Speakers

Sara Abou Rashed

Sara Abou Rashed is a 20-year-old Palestinian-Syrian-American poet and speaker. She has keynoted at numerous conferences around the U.S., delivered a TEDx Talk, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Sara is a junior at Denison University, where she pursues Creative Writing and International Studies, sometimes missing class to perform her debut one-woman show, A Map of Myself: My Odyssey to America.

Jonathan Ames

Jonathan Ames is the author of ten books, including the forthcoming novel, A MAN NAMED DOLL. Two of his novels have been made into films, YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE, starring Joaquin Phoenix, and THE EXTRA MAN, starring Kevin Kline. Mr. Ames, in addition to writing prose, is the creator of two television shows, BORED TO DEATH and BLUNT TALK. He is the winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship and used to dabble in boxing, fighting as "The Herring Wonder."

Rabbi Sharon Brous

"Rabbi Sharon Brous is the senior and founding rabbi of IKAR, which launched in 2004 with the goal of reinvigorating Jewish tradition and practice and inspiring people of faith to reclaim a moral and prophetic voice. IKAR, one of the fastest growing and most influential Jewish congregations in the country, is credited with sparking a rethinking of religious life in a time of unprecedented disaffection and declining affiliation. Brous’s TED talk, “Reclaiming Religion,” has been viewed by more than one million people and translated into 14 languages. In 2013, she blessed President Obama and Vice President Biden at the Inaugural National Prayer Service, and in 2017, she spoke at the Women’s March in Washington, DC. Brous was named #1 on the Newsweek/The Daily Beast list of the most influential Rabbis in America, and has been recognized numerous times by The Forward and the Jerusalem Post as one of the fifty most influential Jews. Brous, who graduated from Columbia University and was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary, is an Auburn Senior Fellow, sits on the faculty of the Shalom Hartman Institute-North America and REBOOT, and serves on the International Council of the New Israel Fund."

Zackary Drucker

Zackary Drucker is an independent artist and creative producer. She has performed and exhibited her work internationally in museums, galleries, and film festivals including the Whitney Biennial 2014, MoMa PS1, Hammer Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, MCA San Diego, and SF MoMA, among others. Drucker is an Emmy nominated producer for the docu-series This Is Me as well as a producer on the Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning Amazon hit Transparent.

Alex Edelman

Alex Edelman is a comedian and TV writer who has appeared on “Conan,” staffed on shows for CBS and Netflix, and written and performed three solo hours, all enthusiastically received by audiences and critics. The most recent of those shows, “Just for Us” - about a meeting of White Nationalists he attended - earned the Herald Angel Award and was the best reviewed show at the Edinburgh Festival in more than a decade. He is one of the founders of Jerusalem's Off the Wall Comedy Club and, beyond stand-up, writes regularly for outlets like The Atlantic and The Believer.

Jewlia Eisenberg

Jewlia Eisenberg works at the intersection of voice, text and diaspora consciousness. Her music is mostly released with John Zorn's Tzadik label on the Radical Jewish Culture imprint. Her installation work has been curated into the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco and the Museum of Peace in Uzbekistan.

Jess Engel

Jess Engel is an award winning multi-disciplinary producer focused on producing new media content. As founder at Crimes of Curiosity, her recent mixed-reality projects include BREATHE (Sundance 2020), PERSUASION MACHINES (Sundance 2020), and SPHERES (2018). Her work has been shown around the world at major festivals and institutions, including Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, Cannes, Venice, Telluride, NYFF, MIT, and Art Basel. She has been a Sundance New Frontier fellow and advisor.

Jessie Kahnweiler

Jessie Kahnweiler’s films have amassed millions of views and have been featured everywhere from The New York Times to TMZ. Jessie wrote, directed, and starred in The Skinny, which was produced by Jill Soloway, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and won a Webby for best dramatic series. Jessie has developed series for Hulu, ABC, The CW, and staffed on Skam Austin for Facebook Watch. Her latest short ‘He’s the One’ premieres at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. She lives in LA with her plants.

