Advisory Council 

Diana Cohen Altman

Diana Cohen Altman is a longtime cultural professional. As an exhibition writer at the Smithsonian Institution for 16 years, she helped to develop more than 200 exhibitions for display around the world. For 9 years she served as editor-in-chief of the magazine of the National Association for Museum Exhibition, of which she was a board member. From 2002 to 2008, she was employed by B'nai B'rith International as director of the Klutznick National Jewish Museum/Phil Lax Archive/Center for Jewish Culture.
Ms. Altman has been Associate Publisher of Moment magazine, an international journal of Jewish life, culture, and thought, and currently is Executive Director of the Karabakh Foundation, which celebrates the culture, arts, and heritage of Azerbaijan and the Caucasus.
Diana lives in Virginia with her husband and two sons. In her spare time, Ms. Altman designs and teaches fiber craft. She has won a juried competition for her knitwear design. Ms. Altman holds a bachelors degree in anthropology from Vassar College.

Michael Feldberg, Ph.D.

Michael Feldberg, Ph.D. is president of The History Consultancy, LLC, which advises cultural and educational institutions on issues relating to American religious and ethnic history.
From 1991 to 2004, Dr. Feldberg served as executive director of the American Jewish Historical Society, the nation’s oldest ethnic historical organization, and from 2004 to 2008 was its director of research.
Dr. Feldberg is the author or editor of nine books in the fields of American ethnic and immigrant history. His most recent publication is Blessings of Freedom: Chapters in American Jewish History, a collection of his long-running series of articles in the American Jewish press.
He is also the curator of several exhibitions, including From Haven to Home: 350 Years of American Jewish History, which is currently on a national tour.
Feldberg holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Rochester and an A.B. from Cornell University. He has received several fellowships and award over the course of his career, including ones from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Gail Twersky Reimer, Ph.D.

A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, Reimer began her professional career as a faculty member of Wellesley College shortly after receiving her Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Rutgers University. While at Wellesley she was awarded fellowships from the American Association of University Women and the Bunting Institute at Radcliffe College, and received the prestigious Pinanski Prize for excellence in teaching.
From 1988 to 1995, Dr. Reimer was Associate Director of the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities (MFH), the state-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
In the early 1990’s, Reimer conceived and co-edited two pathbreaking anthologies of Jewish women’s writings — Reading Ruth: Women Reclaim a Sacred Story and Beginning Anew: A Woman’s Companion to the High Holy Days. This work led to the founding of the Jewish Women’s Archive in 1995.
The Jewish Women’s Archive emphasizes the power of new technologies to transform both our practice and knowledge of history, and is nationally recognized as a unique and vital contributor to a more expansive and inclusive vision of Jewish life, past, present and future. The Jewish Women’s Archive’s award-winning website,, has the most extensive collection of material on American Jewish women on the web.
In just nine years, the Jewish Women’s Archive has become a leading advocate for and center of education in Jewish women’s history, ensuring that we remember the women who came before us, honor the women among us, and inspire those who will follow us.
Dr. Reimer lives in Boston with her husband. They have two daughters.

Daniel S. Mariaschin

Daniel S. Mariaschin is executive vice president of B'nai B'rith International, and the director of the BBI Center for Human Rights and Public Policy (CHRPP). As the organization's top executive officer, he directs and supervises programs, activities, and staff in over 50 countries where B'nai B'rith is represented. As CHRPP director, he is spokesman for B'nai B'rith, interpreting its policies to a variety of audiences, including Congress and the media, and coordinating its programs on issues relating to the Jewish community.
In the United States and abroad, Mariaschin regularly meets with heads of state, prime ministers, foreign ministers, opposition leaders, human rights and religious leaders, and influential members of the media to help protect the rights of Jewish communities worldwide as well as to promote better relations with the State of Israel.
Mariaschin was a member of the Rudolph Giuliani-U.S. delegation to the 2003 Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe conference on anti-Semitism in Vienna and a public advisor to the U.S. delegation at the 2004 conference in Berlin. He participated in negotiations that achieved the transfer of torah scrolls from the Lithuanian government to Israel for use there and in Diaspora Jewish communities. He is a member of the International Advisory Committee of CEANA, the Argentinean commission studying that country's relations with the Nazi regime, and served on the commission on property restitution in Slovakia.
Mariaschin was a member of the U.S. delegation to the International Conference on Holocaust Remembrance, Education and Research; the B'nai B'rith delegation to the State Department's 1998 Holocaust Assets Conference; and has initiated programs on Holocaust education with the Lithuanian Ministry of Education and Science.
The U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad awarded Mariaschin the Cultural Pluralism Award in recognition of his work in Central and Eastern Europe.
Mariaschin received a bachelor of arts degree in history from the University of New Hampshire and his Master's degree in Contemporary Jewish Studies from Brandeis University. He received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of New Hampshire, and has also been honored with the American Jewish Communal Leadership Award from Brandeis University.

