Past Festivals - 2017 Guests

Viki Auslender

Viki Auslender completed her Masters inPolitical Science at Hebrew University in 2014. She currently resides in New York City with her partner.

Nir Baram

Nir Baram is an Israeli journalist and writer. He began publishing fiction when he was twenty-two, and is the author of three novels, including The Remaker of Dreams (2006), Good People (2010) and World Shadow (2013). His novels have been translated into 13 languages, received critical acclaim around the world, and were bestsellers in Israel and other countries. He was compared to Dostojewski in the prestigious German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Baram has been shortlisted several times for the Sapir Prize (the Israeli Booker), for Rome Prize for foreign literature, and in 2010 received the Prime Minister’s Award for Hebrew Literature.

A recent bestseller in Israel, Baram’s nonfiction book, A Land Without Border (2016), describes his one-year journey into the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Over the course of his journey Baram meets a variety of people; religious and secular settlers with different beliefs, Palestinians who never before met a Jew, political leaders and sleek businessmen. With a sharp and candid eye, Baram artfully portrays a current picture of the west bank and its inhabitants, begging the question of whether a two-state solution is still a viable reality. Baram’s work was also featured in The New Yorker, Granta, and other publications.

Born into a political family in Jerusalem in 1976, Baram’s grandfather and father were both ministers in Israeli Labor Party governments. He has worked as a journalist for Haaretz newspaper and as an editor of nonfiction books and classic novels in Am-Oved publishing house. Baram is also an advocate for equal rights for Palestinians.

Haim Barbi

Haim Barbi was born and raised in Israel. Before writing he’s first screenplay, Haim used to be a professional basketball player and a model. His first script Ibiza became the top-selling film of 2015 in Israel. Domino Street is the first film he also directed and produced. He has also acted in Ibiza, Mister Chips, and Domino Street.

Peter Beinart

Peter Beinart is Associate Professor of Journalism and Political Science at the City University of New York. He is also a Contributor to The Atlantic, a Senior Columnist at The Forward and a CNN Political Commentator. His first book, The Good Fight, was published by HarperCollins in 2006.  His second book, The Icarus Syndrome, was published by HarperCollins in 2010. His third, The Crisis of Zionism, was published by Times Books in 2012.

Beinart has written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the Boston Globe, the Atlantic, Newsweek, Slate, Reader’s Digest, Die Zeit, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and Polity: the Journal of the Northeastern Political Science Studies Association.  The Week magazine named him columnist of the year for 2004. In 2005, he gave the Theodore H. White lecture at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He has appeared on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” “Charlie Rose,” “Meet the Press,” “The Colbert Report” and many other television programs.

Beinart graduated from Yale University, winning a Rhodes scholarship for graduate study at Oxford University.  After graduating from University College, Oxford, Beinart became The New Republic’s managing editor in 1995.  He became senior editor in 1997, and from 1999 to 2006 served as the magazine’s Editor.

Ethan Bronner
Ethan Bronner is a senior editor at Bloomberg News where he edits and writes investigative and analytical pieces on national and foreign affairs. Bronner joined Bloomberg in 2015 from The New York Times where he had been deputy foreign editor, deputy national editor, assistant editorial page editor and Jerusalem bureau chief, among other positions. Earlier he had been Middle East bureau chief for The Boston Globe and deputy Israel bureau chief for Reuters. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Omri Burstyn

Omri Burstyn was born in Israel in 1985. He graduated from The Sam Spiegel Film school in 2014. In his youth, Omri was politically involved in human rights and peace movements and he worked as a counselor in a youth group. His award-winning short film At Dawn is a reflection of these experiences. The film was screened at over 30 international film festivals, including PÖFF, Tallinn Black NightsFlickers Rhode Island, Durban, and Istanbul.

Lawrence Bush

Lawrence Bush has been a creative force in the American Jewish Community for close to four decades as a writer, editor, thinker, and image-maker. He edits Jewish Currents magazine, a 72-year-old independent quarterly, and is the creator and curator of JEWDAYO, a daily history blog. Bush has also served as a writer, consultant, and editor for the Reconstructionist and Reform synagogue movements. His books include Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, BESSIE: A Novel of Love and Revolution, American Torah Toons: Fifty-Four Illustrated Commentaries, and several others.

