New Subjects in the Field
2014 – A Strategically Decisive Year
‘Jews Not by Religion’
Who are the “Jews by Religion” in the Pew Report?
Prof. Sylvia Barack Fishman – Three Decades of Patrilineal Descent in American Reform Judaism
Russian-Speaking Jews in North America
Patrilineal Descent in American Reform Judaism
Stanley Greenberg – Political Polling on U.S. Jewry
Amb. Stuart Eizenstat Presents His Newest Book
St. Louis Federation Hosts Powerhouse Delegation from Jewish Think Tank in Jerusalem
Dr. Leonard Saxe – Polling Data on U.S. Jewry
Debating Religion and State and “Distancing”
Who Needs Denominations?
Prof. Todd Gitlin – Voting Patterns of U.S. Jewry
The Triangular Relationship of Jerusalem, Washington, and the American Jewish community
Dan Feferman recently completed his service with the IDF at the rank of major. For nearly a decade Dan served as a foreign policy and national security analyst and advisor to the General Staff, focusing on US-Israel strategic relations, as a special assistant to the Deputy Chief of the General Staff, and as a commander in an elite intelligence unit within the IDF’s Research and Analysis Division, where he continues to serve in reserve duty. Through his various positions, Dan has been closely involved in Israel’s most pressing strategic defense and political issues.
Dan also consults, lectures and writes on foreign policy, defense and intelligence matters .
Prior to his military service, Dan completed an MA in National Security Studies from Tel Aviv University and a BA in International Politics and Middle East Studies from the School of International Service, at the American University, Washington DC, both with honors. Dan also completed a prestigious internship at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Read more by Maj. (Res) Dan Feferman
Noah served as Foreign Policy and Strategic Advisor to Member of Knesset Dr. Einat Wilf and worked in the Israeli Knesset as a Parliamentary Assistant. His responsibilities included briefing senior diplomats and foreign media correspondents from around the world. He also worked with pro-Israel and Jewish organization around the world organizing community visits and lectures.
Noah holds an Honors BA in Jewish Studies from York University and an MA in Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution from the Lauder School of Government at the IDC Herzliya. He also studied Economics at the University of Toronto and Political Science at the University of Western Ontario.
Prior to immigrating to Israel from Canada in 2008, Noah worked on campuses across Canada organizing Jewish student events and leading Israel advocacy efforts.
Read more by Noah Slepkov
Dr. Shlomo Fischer teaches sociology in the School of Education at Hebrew University and at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.He is also currently a research fellow at the Van Leer Institute. His research interests include the nexus of religion, politics and class in Israel, contemporary religion and the sociology of the Jewish people. He has published extensively on radical religious Zionism and the West Bank settlers as well as on the Shas movement.
Fischer has worked in the field of education for the past 25 years. In the past 10 years he has worked in the field of religion, democracy and tolerance. He has edited (together with Adam Seligman) The Burden of Tolerance: Religious Traditions and the Challenge of Pluralism (Hebrew; HaKibbutz Hameuchad and the Van Leer Institute, 2007) which addresses these issues. From 1996-2007 he was the founder and Executive Director of Yesodot – Center for Torah and Democracy which works to advance education for democracy in the State-Religious school sector in Israel and was also one of the founders and is on the Board of the International Summer School for Religion and Public Life which is based in Boston, Mass. He is a graduate of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership in Jerusalem.
Read more by Dr. Shlomo Fischer
Prof. Sylvia Barack Fishman – Three Decades of Patrilineal Descent in American Reform Judaism
STEVEN W. POPPER, (Ph.D., Economics, UC Berkeley, 1985; B.S. summa cum laude, Biochemistry, U of Minnesota, 1976) is a RAND Senior Economist and Professor of Science and Technology Policy in the Pardee RAND Graduate School. He is also director of RAND’s Israel Initiative. He has published research on the economics of innovation — particularly how organizations both public and private identify and incorporate technological change. He led RAND’s first Summer Institute, a week-long workshop on science, technology and U.S. economic competitiveness. From 1996 to 2001 he was the Associate Director of RAND’s Science and Technology Policy Institute (S&TPI.) He provided research and analytic support to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and other agencies of the executive branch. His work included projects on the economic and social returns to basic research, assessing critical technologies (including principal authorship of the Fourth U.S. National Critical Technologies Review,) policy analyses of national innovation systems, evaluations of federal R&D portfolios relevant to the Global War on Terror, determining the S&T capabilities required for a prospective Department of Homeland Security, technical barriers to international trade (for the National Institute of Standards and Technology,) federal R&D portfolio decisionmaking (for the National Science Board and the World Bank,) and Presidential transition documents on S&T issues of national importance.