Jo Lampert

Jo Lampert is a Brooklyn based performer. Selected New York: David Byrne’s Joan of Arc: Into the Fire (Public Theater, Lortel Nom); The Bengsons’ Hundred Days; Sonya Tayeh’s you’ll still call me by name; The Civilians’ Rimbaud in NY, Bedlam’s & Steven Sater's New York Animals and Classic Stage Company’s Iphigenia in Aulis. Selected regional: Mary in Jesus Christ Superstar (Lyric Opera of Chicago); Marie Antoinette (Dir. Rebecca Taichman); Prometheus Bound (Dir. Diane Paulus) and The Last Goodbye (Williamstown Theater Festival). TV: Amazon’s Transparent: The Musicale Finale; Netflix’s Orange is the New Black; Hulu’s The Path. Jo also sang on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Later… with Jools Holland, and Late Night with Conan O’Brien during her time on world tour with the band tUnE-yArDs in support of their 2014 album Nikki Nack.

Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie

Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie is the Founding Spiritual Leader of Lab/Shul NYC and the creator of Storahtelling, Inc. In 2016 The Forward named him one of the thirty-two “Most Inspiring Rabbis” in America, and in 2017 he was top five on “The Forward 50,” their annual list of the most influential and accomplished Jews in America.

Gillian Laub

Gillian Laub is a photographer and filmmaker based in New York. Laub has spent the past two decades investigating political conflicts, exploring complex family and community relationships. Laub’s first monograph, Testimony (Aperture), began as a response to the second intifada in the Middle East. Laub spent over a decade exploring issues of racism in the American South. This work became Laub’s first feature length, directed and produced, documentary film, Southern Rites that premiered on HBO. Her monograph, Southern Rites (Damiani) and traveling museum exhibition are used as a teaching tool in schools and institutions across the country. She contributes regularly to many publications such as Vanity Fair, TIME, and the New York Times Magazine.

Libby Lenkinski

Libby has worked at the intersection of politics, communications, activism and culture related to Israel/Palestine for more than 15 years. She is the Vice President for Public Engagement at the New Israel Fund. Prior to joining NIF, Libby lived and worked in the Israeli non-profit field for almost a decade. In addition to human rights work, Libby worked for documentary films including Budrus and The Law in These Parts, new media initiatives like +972 Magazine, and for progressive campaigns. She is a founding member of Zazim-Community Action and The Whistle. Libby lives in Brooklyn with her psychoanalyst husband.

Jeremiah Lockwood

Jeremiah Lockwood’s music career began with over a decade of apprenticeship to the legendary Piedmont Blues musician Carolina Slim, playing in the subways of New York City. He also trained under his grandfather Cantor Jacob Konigsberg and performed in his choir. Jeremiah’s band The Sway Machinery seeks inspiration from diverse realms of experience related to the cultural geography of New York City. The Sway Machinery has played around the world, including stints at legendary music festivals like Montreal Jazz, Roskilde, and perhaps most notably, Festival au Desert in Timbuktu, Mali. He is currently completing his PhD at Stanford University.

Collier Meyerson

Collier Meyerson is contributor at New York Magazine and WIRED magazine. She is a Knobler Fellow at the Type Media Center, where she focuses on reporting about race and politics. She received an Emmy for her work on the MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes and has won two National Association of Black Journalists awards. She lives in New York with her husband and baby.

David Pescovitz

David Pescovitz is a writer, futurist, content strategist, and producer whose work focuses on science, technology, art, and culture. He is a partner/editor at Boing Boing, a research director at Institute for the Future, and co-founder of Ozma Records, a music label focused on the intersection of science, art, and consciousness to spark the imagination. In 2018 he won a Grammy Award for co-producing The Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition. Pescovitz was also the founding editor-at-large for Make: magazine and he has written for Wired, Scientific American, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and many other publications.

