Memorial Award.


Shevy Korzen is CEO of The Public Knowledge Workshop ("Hasadna"), a volunteer based, technological, nonprofit organization that advocates and actively develops web applications to open government data. Hasadna's philosophy is that public information becomes truly useful when it is accessible to all and creates action. Hasadna's tools, such as OpenKnesset, BudgetKey and Anyway, promote governmental transparency and accountability, foster ongoing public participation in political processes, and create evidence based civic action. Our young "civic coders," leaders in the Israeli "StartUpNation," contribute thousands of expert hours annually. Founded in 2011, Hasadna has received the "Midot" effectiveness prize for 2013 and in 2015 was named one of 100 most influential groups by The Marker, Israel's leading financial daily. Shevy holds a BA in Economics and Business Administration from the Hebrew University, as well as Computer Science from Tel Aviv University and an MSc in Migration Studies from the University of Oxford. She was formerly the Executive Director of the award-winning Hotline for Refugees and Migrants and joined the Public Knowledge Workshop in April 2014. Named one of Israel's top civic actors by The Marker in 2005, Shevy brings over 20 years of nonprofit management and social change experience to the position.


Milka Levy-Rubin, PhD, serves as Curator of the Humanities collection at the National Library of Israel since 2010. She taught at the Hebrew University as an adjunct lecturer from 1996-2015. Her academic research focuses on the transition from Byzantine to Islamic rule in the East. In addition she specializes in the medieval mapping of Palestine. Her publications include two books – The Continuatio of the Samaritan Chronicle of Abu 'l-Fath (2003), and Non-Muslims in the Early Islamic Empire: from Surrender to Coexistence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2011), as well as many articles focusing on Christians and non-Muslims under Muslim rule in the early Muslim period, and on the mapping of Palestine in the Middle Ages.

Sharon Liberman Mintz is the Curator of Jewish Art at The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York and specializes in the art of Hebrew illuminated manuscripts and rare printed books. Over the course of 30 years at the Library, Sharon has curated more than 40 exhibitions and co-authored eleven exhibition catalogs. Since 1994, Sharon has also served as the Senior Consultant for Judaica and Hebraica at Sotheby's. In that capacity, she has cataloged and appraised Hebrew books for Judaica sales worldwide for over two decades. In 2009, she collaborated on the cataloging and exhibition of the Valmadonna Trust Library at Sotheby's, the finest private library of Hebrew books and manuscripts in the world. Sharon co-authored A Journey through Jewish Worlds: Highlights from the Braginsky Collection of Hebrew Manuscripts and Printed Books, which accompanied an international exhibition that she co-curated. Her most recent publication, The Writing on the Wall: A Catalogue of Judaica Broadsides from the Valmadonna Trust Library (2015) is an in-depth historical examination of this heretofore unexplored genre of Jewish culture.

Ekaterina Oleshkevich is the chief librarian at the Russian State Library. She received her B.A. in Oriental and African Studies from the Lomonosov Moscow State University. In 2015 she completed her M.A. in Oriental and African Studies at the Lomonosov Moscow State University with a specialization in Hebrew as well as History of Asian and African countries.


Bruno Racine was born in Paris in 1951, and after serving the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Prime Minister, has been director of the French Academy in Rome (1997-2002), president of the Pompidou Centre (2002-2007), and of the French National Library until April 2016. In this latter capacity, he has chaired the Conference of European National Librarians and of Europeana: The European Digital Library, until 2016. He is currently serving at the Cour des comptes, the High Court overseeing government spending. He is also the author of dozens of books and novels which have won awards in France.


Eyal Reuven is an Information Systems Engineer. He heads the "Open Library" project at the National Library of Israel.


Elchanan Reiner is the Academic Director of the National Library of Israel. Emeritus Professor in the department of Jewish history at Tel-Aviv University, he was born in Jerusalem and raised with a pious Jewish education and later completed his doctorate at the Hebrew University in 1988. His research has focused on two issues: the cultural history of East European Jews in the early modern period, with a focus on the influences of printing on Jewish intellectual life, and popular religious culture in the Land of Israel at the end of the ancient and during the medieval periods.