Richard Siegel

Richard Siegel is Director of the School of Jewish Communal Service at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles. Siegel has had a distinguished career as a Jewish communal professional, editor, and cultural entrepreneur.  From 1974 to 78, he was the first Hillel Director at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where he founded the Long Island Jewish Arts Festival, which became the model for similar festivals around the country.  He joined the National Foundation for Jewish Culture (now the Foundation for Jewish Culture) in 1978 to oversee the arts programming, and he became Executive Director in 1990.  
His work at the foundation is credited with putting Jewish culture, in general, and the arts, in particular, into the conversation about contemporary Jewish identity.  He created the Jewish Endowment for the Arts and Humanities to provide funding support for artists, scholars, and cultural institutions, and he initiated such programs as the Fund for Jewish Documentary Filmmaking, the Fund for New Play Commissions in Jewish Theater, and the 6-Points Fellowships in the Arts.  He also organized major national and international conferences and festivals in theater, dance, music, literature and visual arts, and produced several award winning National Public Radio programs.
Siegel received an M.A. in Contemporary Jewish Studies (now the Hornstein Program) at Brandeis University in 1972 and an M.A. in Jewish History from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1974.  His master's thesis at Brandeis on "A Theoretical Construct for a Jewish Whole Earth Catalog" was subsequently developed into The Jewish Catalog (JPS, 1973), the best selling guide to the Jewish counter-culture of the 1960s.  His other books include The Jewish Almanac (Bantam Books, 1981) and The Writer in the Jewish Community: An Israel-North America Dialogue (Associated University Press, 1993).  He has written numerous chapters and articles on contemporary Jewish culture, as well as several strategic plans and field studies, including "The Commission Report on the Future of Jewish Culture in America" (2002).
Among his awards and honors are the Bernard Reisman Award for Excellence in Jewish Communal Service from Brandeis University (2002) and the Jewish Cultural Achievement Award in Cultural Leadership from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture (2004).  Richard is married to Rabbi Laura Geller, Senior Rabbi of Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, and has two children, Andy and Ruth, and two step-children, Josh and Elana.  

Mel Wacks

Jewish-American Hall of Fame founder Mel Wacks was born in the Bronx on July 10, 1938. He began collecting at the age of 10, after his father gave him a pouch of old coins. Mel earned Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Electrical Engineering at CCNY and NYU, respectively, but found his true calling in the world of numismatics. Mel founded The Jewish-American Hall of Fame at the Magnes Museum in 1969, to honor the unique contributions made by Jewish Americans to all phases of the American way of life.
Mel headed the committee that created and produced the official medal commemorating 350 Years of Jewish Life in America (1654-2004). He is proud that he designed the reverses of The Jewish-American hall of Fame medals honoring Houdini, Isaac Bashevis Singer and Elie Wiesel. Mel is also an expert in ancient Judaean coins, and is the author of The Handbook of Biblical Numismatics that is available free at or can be read on kindle. In addition, he has been on the Board of the American Israel Numismatic Association for most of the past 40 years, and has been serving as President since 2002.
Mel created the content for The Jewish-American Hall of Fame’s website, which won the 2002 Numismatic Literary Guild’s Award for “The Best Non-Commercial Web Site.”

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