Nili Dotan

Nili Dotan graduated from Tel Aviv University School of Film and Television with a BFA and holds a Masters Degree in Cinema and Communications from Seminar Hakibutzim. Her films have been screened on Israeli TV and Channel Thirteen in the US. She has written several plays including The Old Man and I, which was the winner of Israel’s President Award. Nili also works as a freelance journalist and has taught screenwriting at Tel Aviv University.

Rotem Faran

Rotem is a creative producer who lives and works in Tel Aviv. She graduated from Tel Aviv University’s Film and Television School. In 2016, she produced the documentary Born in Deir Yassin, a French co-production which won an honorable mention at the Jerusalem Film Festival and was featured in various other festivals worldwide. Other projects she’s been involved with include Fragile (2013), Princess (2014), Farewell Herr Schwartz (2013) and The Debt (2008). Rotem is currently working on The Pianist from Ramallah, a documentary supported by YES Docu. Rotem was the executive producer of CoPro, the Israeli Documentary Forum in 2014. Since 2016 Rotem has held the position of executive producer at Inception VR, a leading application for Virtual Reality Content.

Ben Frazer

Ben Frazer is an award-winning film/TV editor and producer with over a decade in the industry. He studied Film & Media at Johns Hopkins University, and has cut more than 200 programs for CBS, NatGeo, History, FYI, HGTV, Oxygen, TLC, and Bravo. His film work has been featured at the Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose (Jury Prize Best Doc, 2016), the Woodstock Film Festival (Finalist Best Editing, 2016), San Francisco Doc Fest, Napa Valley Film Fest, Fest do Rio, London, Madrid, and Delhi International, among others. He was born and raised in the Bronx, and currently, resides in Hollywood.

Gili Getz

Gili Getz is an Israeli-American artist, an actor and a photojournalist, and member of the J Street New York executive committee. His work in recent years has been focusing on Jewish- American politics and is published regularly in Jewish and Israeli press. He served as a photographer for the IDF and as a news editor for YNet. Gili performed across the country in numerous theatrical productions and was the recipient of the Kirk Douglas scholarship. Gili’s new play “The Forbidden Conversation” focuses on the difficulty of the Israel-Palestine conversation within the Jewish American community. His photography has been published by Princeton University Press in the new book “Trouble in the Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict over Israel” by Professor Dov Waxman.

Nadav Shlomo Giladi

Nadav Shlomo Giladi is a graduate of The Sam Spiegel Film School at Tel Aviv University. His first short film, Short on Cash (2014) with Lior Ashkenazi, was presented across France during the SNCF Crime Festival. It screened at many other festivals such as Sacramento (Best Short), LA Comedy Fest, Haifa, and short-listed for The Ophir Prize (Israeli Academy Award). Across the Line is Nadav’s third short film as a director.

Elliot Vaisrub Glassenberg

Elliot Vaisrub Glassenberg is an American-Canadian-Israeli Jewish educator and activist. Elliot is a senior educator at The Kibbutz Movement and BINA: The Jewish Movement for Social Change and a shaliach of Habonim Dror. Currently based in Chicago, Elliot leads activities and teaches throughout North America. Elliot is an activist for Jewish pluralism and inclusion, refugee rights, LGBTQ rights and human rights. His educator-activist approach focuses on the application of Judaism for social change.

Elliot is co-chair of Right Now: Advocates for Asylum Seekers in Israel, a blogger for The Times of Israel, and has published in Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post, The Jewish Week, and elsewhere. A native of Chicago, Elliot earned a B.A. from McGill University, and an M.A. in Jewish Education and an M.A. in Jewish Literature from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Elliot worked in the field of Jewish education in North America before making aliyah to Israel in 2011, where he served as Director of International Communication for BINA and became a leading activist for refugee rights in Israel.