Josh Radnor

Josh Radnor is an actor, writer, director, and musician originally from Columbus, Ohio. As an actor he has starred in long-running television shows (How I Met Your Mother), short-running television shows (Rise, Mercy Street), films (Jill Soloway’s “Afternoon Delight”), on Broadway (The Graduate, Disgraced) and off. He is currently co-starring with Al Pacino in “Hunters” for Amazon Prime. He wrote and directed two feature films (Happythankyoumoreplease & Liberal Arts) both of which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, the former winning the 2010 Audience Award. For the last few years he’s been making music with Aussie musician Ben Lee as Radnor & Lee. Their second album is being released in the spring of 2020.

Sasha Sagan

Sasha Sagan has worked as a writer, producer, editor and speaker. Her essays and interviews about life and death through a secular lens have appeared in The Cut, O. the Oprah Magazine, The Literary Hub, Mashable and elsewhere. Sasha's new book, For Small Creatures Such As We: Rituals for Finding Meaning in Our Unlikely World, part memoir, part guidebook, and part social history, is an exploration the marvels of nature as revealed by science, that require no faith in order to be believed. Inverse named Sasha one of their Future 50, “a group of 50 people who will be forces of good in the 2020s”. She is the daughter of Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan.

Stacey Reiss

Stacey Reiss is an Emmy award-winning filmmaker who produces narrative and documentary films. She is the producer of THE EAGLE HUNTRESS which premiered at Sundance Film Festival and was released by Sony Pictures Classics; and THE PERFECTION on Netflix starring Allison Williams. Other credits include TOKYO PROJECT, SUITED, THE DIPLOMAT, IT’S A HARD TRUTH AIN’T IT, I KNEW IT WAS YOU, and IT’S ME HILARY; all acquired by HBO. Producer of SPACESHIP EARTH, a feature documentary about Biosphere 2, which will premiere at Sundance Film Festival 2020.

Lacey Schwartz Delgado

Lacey Schwartz Delgado is an award-winning producer/writer/director/outreach strategist who draws on her interdisciplinary background to create compelling stories that span documentary and fiction. She produced and co-wrote the critically acclaimed documentary feature LITTLE WHITE LIE and produced the feature narrative DIFRET which won the audience awards at Sundance and Berlin International Film Festival. She is also the National Outreach Director for Be’chol Lashon. A native of Woodstock, NY and resident of Rhinebeck, NY, Lacey has a BA from Georgetown and a JD from Harvard Law School.

Noam Shuster

Noam Shuster was born in Jerusalem in 1987, she is an award winning comedian performing globally in 3 languages and was named the “Jewish Comedian of the Year” in London in 2018. She was the first Jewish performer in the Palestine Comedy Festival. Currently Noam is at Harvard University developing her one woman comedy show. Noam gets into viral middle eastern scandals every now and then due to her comedy and dreams of the day she can visit her mother’s hometown in Iran.

Ben Smith

Ben Smith is BuzzFeed’s Editor-in-Chief. Since joining the company in January 2012, Smith has built a newsroom of over 300 reporters and editors and built teams across the world. Under his leadership, BuzzFeed’s coverage has grown to include politics, business, investigative reporting, longform journalism, and entertainment while growing the site’s traffic to over 200M monthly unique visitors. Prior to BuzzFeed, Smith was senior political writer for Politico from 2007 to 2011. Before Politico, he wrote a column and a blog for the New York Daily News, started New York’s first political blog, The Politicker, for the New York Observer, as well as the political site, Room Eight, after working as City Hall Bureau Chief for the New York Sun and as a stringer for the Wall Street Journal in Latvia. He was born and raised in Manhattan, and now lives in Brooklyn with his wife and three children.

Larry Smith

Larry Smith is the creator of Six-Word Memoir® project and bestselling book series and has been called, “on a quest to spark self-expression in everyone” by Oprah Magazine. He speaks on the power of personal storytelling at conferences, schools, and companies around the world.

