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Hope Against Hate


3 Amazing Events: Join us for Any – or All.


Fight or Flight: A Conference on the Modern Jewish Community

12pm to 5pm

$36 Conference fee

* Includes admission to the screening of “Denial” following the conference, and evening presentation by Deborah E. Lipstadt.

Learn More / Breakout Sessions

Hosted by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, this conference will offer a variety of in-depth sessions on the profound challenges—and opportunities—facing Jewish communities today.

With Keynote Speakers Deborah E. Lipstadt, Author of “Denial: Holocaust History on Trial,” and Alan Gill, JDC Executive Vice President Emeritus

Breakout Sessions will include:

  • From Bosnia to Berlin: The Journey of a European Jew
    Dr. William Recant, Assistant Executive Vice President, International Development Programs, JDC
    Anja Olejnik, Representative in Berlin, JDCFrom one European war torn country in the East to a power player in the West, find out how one woman endured the challenges of growing up as a Jew in the unstable and vitriolic environment of Bosnia and Serbia, and what led her to become a change maker in the Jewish community today.
  • Confronting Anti-Semitism: A Local Perspective on Hate-Speech and Threats
    Susan K. DeClercq, U.S. Attorney’s Office – Eastern District of Michigan, Detroit, Michigan
    Daniel L. Lemisch, Acting U.S. Attorney
    Kevin Mulcahy, Executive Assistant U.S. AttorneyThe resurgence of Anti-Semitism has taken a variety of forms, both locally as well as across the globe. This seminar will look at the unique characteristics and distinctions between ‘hate speech’ and those actions that constitute ‘true threats’ to safety and security. Our panel of seasoned law enforcement professionals will also discuss the most effective responses to both of these virulent forms of Anti-Semitism.
  • The Upside of Crisis: Defining European Communities in the Face of Challenge
    Dr. William Recant, Assistant Executive Vice President, International Development Programs, JDC
    Gideon Herscher, JDC Director of International PartnershipsWithin every crisis, lies an opportunity. In the face of great adversity, European Jewish communities are compelled to explore and define what the Jewish community of 2017 will be, despite of and in response to imminent threat.
  • The Rise of Neo-Fascism
    Marilyn Mayo, Research Fellow, Center on Extremism, ADLThe emergence of neo-facist ideology has unleashed a new wave of nativist and xenophobic ideology, often leading to outright racism and Anti-Semitism. Marilyn Mayo, of the Center on Extremism of the Anti-Defamation League, shares her knowledge and insights on this disturbing new movement.
  • Squeezed from Both Sides: Young Adults and the Challenge of BDS and Anti-Semitism on Campus
    Tilly Shamus, Executive Director, University of Michigan Hillel
    Cindy Hughey, Executive Director, MSU Hillel and Hillel Campus Alliance of Michigan
    David Kurzman, Executive Director, JCRC/AJC
    Anja Olejnik, Representative in Berlin, JDC
    Maia Ferdman, Program Coordinator for Global Jewish Experiences and Fishel Fellow at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los AngelesYoung Jewish adults, on campus and in the early stages of their post-college lives are increasing exposed to ant-Semitic and anti-Israel rhetoric from both extremes of the political spectrum. A panel of professionals working with today’s ‘NextGen’ Jewish leaders examines the issues and share strategies that have successfully strengthened Jewish life and identity on campus and elsewhere, even in the face of BDS, neo-Fascism and other hostile movements.

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Speaker Biographies

Susan K. DeClercq

U.S. Attorney’s Office – Eastern District of Michigan

Susan K. DeClercq is an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District. She has been chief of the Civil Rights Unit in the Detroit U.S. Attorney’s Office since March 2014. The unit enforces federal civil rights laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, disability and other protected characteristics. The unit has successfully litigated and resolved cases in a variety of contexts including fair housing, access to public accommodations, education and law enforcement misconduct. Before serving in her current position, Ms. DeClercq was a lawyer in the office’s Civil Rights and Defensive Litigation Units. Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office in September 2004, Ms. DeClercq was an associate at the firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom in Washington, DC, and a law clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Hon. Avern Cohn from 1999-2001.