Maysaloun Hamoud

Maysaloun Hamoud was born in Budapest and raised in the Arab village of Deir-Hana, Israel. She completed a BA in Middle Eastern history at Hebrew University and studied film at Minshar School of Art. After directing short films, In Between is her debut feature which has been honored at Toronto International Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival, and Haifa International Film Festival. Hamoud is the recipient of the Women in Motion Young Talents Award at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. 

Jen Heck

Jen Heck completed her MFA at Columbia University’s Film program in 2009. She has had her work at major film festivals including Sundance, The Hamptons, and Palm Springs, and at museums including the Whitney (Biennial 2004 with Eve Sussman) and MoMA. Her work has been on networks including MTV, HGTV, Bravo, and VH1. She has won awards at festivals for her short narrative films Airplanes and Salamander, both photographed by Martina Radwan. Her most recent project was a collaboration with Van Jones about musician Prince’s secret philanthropic work. She currently works as a documentary and TV producer and director in New York.

Mousa Kawasmeh

Mouse Kawasmeh in Jerusalem, is married with 2 daughters, and works as a hairdresser. He is a peaceful and open minded person, encouraging coexistence. He loves to make movies because he believes they make a difference and convey a certain message.

Saskia Keeley

Saskia Keeley is a photojournalist working exclusively for humanitarian organizations. Saskia has partnered with Roots multiple times to conduct photo workshops for Palestinian and Israeli women that promote dialogue and understanding between groups of women who would otherwise have no interaction. In her workshops, Saskia hosts photo intensives exclusively for women and girls. The purpose of these workshops are twofold: to develop photographic skills (20 high-quality cameras are purchased and donated to Roots for this purpose), and to foster an environment where women could interact in a daily setting with “the other side,” many for the very first time in their lives. The results are phenomenal.

Saskia has presented the results of these sessions to multiple colleges and organizations, letting them see the wonders that emerge when women meet and bond over a common tool: the camera. Her presentation starts with a short video showing poignant perspectives on the conflict from both Palestinians and Israelis. It also allows Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger and Ali Abu Awwad, two of Roots’ leaders and founders, to speak about their experience, journey and mission. Saskia then speaks about the uplifting and inspiring stories she witnesses while conducting the photo workshops and being present on a journey with these unique women.

Saskia illustrates her lecture with a slideshow of the participants working together, showing the intimate connections and relationships that are created. As she mentions in her talk, she doesn’t claim that photo workshops are the miracle solution to end the conflict — but they can be part of the necessary bridging exercise, a window for those individuals to meet, converse and see one another as human beings worthy of respect. Her work with Roots is ongoing. Her next trip to the West Bank will be in the spring of 2018 to conduct more joint photo workshops.

Sami Khader

Dr. Sami Khader is one of the few wildlife veterinarians present in the West Bank. He works for the Qalqilia Municipality, the only Palestinian zoo, as Chief Veterinary Officer. The zoo was established in 1986 by Israeli professionals for the then mayor of Qalqilia. Dr. Sami started his work at the zoo in 1999 as scholar of Dr. Motke Levison who was the chief veterinarian and one of the founders of the zoo.

When the second intifada started Dr. Motke left the zoo in the hands of Dr. Sami. The two remained in contact and collaborated till Dr. Motke death in 2014. Under Dr. Sami’s management, there was the creation of the first Natural History Museum in Palestine in 2007. Thanks to his taxidermy skills he was able to create the possibility for visitors to see animals that had been lost at the zoo. Since 2010, he has been working to build international relations with zoos in Europe. Dr. Sami is married with his wife Khitam and they have two daughters, Wejdan and Hind.

Sabrine Khoury

Sabrine Khoury was born in 1990 and grew up in Nazareth. When she was 19, she moved to Tel Aviv to study biology, but quickly switched to film studies at Tel Aviv University. In 2012, she wrote and directed her first short film, HIBA. Santé is her second short fiction film and was selected for the Jerusalem Film Festival, The Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival, Cinemed Film Festival, IFVA Film Festival in Hong Kong, and others.