Emile Schrijver, PhD, is general director of the Jewish Historical Museum and the Jewish Cultural Quarter in Amsterdam, Professor of Jewish Book History at the University of Amsterdam, and one of the curators of the Braginsky Collection in Zurich, Switzerland. He is the editor in chief of the Encyclopedia of Jewish Book Cultures, scheduled to appear with Brill Publishers in 2019.


Caron Sethill, Programme Manager Europe at the National Library of Israel, manages Gesher L'Europa, an initiative of the National Library and the Rothschild Foundation (Hanadiv) Europe, to create and nurture opportunities for exchange and enrichment between the NLI and European scholars, library and museum professionals and educators working within Jewish settings. Established in 2014, Gesher L'Europa is integral to the Library's commitment to the dissemination of knowledge to reach a broad and diverse community of users. Prior to working at the Library, Caron was Deputy Director of the British Council Israel, which promotes cultural relations between Israel and the UK and established the UK-Israel BIRAX programme for bilateral scientific research cooperation.


Sylviane Stampfer is the director of RAMBI and the indexing department at the National Library of Israel. She has a BA in the history of Israel and English literature, as well as an MA in communications with a focus on translation and a diploma in library sciences.


Ilana Tahan, M.Phil., OBE, received her education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel and at the Aston University, Birmingham, UK, where she was awarded the Master of Philosophy degree. Ilana joined the British Library as Hebraica Curator in 1989. In 2002 she became Head of the Hebrew Section, in charge of one of the finest Hebraica collections in the world, comprising some 3,000 Hebrew manuscript volumes, approximately 10,000 Genizah fragments and over 70,000 printed books. Since 2010 Ilana has been Lead Curator of Hebrew and Christian Orient Studies, while also managing the Library's Christian Orient collections, which include the Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian, Georgian and Syriac holdings. Additionally, in 2012 she was given the role of Lead Curator of the Hebrew Manuscripts Digitisation Project, a major and on-going externally funded project. In 2009 Ilana was awarded the Order of the British Empire for services to scholarship.


Zsuzsanna Toronyi is the Director of the Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives, where she has been working since 1994 (until 2014 as Director of the Hungarian Jewish Archives and since then Director of both the Museum and the Archives). She also lectures on Jewish material culture at the Jewish Studies Department of the ELTE University, Budapest. She is currently finishing her PhD dissertation, dealing with the history and cultural background of the Hungarian Jewish Museum. She has curated several exhibitions, for example: “Dimensions of the Past” (2000); “Jewish Women” (2002); “Rosenthal lived here” (2012); “100 Years – 100 Objects” (2016). Her newest project is a complete reorganization of the Jewish Museum and the development of a new permanent exhibition for it. She is also involved in the revitalization of the Rumbach Street Synagogue in Budapest as an exhibition space for Jewish heritage.


Alex Valdman is a PhD student at the Department of Jewish History, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He is currently completing a dissertation which explores the emergence of the educated Jewish elites in Late Imperial Russia. Since 2013 he is coordinating the Yerusha project at the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People.


Pnina Younger received an MA in General History and Jewish Studies from the Charles University in Prague (Czech Republic) in 2007, where she also pursues a doctoral degree. She has been working in the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People since 2014 as an archivist.

Yigal Zalmona is adviser to the National Library of Israel in matters of exhibitions and art. He is a lecturer at the Hebrew University and head of the curatorial studies of the Post-Graduate program in Policy and Theory of the Arts at the Bezalel Art and Design Academy, Jerusalem. He was, until his retirement in 2012, the Chief Curator at-Large of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, after serving as the curator of Israeli Art and the Chief Curator of Fine Arts at the museum. He curated a variety of exhibitions in Israel and abroad and is the author of books, catalogs and articles on aspects of Israeli and International art, culture and identity questions. His most recent books are A Century of Israeli Art (London: Lund Humphries, 2013) and Micha Ullman: Sands of Time, (Jerusalem: The Israel Museum).