Dr. Popper is currently leading projects on better integration of technology assessment into transportation planning for the Transportation Research Board and has recently competed studies on energy strategy in Israel and science and technology-based economic development in Mexico City. He has now begun a new project to work with Israel’s police on domestic policing issues. He was active in founding projects of the RAND Pardee Center for Longer-Range Global Policy and the Future Human Condition. This included co-authorship of the flagship study, Shaping the Next Hundred Years, which provides a new methodological framework for decision making under profound uncertainty that has been applied to an increasing set of policy issues. In particular, he has advised doctoral dissertations applying these concepts to issues in R&D planning and S&T policy. Dr. Popper has conducted research for, and has served as consultant to, several non-U.S. governments as well as multilateral international organizations such as OECD and the World Bank on issues of technology planning, industrial restructuring, and regional economic development. Prior to joining RAND he worked as a researcher in physical chemistry and enzymology, as Country Account Officer for Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania and Yugoslavia at Bank of America, and as consultant to the World Bank on issues of industrial restructuring in East Europe. He has also been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, is a member of the AAAS Policy Council representing the Industrial Science and Technology section, and is a Charter Member of the Pacific Council on International Policy.
Read more by Prof. Steven W. Popper
Dr. Einat Wilf, the Baye Foundation Adjunct Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, was Chair of the Education, Sports and Culture Committee, Chair of the Knesset Sub-Committee for Israel and the Jewish People, and Member of the influential Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in the 18th Knesset.
Previously, Dr. Wilf served as Foreign Policy Advisor to Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres, a Senior Fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute, and a strategic consultant with McKinsey & Company. Born and raised in Israel, Dr. Wilf served as an Intelligence Officer in the Israel Defense Forces.
Dr. Wilf is the author of four books that explore key issues in Israeli society. Her first book, “My Israel, Our Generation”, is about Israel’s past and future from the perspective of the younger generation. Her second book, “Back to Basics: How to Save Israeli Education (at no additional cost)“, offers a detailed and feasible policy proposal for improving Israel’s education system. Her third book, “It’s NOT the Electoral System, Stupid”, demonstrates through comparative analysis why Israel’s electoral system is no worse than those of other democracies and therefore should not be changed. Her fourth and most recent book, “Winning the War of Words”, compiles her key essays on Israel and Zionism.
Dr. Wilf has a BA in Government and Fine Arts from Harvard University, an MBA from INSEAD in France, and a PhD in Political Science from the University of Cambridge.
Read more by Dr. Einat Wilf
John S. Ruskay came to UJA-Federation in 1993 and held several positions before being appointed Executive Vice President and CEO in October 1999, serving in this role until July 2014. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 1968, Dr. Ruskay earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in political science at Columbia University. He served as Educational Director of the 92nd Street Y from 1980 to 1985, and Vice Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America from 1985 to 1993.
Dr. Ruskay has written extensively and speaks nationally on how the American Jewish community can most effectively respond to the challenges and opportunities of living in an open society; the critical role of Jewish philanthropy; and the central role of community. He has served as a senior consultant to the Wexner Foundation and The Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, and has chaired the Publication Committee of the Journal of Jewish Communal Service and the Professional Advisory Committee of the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program.
Dr. Ruskay has received numerous honors, including the Bernard Reisman Award for Professional Excellence from Brandeis University’s Hornstein Program, the Mandelkorn Distinguished Service Award from the Jewish Communal Service Association of North America, and honorary doctorates from the Jewish Theological Seminary (2011), Hebrew Union College (2103), and Yeshiva University (2014).
The Ruskay Institute for Jewish Professional Leadership is being established to provide in-service professional enrichment for the next generation of communal leaders.
Dr. Ruskay is married to Robin Bernstein; together they have five children and seven grandchildren.
Read more by Dr. John Ruskay
Shmuel Rosner is a Tel Aviv based columnist, editor and think tank fellow.
He is a fellow at The Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI);
He is the non-fiction Editor for Israel’s largest Publishing House, Kinneret-Zmora-Bitan-Dvir;
He is Senior Political Editor for the Jewish Journal, and he writes the popular blog Rosner’s Domain;
He writes a weekly column for The International Herald Tribune \ New York Times and for Israel’s Maariv Daily.
Rosner was previously a columnist for The Jerusalem Post, and was Chief U.S. Correspondent, Head of the News Division and Head of the Features Division for the Israeli daily Haaretz. He wrote for many magazines, including Slate, Foreign Policy, Commentary, The New Republic, The Jewish Review of Books, and others.
Rosner’s book “Shtetl Bagel Baseball, on the Wonderful Dreadful State of American Jews” was published in Israel by Keter (Hebrew, 2011) and became a bestseller.