Assaf Lapid

Assaf Lapid graduated with distinction from the Sam Spiegel Film & Television School in Jerusalem in 2008. Since then he has been working primarily as an editor. Among his known films are: To Kill a Bumblebee (Best Short – Valladolid International Film Festival 2010), It’s Never Too Late (Jury Award – Fribourg International Film Festival 2012), Paul (Silver Hugo Special Jury Prize – Chicago International Film Festival 2011), Farewell Herr Schwarz (Best Documentary – Dok Leipzig 2013) and Mama’s Angel (Selection – Series Mania 2016). Assaf is now directing his debut documentary feature.

Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie

Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie is the Founding Spiritual Leader of Lab/Shul NYC and the creator of Storahtelling, Inc. An Israeli-born Jewish educator, writer, and performance artist, he received his rabbinical ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 2016. Rabbi Amichai is a member of the Global Justice Fellowship of the American Jewish World Service, a founding member of the Jewish Emergent Network, a consultant to the Reboot Network, a member of the URJ Faculty Team and the Advisory Council of ORAM, an LGBT focused organization for refugees, asylum, and migration. He was a Jerusalem Fellow at the Mandel Leadership Institute in Israel (2008-2009) and serves on the advisory committee of Faith House Manhattan.

Rabbi Amichai has been hailed as “an iconoclastic mystic” by Time Out New York, a “rock star” by the New York Times, a “Judaic Pied Piper” by the Denver Westword, a “maverick spiritual leader” by The Times of Israel and “one of the most interesting thinkers in the Jewish world” by the Jewish Week. In 2016, The Forward named him one of the thirty-two “Most Inspiring Rabbis” in America. In June 2017 Rabbi Amichai published the JOY Proposal, offering a new response to the reality of Intermarriage and taking on a personal position on this issue, including his resignation from the Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative Movement.

Shlomo Mashiach

Shlomo Mashiach was born in Tel Aviv. He won the Israeli Film Academy Award three times for his television series, as well as the Grand Prize at the Series Mania Festival for Your Honor held in April 2017 in Paris.

Hilla Medalia

Peabody Award-winning, three-time Emmy nominated director and producer. Founder of Medalia Productions, a creative documentary production company operating in Israel and in the US. Her films have garnered critical acclaim and screened internationally in theaters and on television including HBO, MTV, BBC and ARTE. Among her films: Muhi – Generally Temporary (2017), Censored Voices (2017), Web Junkie (2014), The Go Go Boys (2014), Dancing in Jaffa (2013), among others. Hilla has explored the fraught relationship between Jews and Palestinians in her film To Die in Jerusalem (2007, HBO), about two teens killed in a suicide bombing

Hilla has been awarded the Paris Human Rights Festival Jury Award, Golden Warsaw Phoenix, as well as the jury award at FIPA and more. She teaches at the IDC and is a regular lecturer at The NY Film Academy, NYU, EWA (European Women’s Audiovisual Network) and the New Fund for Cinema’s Women Greenhouse on the subject of production, directing and crowdfunding.  Hilla is a mentor for the NFCT’s Business Card Program for Emerging Filmmakers she acts as lector and judge at film festivals and forums, Hilla is a board member of the Pacific Council, The Israeli Director’s Guild and The Israeli Academy of Film and Television and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  Hilla holds an M.A. from Southern Illinois University.

Ruth Messinger

Ruth W. Messinger is the inaugural Social Justice Activist in Residence at the new Joseph Stern Center for Social Responsibility at the JCC.  She works to develop programs for the Center and to infuse their work into the other divisions and departments of the JCC. From 1998 to 2016 Messinger was the CEO of American Jewish World Service (AJWS), an international human rights and development organization dedicated to promoting social justice in the developing world. She currently serves that organization as its Global Ambassador, working to engage rabbis and interfaith leaders to work against poverty and oppression.

