Normandy Cruise Faculty
In addition to a number of local historians and guides that will be with us in each city, we are pleased to announce that we will be adding the expertise of the following guests and entertainers to enhance your cruise and educational experience!
RABBI MARVIN HIER
Founder and Dean Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance
Lecture program will focus on:
Post US election geo-political climate of US, European & World Jewry
“Now Including The SWC Documentary Film Festival”
Rabbi Marvin Hier is the founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, one of the foremost Jewish human rights organizations in the world. The Center’s educational arm, The Museum of Tolerance, opened in February 1993 to worldwide acclaim. Founded to challenge visitors to confront bigotry and racism and to understand the Holocaust in both historic and contemporary contexts, the Museum hosts over a half million visitors a year, including 110,000 students. Based in Los Angeles, the Center has numerous offices, on four continents. The $100 million Museum of Tolerance – Jerusalem is under construction in the heart of the city.
In 2007 and again in 2008, Newsweek named Rabbi Hier “the most influential rabbi in America.” His views and his powerful oratory are sought by the international media and leading organizations, and he meets regularly with world leaders to discuss the resurgence of neo-Nazism, terrorism, and various forms of anti-Semitism.
His lectures will focus on the current geopolitical climate and its implications for European and World Jewry. He will also screen and discuss films that he developed as co-founder of Moriah Films, the Center’s documentary film division – including two Academy Award winners and other acclaimed and award-winning films. In addition, the films will be available for viewing in each room, through the ship’s on-board closed-circuit television system.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper
Associate Simon Wiesenthal Center
Rabbi Abraham Cooper is the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. He has been a longtime activist for Jewish and human rights’ causes on six continents, and came to Los Angeles in 1977 with Rabbi Marvin Hier to found the Wiesenthal Center. Since then, Rabbi Cooper has overseen the Center’s international social action agenda and worldwide promotion of tolerance education. He is widely recognized as a pioneer and international authority on issues related to Digital Hate and Terrorism.
Rabbi Cooper regularly meets with religious and political leaders around the world. He has testified before the United Nations, the United States Senate, the Japanese Diet, the French Parliament, Argentina’s Congress, and the OSCE. He also contributes regularly to secular and Jewish media outlets. Newsweek/Daily Beast lists him with Rabbi Hier as the eighth most influential rabbi in the United States. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to hear his words of Torah and wisdom several times throughout the cruise.
Rabbi Meyer May
Executive Director Simon Wiesenthal Center
Rabbi Meyer H. May is the Executive Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museums of Tolerance, having joined the Center in the fall of 1978, its second year.
As Executive Director for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi May has traveled throughout the world meeting with heads of state and leading government officials, as well as some of the most prominent corporate leaders and philanthropists of our time.
As the chief development officer of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi May and his team have raised well over $700 million in support of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and its multi-faceted divisions. Specifically, Rabbi May directs the Center’s capital expansion campaigns and its annual $30 million international fund-raising campaigns. He is currently guiding the $200 million capital campaign and endowment to build the Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem.
Rabbi May also supervises the Center’s regional offices and all Simon Wiesenthal Center special events, coordinates major gift fund-raising with the Center’s membership development and online campaigns, and oversees its highly successful planned giving program. Rabbi May also heads the Center’s legislative effort, which to-date, has resulted in more than $115 million in Federal, State and City appropriations to the Center and its Museums of Tolerance. He is currently focusing on the Center’s long-term endowment and on further capitalizing the Center’s Academy-Award® winning Moriah Films media division.
DR. SHELDON A. GOLDBERG Ph.D., Lt Colonel, USAF (Ret.)
Historian/Docent at the National Museum of American-Jewish Military History in Washington DC
Dr. Sheldon A. Goldberg, Ph.D., Lt. Colonel, USAF (Ret), is the Historian/Docent at the National Museum of American-Jewish Military History in Washington DC. A native of Detroit MI, Dr. Goldberg enlisted in the US Air Force as a bandsman in 1956, serving as a clarinetist with the Strategic Air Command and the United States Air Forces in Europe, Command Bands until September 1960, when he was accepted to Air Force Officer Candidate School. Dr. Goldberg was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in March 1961 and received his wings as a navigator in January 1962. Following additional advanced navigator bombardier training, he was assigned to McChord AFB WA where he flew the C-124 and C-141 transport aircraft and received a BA in Political Science from the University of Puget Sound in 1967. That same year, he received an Air Force approved scholarship to the University of Wisconsin (Madison) where he earned an MA in International Relations. His next assignment was to George AFB CA where he trained as an F-4 Weapons Systems Officer, which was followed by an assignment to the 497th Tactical Fighter Squadron, the only night dedicated fighter squadron in the Air Force, stationed at Royal Thai AFB, Ubon, Thailand during the war in Southeast Asia. While there, then Captain Goldberg flew 217 combat missions, including three over North Vietnam, earning two Distinguished Flying Crosses for Valor and 17 Air Medals.