Maia Ferdman

Program Coordinator for Global Jewish Experiences and Fishel Fellow at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles

Through the Fishel Fellowship, a partnership program between the Federation in LA and JDC, Maia first volunteered with children living in a slum outside Mumbai, India for two months with JDC Entwine. She then moved to Sofia, Bulgaria for one year as a JDC Entwine Global Jewish Service Corps Fellow. While in Europe, Maia worked for the JDC and Schusterman Foundation’s initiative Junction, which provides international opportunities and programming for Jewish young adults across Europe. In this role, Maia traveled to dozens of European countries and met hundreds of European Jews who are redefining their identities and communities. Maia then went to Israel for three months, where she worked with the LA Federation’s Israel office and with Unistream, an Israeli nonprofit dedicated to teaching teenagers how to create their own start-ups. Today Maia brings her diverse global experiences to various Federation initiatives and departments. Maia is an avid reader and writer, intricate doodler, and proud sister of two younger brothers. She holds a B.A. in Global Studies and an M.A. in Latin American Studies from UCLA.

Alan H. Gill

JDC’S Executive Vice President Emeritus

Alan Gill, recently retired CEO of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, is one of the Jewish world’s transformative professional leaders. His vision and career have exemplified and put into direct action the notion of global Jewish responsibility. With more than three decades of Jewish community development, partnership building, global strategy, and innovative resource development expertise, Gill has played a central role in expanding and revolutionizing JDC’s humanitarian operation in more than 70 countries and in Israel.

Gideon Herscher

JDC Director of International Partnerships

For the past 14 years, Gideon’s primary focus at the JDC has been the development and implementation of programs and partnerships for vulnerable populations in Israel and across the globe, including Ethiopia, Rwanda, and most recently, post-earthquake Haiti and Nepal.
Gideon’s responsibilities have extended as far as Africa, where he oversees a number of JDC’s operations in Ethiopia, and as of late played a central role in the establishment of the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda – built to serve as an Israel-inspired orphan-care model for the over 1,200,000 orphans who are survivors of the Rwanda genocide in 1994.

Cindy Hughey

Executive Director, Michigan State University Hillel, Hillel Campus Alliance of Michigan, Michigan Jewish Conference

After graduating from Michigan State University in 1976, Cindy Hughey spent five years working
for Ford Motor Company in their Executive Management Program. In 1991, Cindy was hired as the first Executive Director of the Michigan Jewish Conference (MJC), a position she held until 2000. Additionally, as the MJC Executive Director, Cindy coordinated the Official State of Michigan Holocaust Commemoration, Jewish Advocacy Day and an annual Legislative Reception.

In 2000, Cindy became the Executive Director of Michigan State University Hillel. From the start, Cindy played a transformative role with Hillel, beginning with a one-year campaign to raise the funds to build the Lester and Jewell Morris Hillel Jewish Student Center where student activities now flourish. Today, MSU Hillel serves as a center for Jewish life and a hub for approximately 3,500 students on the East Lansing campus. With 36 student leaders and 26 paid student internships, MSU Hillel offers more than 200 programs per year, including two Birthright Israel trips and two-three alternative spring break programs.

Beyond her role at MSU Hillel, Cindy is the architect and Executive Director of the Hillel Campus Alliance of Michigan (HCAM), a new brand of Hillel, established in 2008 to maintain a vibrant Jewish presence on ten college campuses from Mount Pleasant to the furthest northern reaches of the Michigan Upper Peninsula. HCAM serves an additional 1,500 students statewide, providing them with the same Jewish experiences that their peers receive at schools with larger Jewish populations.

In 2012, Cindy became involved with the Michigan Jewish Conference again as the coordinator for the Ravitz Small Community Initiative, responsible for securing funding and distributing grants to 17 small Jewish communities throughout Michigan. She also continues to coordinate the Official State of Michigan Holocaust Commemoration.

David Kurzmann

Executive Director, JCRC/AJC

David Kurzmann joined the Jewish Community Relations Council of Metropolitan Detroit (JCRC) as its executive director in October 2015 after spending nearly a decade working in the Chicago Jewish community.