Ruth is also the inaugural Louis Finkelstein Institute Social Justice Fellow at the Jewish Theological Seminary of New York and sits on several not-for-profit boards in and outside of the Jewish community. Previously, Ruth had a twenty-year career in public service in New York City as a city council member and Manhattan Borough President. Messinger is married to an educator and has three children, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

MK Merav Michaeli

MK Merav Michaeli has been a Member of Knesset since the 19th Knesset in 2013. Since her election to the Knesset, MK Michaeli has served on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee including its subcommittees, and the House Committee. Michaeli’s activities have extended over many issues and sectors, including; socio-economic discourse, gender equality, relationship between state and religion, LBGTQ rights, labor rights and promoting the peace process. Prior to her election to the Knesset, MK Michaeli was a senior journalist with Haaretz, regularly publishing op-eds and interviews. She also edited and hosted news and entertainment programs on both television and radio. MK Michaeli was involved in the establishment of Galgalatz and Radio Tel-Aviv radio stations and served as a lecturer in universities and colleges on media and gender.

In her political and parliamentary activity, MK Michaeli continues on her professional and ideological path. For over 20 years, MK Michaeli has been involved in feminist activism, seeking to promote women’s equality and opportunity. Similarly, MK Michaeli works to promote the rights of minorities, labor rights and the peace process. In 1997, MK Michaeli founded “Ezrat Nashim,” a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide support for victims of sexual assault. She is a member of the executive committee of the Israel Peace Initiative and a member of the management board of the Israel Women’s Network. MK Michaeli successfully spearheaded legislative initiatives providing support to individuals in substantial debt to Israel’s Collection Agency (Hotzaa-Lapoal), and workers and members of the LBGTQ Community. MK Michaeli is ranked as one of the most socially-oriented legislators.

Ilan Moskovitch

Ilan Moskovitch he is a Filmmaker, Acting Instructor and Mentor. For more then 20 years, Ilan Moskovitch has been an integral player and a senior partner in the Israeli film industry, where he has been the Producer, Casting Director, Director and Artistic Consultant for mor then 30 films

Salem Pearce

Salem Pearce is a congregational organizer with T’ruah. She is in her final year at Hebrew College Rabbinical School in Boston, Mass. During her time there, she has served as the rabbinic intern at Nehar Shalom Community Synagogue and at the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts, and she was the Community Organizer at Temple Israel of Boston. She was also a mikveh guide at Mayyim Hayyim Living Waters Community Mikveh and a member of the Community Hevre Kadisha of Greater Boston.

She trained to be a chaplain at Bellevue Hospital in New York City and has been a student fellow with Rabbis Without Borders; American Jewish World Service’s Global Justice Fellowship for Rabbinical and Graduate Students; and T’ruah’s Rabbinical and Cantorial Summer Fellowship in Human Rights. Before going to rabbinical school, Salem lived and worked in Washington, D.C., as a fundraiser for several nonprofit organizations and volunteered for and served on the board of the DC Rape Crisis Center. A native Texan, Salem received a B.A. in Classics from the University of Texas at Austin.

Gal Peleg

Gal Peleg is the Deputy Regional Director, New York and Southern Connecticut. Gal has joined J Street with over a decade of nonprofit expertise from his extensive work in conflict resolution, leadership development, and community outreach and empowerment in both Israel and the United States. Most recently, Gal served simultaneously as the Central Shaliach of Hashomer Hatzair Youth Movement in North America, as well as the Israel Representative for the Givat Haviva Educational Foundation in the United States. Hashomer Hatzair is a progressive Zionist youth movement that specializes in youth-led experiential Jewish Education, and Givat Haviva is the authority on and birthplace of Shared Society in Israel.

Previously in Israel, Gal held the position of International Development Manager for Mifalot, an Israeli nonprofit that aims to create social change through educational projects targeting young people. Gal was also the Director of the Sports Department at the Peres Center for Peace in Israel, which promotes regional and national peace-building efforts. Gal holds an MA in Conflict Resolution and Mediation from the Tel Aviv University, and a BA with honors in Communications and International Relations from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is also a graduate of the Columbia Business School’s Senior Leaders Program for Nonprofit Professionals. Born on Kibbutz Sdot-Yam, Gal now lives in New York City with his husband Moshe.