Upon his return from Southeast Asia in 1970, Dr. Goldberg was assigned to Cannon AFB NM where he flew the F-111 nuclear-capable fighter-bomber and was the chief of his squadron’s intelligence section. Eighteen months later, he was back in Europe on the first of three consecutive tours, first flying the F-111 at RAF Upper Heyford in the United Kingdom, followed by his next assignment was as the Air Force Advisor to the Commandant, Federal Republic of Germany’s Armed Forces General Staff College, Hamburg Germany, where he was promoted to Lt. Colonel. His third tour only required a short move to the Netherlands and Headquarters, Allied Forces Central Region (AFCENT), in Brunnsum, where he served as the Air Staff Policy Officer for the Central Region.
In 1981, Lt. Colonel Goldberg returned to the United States and to Air University, Maxwell AFB AL where he first served as the Chief, National Security Affairs Division, Air Command and Staff College and then as the Director of Curriculum Development in the Associate School of the Air War College. He retired from the Air Force on 1 August 1985 after two months shy of 30 years active duty.
Retuning to civilian life, Dr. Goldberg moved to the Washington DC area where he spent a short period as an independent consultant with the Institute for Defense Analysis but then accepted a position with the federal government, serving another 16 years before finally retiring. During that period, he began a doctoral program in International Relations at the University of Maryland, earning a second MA in European Security but was forced to cut his studies short of the Ph.D. when the Berlin Wall fell and his dissertation subject “disappeared!” Following his second retirement in 2002, he returned to the University of Maryland as a History major and earned his Ph.D. in Modern European History in 2012.
Dr. Goldberg recently wrote the Forward to, and was the technical editor of, Jewish Aviators in World War II by Bruce Wolk and is the author of the forthcoming book on the rearming of Germany following World War II, titled From Disarmament to Rearmament: The Reversal of U.S. Policy Toward West Germany, 1946–1955, due out in October 2017 from Ohio University Press.
Original founder/producer/musican of the Ruach Revival
Howie Kahn made his Kosher River Cruise debut this past summer on the Rhine River. He entertained our guests with programs that included American folk music as well as hits from New York’s Broadway and London’s West End. Howie saved his best for last with a concert of classic Shlomo Carlebach tunes. Not only did he have all of the audience singing along, by the end of the show most of them were up and dancing to the the soulful melodies of the world-famous “Singing Rabbi.” That’s really not so surprising being that Howie was Carlebach’s accordionist in the early 1970’s performing both in America and Israel. He also was the founder/producer/vocalist/pianist of the Ruach Revival which was one of the more popular Jewish bands from that era.
For our upcoming Normandy-Seine River Cruise, Howie has prepared a few more entertaining programs which will actually fit in with our D-Day / Allied Invasion of Normandy theme. One is called “America the Beautiful” which is billed as “A Patriotic Musical Salute to the Good Ole’ USA.” The participation of England in the battle inspired Howie’s show “The British Are Coming!” This concert features many hits from the mid-1960’s of the “British Invasion” musical groups such as The Beatles plus many others. He will conclude with a special evening commemorating the 23rd Yahrzeit of the passing of Shlomo Carlebach z”l. It is called “I Heard the Rabbi Singing” and is described as “A Musical Tribute to Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach with Songs, Stories and Film.”
As Howie writes at the bottom of each of his printed programs and as we too have learned from his past performances for us on Kosher River Cruises, “A splendid time is guaranteed for all.”
Dr. Rachel Furst
Dr. Rachel Furst is a post-doctoral fellow in medieval Jewish history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and has held previous fellowships at Freie Universitaet Berlin, Oxford University, and New York University Law School. She received her Ph.D. and M.A. from Hebrew University and her B.A. from Barnard College. She is also a graduate of advanced Talmud and Jewish law programs, and has taught and lectured at numerous institutions of Jewish studies in Israel, the United States, and Europe. She is co-author, together with Rabbi David Silber, of “A Passover Haggadah: Go Forth and Learn”.
Dr. Furst will offer a series on the origins, social and communal structure, and culture of Medieval Ashkenaz, weaving together her talmudic and historical acumen. Give her podcasts a listen here..
Rabbi Shmuel (Stewart) Weiss
Rabbi Stewart Weiss was educated at the Bet Midrash L’Torah – Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, Illinois, where he received his Semicha and degrees in Hebrew Literature and Practical Rabbinics.
Rabbi Weiss served in various pulpits and was head Jewish chaplain at Rush Medical Center in Chicago before making Aliyah in 1992. Rabbi Weiss founded and directs the Jewish Outreach Center in Ra’anana, offering religious and educational programs to olim.
Rabbi Weiss is a regular columnist for the Jerusalem Post, and lectures frequently around the world. He regularly leads tours to places of interest around the world. He is also a member of the Ra’anana City Council.
Rabbi Weiss will take a leading role in our minyanim and Shabbat programming, and will offer several Torah-themed classes and activities on board.
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