Faith Soloway

Faith Soloway has roots firmly established in the musical comedy world. She wrote and directed for Chicago’s Second City, as well as helping to put the Annoyance Theater on the map. In Boston, she was a vibrant part of the folk scene, fusing her musical comedy with the folk scene, creating “Schlock Operas” like “Miss Folk America,” and “Jesus Has Two Mommies.” For the last five years, Faith was a writer/producer on Amazon’s award winning television show “Transparent,” and composed the music for it's finale. She is on track to bring it to a Broadway premiere soon, god-willing

Jill Soloway

Jill Soloway is the Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning creator of Transparent and I Love Dick. Their first feature film, Afternoon Delight, won the 2013 Directing Award at Sundance. They founded Topple, an intersectional film and television brand, and the Little A imprint Topple Books. Their memoir, She Wants It, was published by Crown/PRH in 2018. Jill also cofounded 5050by2020, a strategic initiative of Time’s Up, the group East Side Jews, and the spoken word series Sit n’ Spin.

Ayelet Waldman

Ayelet Waldman is the best selling author of A Really Good Day, the novels Love and Treasure, Red Hook Road, Love and Other Impossible Pursuits, and Daughter's Keeper, as well as of the essay collection Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace. She edited Inside This Place, Not of It: Narratives from Women's Prisons,Kingdom of Olives and Ash: Writers Confront the Occupation, and Fight of the Century: Writers Reflect on 100 Years of Landmark ACLU Cases. Her books are published around the world. She wrote and executive produced Unbelievable on Netflix.

Eric K. Ward

Eric is a nationally-recognized expert on the relationship between hate violence and preserving democratic governance and inclusive societies. His 30 years of leadership includes founding the Community Alliance of Lane County; establishing over 120 task forces in six states through the Northwest Coalition Against Malicious Harassment; supporting immigrant rights advocates as National Field Director for the Center for New Community; serving as The Atlantic Philanthropies’ U.S. Reconciliation and Human Rights Executive and Ford Foundation Program Officer; and volunteer leadership with numerous organizations. Eric’s writings and speeches are widely quoted and credited with key narrative shifts in defense of inclusive democracy.

Matt Wolf

Matt Wolf’s critically acclaimed and award winning documentary films include Wild Combination about the cult cellist and disco producer Arthur Russell, Teenage about early youth culture and the birth of teenagers, and Recorder about the activist Marion Stokes, who secretly recorded television 24 hours a day for 30 years. Matt’s Sundance premiering film Spaceship Earth is about Biosphere 2, a controversial experiment where 8 people lived inside a replica of the planet. His short films include HBO’s It’s Me, Hilary about the Eloise illustrator Hilary Knight, Bayard & Me about the civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, and I Remember about the artist Joe Brainard.

Manny Yekutiel

Manny Yekutiel is the owner of Manny's, a community-focused civic event space in San Francisco's Mission District that includes a non-profit restaurant and political bookshop. Manny's was established in 2018 and was named a 2019 "Small Business of the Year" by the California State Senate, District 11. Manny also worked on President Obama and Secretary Clinton's Presidential campaign, was Chief of Staff of FWD.us, and a White House intern.

Jeffrey Zurofsky

Jeffrey Zurofsky is the founder and CEO of No Small Plans, LLC, a multi-disciplinary creative and entrepreneurial firm dedicated to the creating, advising and investing in projects that make large scale social impact in food, health & wellness and social justice. He is also the co-founder and former president and CEO of ’wichcraft, Riverpark, and Riverpark Farm, a partnership with chef Tom Colicchio. Jeffrey is an inaugural Council Member of the Tuft’s School of Nutrition, the Executive Culinary Director at Newport Academy, served on the board of NYC’s GrowNYC, an advisor to Summit Series, and co-host on BravoTV’s Best New Restaurant. Early in his career, Jeffrey was trained at the French Culinary Institute and worked in some of Manhattan’s most prestigious kitchens, including Lespinasse, Savoy, and Union Square Cafe.

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