Hai Piasezky

Hai Piasezky is the Upper West Side community Shaliach (Emissary). He is 32 years old, from Moshav Gea, Israel. Lives in NYC with his wife Riki, two years old daughter Carmel and a newborn baby daughter Yarden. Hai runs the UWS Israel Shlichut program (sponsored by UJA and JAFI), and in charge of the Shinshinim program. He works with the UWS Jewish communities about engaging with Israel and creating shared projects and events for the communities.

Hai holds a BA in general history and Israel Studies and a pedagogical degree from Ben Gurion University.  Hai also earned an MBA in the Social Leadership Program from Ben Gurion University and the Mandel Foundation.  Before he moved to New York, Hai worked for the JDC’s Institute for leadership and governance, as a Program Director in the Western Negev.  There he worked with CEOs, senior staff, and mayors in the municipalities and cities in the Western Negev and facilitated collaborations, multi-sectoral partnerships, and leadership development.

Craig Piper

Craig Piper is the Director of City Zoos & Director of Central Park Zoo and the Wildlife Conservation Society. He completed undergraduate and graduate degrees in Architecture and Zoology from the University of Michigan and further graduate study at The Georgia Institute of Technology. Prior to joining WCS in September 2013 as Director of City Zoos, Craig worked for 12 years at Zoo Atlanta followed by 16 years at Denver Zoo. He has held positions in animal care, education, research, exhibit design and construction as well as administration. He has been recognized for developing a number of award winning zoo exhibits and innovative education programs during his zoo career.

He has served on several boards and professional committees and has held leadership roles with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).  He has served as Chair of the Conference Committee, Chair of the Board of Ethics, Vice Chair of the Board of Regents, and served on AZA’s Board of Directors.  He currently serves as a member of the AZA’s Professional Development Committee and as a member of the Accreditation Commission.

Heidi Rosbe

Heidi Rosbe serves as Deputy Director for Encounter. She has spent over a decade designing and implementing conflict resolution and cultural dialogue programs worldwide for various organizations including the United Nations Development Program and the Women’s Refugee Commission. Prior to Encounter, she served as the Associate Director of the Arab American Association of New York, a nonprofit family services and cultural center for Arab immigrants. She is a trained mediator and speaks some Arabic, French, and Spanish. In addition to her work with Encounter, Heidi is an Adjunct Lecturer at NYU’s Center for Global Affairs, teaching their “Peacemaking and Peacebuilding” graduate course. Heidi holds a Master of International Affairs degree (2010), focused on Human Rights, Conflict, and Gender Policy from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).

Rasool Saada

Rasool Saada joined The Abraham Fund in January 2017 as the Director of Safe Communities. Before joining, Rasool was the Knesset and Government Relations Officer at Sikkuy. At the National Students Union, he was head of the department for advancing Arab students in the National Students Union. Rasool received his Bachelor of Law from Bar Ilan University and is a member of the Israeli Bar Association. Additionally, he is the current Vice-Chair of the Young Lawyers Committee at the Israeli Bar Association.

Guy Sahaf

Guy Sahaf is an Israeli cinematographer and a graduate of the 5-year program at The Sam Spiegel Film & Television School, Xlass of 2016. With over a dozen shorts shot in less than 4 years, his short film work has been recognized with the Outstanding Cinematography Award at the International Tel Aviv Film Festival. Our Heroes is his 4th collaboration with director Yair Agmon, with their previous effort, The Arrest, competing at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival. Our Heroes will also screen this month at Camerimage, the world’s leading cinematography festival.

Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger

Hanan Schlesinger is an Orthodox rabbi, teacher, and passionate Zionist settler who has been profoundly transformed by his friendship with Palestinians.  Originally hailing from New York, Rav Hanan made Aliyah on his own at the age of 20 and has lived over the green line, in Alon Shvut, Gush Etzion, for over 30 years. He has spent over 10 years learning in Israeli Talmudic seminaries and also studied towards a MA in Jewish Philosophy at Hebrew University. His professional career has been dedicated to teaching Jewish studies in various colleges and seminaries in the Jerusalem area and in the US.

