Documenting Israel's 1948 Generation

Our Team

Staff

Aryeh Halivni (Eric Weisberg) is the founder and Executive Director of Toldot Yisrael. He has worked for Jewish and Israel related organizations for several years, including serving as National Director of Bnei Akiva of the United States and Canada and National Director of Student Affairs at the Consulate General of Israel in New York. As Program Director of Edah, he developed an extensive interactive web site including a comprehensive bibliography and database of over one thousand articles, books, and audiovisual media material on modern Orthodox Judaism.

Aryeh holds an MPA (Masters in Public Administration) in Nonprofit Management from Baruch College of the City University of New York where he was a Clark Fellow for Non-Profit Management. Since making aliyah in 2002, he served as interim Managing Editor of the Shalem Center’s journal Azure and spent three years as Director of External Relations at Gesher, an organization dedicated to bridging the gap between religious and secular in Israel.

Peleg Levy, a filmmaker who has been recording testimonies of Holocaust survivors for Yad Vashem for several years, is Toldot Yisrael’s primary videographer and coordinates all interviews.

Toldot Yisrael has several crews made up of experienced documentary filmmakers and professional interviewers, who bring their different areas of expertise to the interviews.

Steering Committee

Michael Berenbaum is a writer, lecturer, and teacher consulting in the conceptual development of museums and the content and conceptual development of historical films. He is former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation. He was the Director of the United States Holocaust Research Institute at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and from 1988–93 he served as Project Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, overseeing its creation. Most recently, Berenbaum was the Executive Editor of the New Encyclopaedia Judaica, a second edition of the monumental 1972 work that the Library Journal has called “one of the top 50 reference works of the Millennium.”

Sarah Kass is a mother of two daughters, a Yale graduate, a Rhodes Scholar, and a serial social entrepreneur. She previously served as Chief Programme Officer at Yad Hanadiv and prior to that as Director of Strategy and Evaluation at the AVI CHAI Foundation.  At 27 she founded the first charter public high school in the United States—City On A Hill, in Boston, MA—which inaugurated a new model of results-oriented academics to prepare students for active democratic citizenship. Kass won numerous awards and local and national media coverage for her efforts, including being recognized as one of America’s 10 most promising leaders under 30. Her articles on public affairs have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Haaretz, and the Jerusalem Post, among other publications.

Yigal Lossin, a senior producer at Israeli Television, is known for his acclaimed documentary Pillar of Fire: the Rebirth of Israel, as well as a hardcover companion, or “visual history,” published by Shikmona Publishing Company (1983). A former head of the New York office of Israel Radio and Television, Lossin has written, produced, or directed (and sometimes all three) several other films and documentaries, including Out of Spain (1992) and Jerusalem 3000 (1999).

Michael B. Oren is an American-born Israeli historian, author, and a former Israeli Ambassador to the United States. He has written books, articles, and essays on Middle Eastern history, and is the author of the New York Times best-selling Power, Faith and Fantasy and Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East, which won the Los Angeles Times History Book of the Year Award and the National Jewish Book Award. Oren has been a visiting professor at Harvard, Yale, and Georgetown universities in the United States and at Tel Aviv and Hebrew universities in Israel. He was a Distinguished Fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem and a contributing editor to The New Republic. The Forward named Oren one of the five most influential American Jews and The Jerusalem Post listed him as one of the world’s ten most influential Jews.

Elad Peled (Major-General, Ret.) was a squad commander in the Palmach and the commanding officer in the battle of Tzfat in the War of Independence. He continued his military career until 1968 and commanded a division which operated in the West Bank during the Six-Day War. Peled holds a PhD in Education from Columbia University and is the former Director General of Israel’s Ministry of Education.

Renen Schorr founded the Sam Spiegel School of Film and Television in 1989 and has served as its director ever since. A key figure on the Israeli film scene today and a critically acclaimed director/producer/screenwriter, Schorr is a founder of the Israeli Fund for Quality Films (1978) and the initiator of the New Fund for Documentary Films (1994). He served as President of GEECT, the European association of 70 European film schools, from 2000-2004. Schorr’s full-length feature, “Late Summer Blues” (1987), won the Israeli Oscar for the Best Film. Simultaneous to directing the Sam Spiegel School, Schorr initiated and edited the prize-winning dramatic series Voices from the Heartland which served as a type of incubator for select young film talents, Voices From the Heartland went on to win six prizes in the Jerusalem Film Festival, 2001 and 2002, with most of its segments screened and winning prizes in Cannes and other major film and television festivals.

Yair Stern is the former Director General of Israel Television and has been a guiding force in the development of Israel’s television programming and in the management of the country’s broadcast operations. Following several years as a writer and editor at Maariv, Stern joined Israel National Television in 1974. Five years later, he was appointed as the news division’s chief producer. In 1982, he became editor-in-chief of the Evening News and then head of the News division. Under his leadership, the division received the highest journalistic award in Israel, the Sokolov Prize, for coverage of the war in Lebanon. In 1989, Stern was sent to Washington D.C. as correspondent and Bureau Chief. His coverage of the Gulf War in 1991 garnered the Israel Broadcasting Authority Excellence Award. Stern served as Director General of Israel Television from 1993 until his retirement in 2000. He is now a private media consultant.

Howard Weiser was a senior partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers in New York, where he spent more than 30 years advising some of the world’s largest corporations, in a broad range of industries, on a variety of financial, business, governance and regulatory matters. He also held numerous leadership positions in the firm. He is on the board of, and previously led, a number of non-profit organizations and currently spends several months a year in Israel. Weiser holds a BS degree, Summa Cum Laude, with Honors in Economics, from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

Ruth R. Wisse is Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University. Over the past four decades, Professor Wisse has been a leading scholar of Yiddish and Jewish literary studies in North America, and one of the most fearless public intellectuals on issues relating to Jewish society, culture, and politics. She is the author of the landmark book The Modern Jewish Canon: A Journey through Language and Culture (2000) and was honored by President Bush with the 2007 National Humanities Medal.


Yehuda Avner (deceased) served on the personal staff of five prime ministers in a career in Israeli government that spanned more than 35 years. His book, The Prime Ministers: An Intimate Narrative of Israeli Leadership, shared his first-hand experiences with Israeli leaders at critical moments of decision-making and diplomacy. After joining Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1960, his appointments included consul in New York following the Six Day War in 1967, political counselor in Washington, D.C.; director of Israel’s Foreign Press Bureau; Israel’s ambassador to the Court of St. James (London); non-resident ambassador to Ireland; inspector general of Israel’s Foreign Service; and ambassador to Australia. His distinguished career was recognized in 1995 by the establishment of the Yehuda Avner Chair on Religion and Politics at the Bar-Ilan University.

Ralph Goldman (deceased) was Honorary Executive Vice President of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and dedicated most of his 100 years to ensuring a vibrant Jewish future. He served as the Executive Vice President of the JDC from 1976 to 1985 and 1986 to 1988, and held the title of Honorary Executive Vice President since 1988 until his passing in October 2014. In the early years of the State, Goldman worked as a recruiter of professional personnel for the State of Israel and later as David Ben Gurion’s main American contact and personal assistant on the Prime Minister’s historic first (1951) and last (1967) visits to the United States.