Speaker Biographies

Dr. Michael Berenbaum

Dr. Michael Berenbaum is a writer, lecturer, and teacher consulting on the conceptual development of museums and the content and conceptual development of historical films. He is currently the director of the Sigi Ziering Institute and adjunct professor of theology at the University of Judaism. He’s also been the executive editor of the New Encyclopaedia Judaica, a second edition of the monumental 1972 work, which now consists of 22 volumes. For three years, he was president and chief executive officer of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation. In addition, served three years as director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and from 1988-93, he served as project director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, overseeing its creation. Also authored and edited 16 books, scores of scholarly articles and hundreds of journalistic pieces.

Dr. Zohara Boyd

Dr. Zohara Boyd was born in Piotrkow Trybunalski, Poland, on April 17, 1942. Piotrkow was the first ghetto established by the Nazis after Germany invaded Poland. Zoharra’s family obtained false baptismal certificates and managed to escape to Warsaw shortly before the general deportations to Aushwitz began. She and her parents survived the war by “walking on the Aryan side” as in plain sight was called. Dr. Boyd has a PH.D. in early American literature from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and has taught at Appalachian State University since 1977. In 2003, she was named as the co-director of the Center of Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies.

Dr. Rennie Brantz

Dr. Rennie Brantz has taught German history at Appalachian State University since 1973. He directed Appalachian’s Freshman Seminar program from 1990 to 2004 and served as co-director of ASU’s Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies from 2003 until 2013. He has held the I.G. Greer Professorship in History, received grants from the German Government (DAAD), National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Fulbright Commission. In 1997, he was named Outstanding Freshman Advocate by the National Resource Center for the Freshman Year Experience, and in 2002 he received the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching.  In 2005, Brantz received the Jimmy Smith Service  Award from the ASU College of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. John Cox

John Cox is an associate professor of Holocaust and genocide studies at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte. For the last five years, he served as director of the Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Human Rights Studies at Florida Gulf Coast University. Dr. Cox has authored two books, essays, articles, and book reviews on a variety of historical and political topics for scholarly and popular periodicals and has lectured widely on Jewish resistance. He is also a founding member of the editorial board of the journal, the Journal of Jewish Identities. John earned his M.A. at Brandeis in 1998 and completed his doctorate at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 2005. He is a graduate of Appalachian State, where he earned his B.A. in history.

Lee Holder

Lee Holder is the teacher-in-residence at this year’s symposium. He is a social studies teacher, as well as the department head at North Lenoir High School, LaGrange, North Carolina. He has been a member of the North Carolina Council on the Holocaust since 2000. Lee has extensive experience in Holocaust education and has attended numerous workshops sponsored by the North Carolina Council on the Holocaust. In addition, he has given presentations at the North Carolina Council on the Social Studies State Conference, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Belfer Conference, and the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching. In 2008, he participated in a ten-day Holocaust educational trip to Germany and Poland. Lee is the 2010/2011 United States recipient of the Irena Sendler “Repairing the World” Award. In 2011, he participated in the Centropa Summer Academy held in Cracow, Vienna, and Sarajevo.

Dr. Rosemary Horowitz

Rosemary Horowitz is a professor of English at Appalachian State University. Her research interests are in literacy and translation studies, with a particular focus on the Jewish community. She has written extensively on the yizkor volumes published under the auspices of landsmanshaftn. In addition to authoring “Literacy and Cultural Transmission in the Reading, Writing, Rewriting Jewish Memorial Books” and writing numerous articles on other subjects, such as young adult literature, she is the editor of the collections “Elie Wiesel and the Art of Storytelling” and “The Memorial Books of Eastern European Jewry.” Another collection, “The Legacy of Yiddish Women Writers,” is forthcoming.

Kathy Kacer

Kathy Kacer writes for young readers. Her novels are stories of hope, courage, and humanity in the face of adversity. Examples of her Holocaust historical fiction are Secret of Gabi’s Dresser, Night Spies, Clara’s War, and The Diary of Laura’s Twin. Examples of her historical non-fiction are The Underground Reporters and Hiding Edith. Her books have won the Silver Birch, Red Maple, Hackmatack, and Jewish Book awards. They have been published in Germany, China, Slovenia, Thailand, England, Japan, Belgium, and other countries.

Dr. Lynda Moss

Dr. Lynda Moss received her BA in Cultural Anthropology and Art History from George Washington University, her MA in Art Education from the City College of the City University of New York, and has conducted doctoral work in Cultural Studies at The University of North Carolina Greensboro. For the past 40 years, she has been first and foremost a teacher at university and high school levels. Lynda teaches teachers as the Director of Holocaust Education Workshops for the North Carolina Council on the Holocaust, a state agency that is a part of the NC Department of Public Instruction. Lynda’s interest in Holocaust Education began as a personal matter having grown up in close proximity to Holocaust survivors, who would no speak of their past. She began a life-long drive to study and teach about the Holocaust, compelled to speak for those survivors who were unable to speak about their own lives.

Dr. Harry Reicher

Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia and raised in Australia, Harry Reicher lives in the Boro Park section of Brooklyn.  He is a graduate of law schools in Australia,  as well of Harvard law school.  From 1995-2004, he represented Agudath Israel World Organization at the United Nations. In that capacity, he practiced international law and diplomacy, in the field of human rights, with special emphasis on freedom of religion, protection and preservation of cultural heritage and property (especially Jewish cemeteries in Eastern Europe), as well as education.  Reicher has taught at the University of Pennsylvania law school. He teaches international human rights and has developed a new discipline, fusing Holocaust studies with law, revolving around a course entitled Law and the Holocaust.  He is  currently scholar-in-residence at Touro Law Center.  In 2004, he was appointed by President George W. Bush as a member of the U.S .Holocaust Memorial Museum, where he served until 2008.

Dr. Simon P. Sibelman

Recepient of the Leon Levine Distinguished Professor of Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies, he received his PhD in French Literature. He has been a teacher since 1972, working with children, college students, and adults in numerous settings in the United States and England. He teaches Jewish, Holocaust, memory, and literature subjects. His research covers those same topics. In 2009, he joined the staff of the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond. He was the assistant director at first and then served as the executive director. In those roles, he honed his administrative and fundraising skills. Since arriving at Appalachian State University, he has taught Advance French Conv., Tragedy in French Lit., and Holocaust Lit. in Translation.