It was in Dallas about 9 years ago that he became involved in interfaith work, first with Christians and then with Muslims. There he founded Faiths in Conversation, a framework for Jewish-Christian-Muslim theological dialogue. This experience inspired him to meet Muslims and Christians back in Israel. Although always drawn to pluralism and deeply empathic for the other, Hanan had never formed a personal relationship with a Palestinian until he returned to Gush Etzion from Dallas. The meetings were so meaningful that he found himself part of the small team that founded Roots/Shorashim/Judur and has dedicated himself to bringing reconciliation to that tiny sliver of land that both Palestinians and Israelis call home.

Obada Shtaya

Obada Shtaya was born and raised in Nablus, Palestine, and is the current Regional Director of the OneVoice Movement for the Mid-Atlantic region. After earning his undergraduate degree in English Literature, Obada worked in multiple management positions for non-profit and for-profit companies. In August 2015, he decided to move to the US after receiving a Fulbright Scholarship to pursue his MS in conflict resolution. Obada describes his high school and undergrad years as a life laboratory where “one could experiment with ideas and opportunities to decide what’s yet to come.” A strong believer in the important role and potential of students, Obada was one of the founders of the OneVoice on Campus fellowship program, which provides American students with an opportunity to engage in constructive activism, especially surrounding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. In his leisure time, Obada like to hike, travel, practice Karate and explore history.

Shady Srour

Shady Srour is an actor, screenwriter, director, and producer of film, theater, and TV, and a lecturer at the Open University. He has B.A. degree from Tel Aviv University in theater acting and M.F.A in filmmaking from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco. Shady was involved in the film 24 Hours Jerusalem, which won the German TV Award for Best Documentary in 2014. He was the lead in the Oscar-nominated short film Ave Maria. Holy Air is his feature debut. It was selected for the Tribeca Film Festival in the International Competition.

Meg Sullivan

Meg Sullivan is the Founder and Director of Project Harmony Israel (PHI), the official English language summer camp of the Hand in Hand: Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel network of schools. PHI opened in Jerusalem in 2010 serving 25 campers, and in 2017 launched a second site in Wadi Ara and now serves around 200 campers each summer. Meg is also the Director of Programs & Community Engagement for JCC Harlem: An initiative of JCC Manhattan, which opened in January 2017. She earned a BA from the University of Chicago where she wrote her thesis on restorative justice in deeply divided societies, and an MS in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution from Columbia University where her capstone focused on trans-boundary water management mechanisms in the Jordan River.

Mordechai Vardi

Rabbi Mordechai Vardi is a director, producer, and screenwriter. He is the head of the screenwriting department at The Ma’aleh School of Television, Film and the Arts in Jerusalem. Vardi graduated with a Master’s Degree in Film and Television from Tel Aviv University. He served as artistic advisor for the Israeli Film Fund. For 18 years he has served as Rabbi of Kibbutz Rosh Tsurim. He wrote the script for a TV program that aired on Israeli television and IBA Channel 1. He also directed a documentary which aired on Channel 2 and Mom is Not Crazy (2014) which aired on YES-Docu. The Field (2017) is his fourth film.

Asaf Weitzen

Asaf Weitzen is a human rights lawyer at the forefront of the struggle for the rights of refugees in Israel. For the last six years Asaf was Director of the Legal Department at the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants – Israel’s leading organization protecting the rights of refugees, migrant workers, and victims of human trafficking. Asaf has lead high profile cases preventing illegal deportations and releasing hundreds of detainees held in Israel’s immigration detention centers. He was a leading attorney in the case resulted in three historical High Court rulings overturning the Anti-Infiltration Law. In 2016 Asaf secured status for Mutasim Ali, the first Sudanese asylum seeker to be recognized as a refugee in Israel.