In July 2016, JCRC formed a partnership with American Jewish Committee (AJC) to better serve the Detroit community. David now directs JCRC/AJC: A Partnership for Community Relations and Jewish Advocacy.

Prior to joining JCRC/AJC, David worked as assistant regional director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Greater Chicago/Upper Midwest Regional Office. At ADL, David coordinated and facilitated the agency’s Confronting Anti-Semitism and Words to Action programs, which empower Jewish students to address bias in their communities. His responsibilities also included campus outreach, law enforcement initiatives, Jewish communal security programs, and the Glass Leadership Institute – a nationally recognized young leadership development program. Before working at ADL, he served as program assistant at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, where he helped coordinate the museum’s grand opening and later facilitated public programs for diverse audiences.

He currently serves on the boards of the Interfaith Community Leadership Council (IFLC) and New Detroit. David holds a B.A. in Hebrew and Jewish cultural studies and political science from the University of Michigan.

Daniel L. Lemisch

Acting U.S. Attorney

Daniel L. Lemisch is the Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. Mr. Lemisch previously served as the First Assistant, Chief of the Criminal Division and was a Deputy Chief of the Controlled Substance Unit, where he prosecuted cases involving narcotics conspiracies, money laundering and homicide. During his career as a federal prosecutor, Mr. Lemisch has also handled cases involving public corruption, health care fraud and violent crimes. Mr. Lemisch also provides international assistance on behalf of the Department of Justice on trial advocacy, public corruption and criminal procedure code reform.

Prior to joining the Department of Justice, Mr. Lemisch was a trial lawyer and Chief of Appeals at the Oakland County Prosecutors Office in Pontiac, Michigan. While at Oakland County, Mr. Lemisch prosecuted numerous felony jury trials and argued cases before the appellate courts.

Mr. Lemisch also practiced civil law in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he specialized in commercial litigation.

Mr. Lemisch graduated from Temple University, in Philadelphia, and studied law at the University of Detroit School of Law.

Deborah E. Lipstadt

Dr. Deborah E. Lipstadt is Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University in Atlanta. Her most recent book, Holocaust: An American Understanding (Rutgers, 2016) explores how America has understood and interpreted the Holocaust since 1945.

Her book History on Trial: My Day in Court With a Holocaust Denier (Ecco/HarperCollins, 2006), which has been reissued as Denial: Holocaust History on Trial (Ecco, 2016), is the story of her libel trial in London against David Irving who sued her for calling him a Holocaust denier and right wing extremist. The judge found David Irving to be a Holocaust denier, a falsifier of history, a racist, and antisemite. The book was made into the film DENIAL, starring Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, and Timothy Spall, with a screenplay by Sir David Hare.

At Emory she directs the website known as HDOT [Holocaust Denial on Trial/ ] which contains a complete archive of the proceedings of Irving v. Penguin UK and Deborah Lipstadt. It also provides answers to frequent claims made by deniers.

Lipstadt was an historical consultant to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and helped design the section of the Museum dedicated to the American Response to the Holocaust. She has held and currently holds a Presidential appointment to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council (from Presidents Clinton and Obama) and was asked by President George W. Bush to represent the White House at the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. At the US Holocaust Museum Lipstadt chairs the Committee on Antisemitism and State Sponsored Holocaust Denial.

She is currently writing a book, The Antisemitic Delusion: Letters to a Student which will be published in 2018.

Marilyn Mayo

Research Fellow, Center on Extremism ADL

Marilyn Mayo is a research fellow with the Anti-Defamation League, one of the country’s oldest and most respected civil rights organizations. She has been with the ADL for more almost 20 years. Mayo is an expert on right-wing extremists in the United States. She often speaks to the media and law enforcement about the activities of hate groups across the country. She has worked on numerous reports for ADL, including, “Immigrants Targeted: Extremist Rhetoric Moves into the Mainstream,” which examines the virulent anti-immigrant and anti-Hispanic rhetoric employed by groups that are perceived as legitimate advocates against illegal immigration in America; “Army of Hate: The Resurgence of Racist Skinheads in America” and “Unraveling Anti-Semitic 9/11 Conspiracy Theories.” Mayo received her B.A. from Barnard College in New York and her M.A. from the City University of New York Graduate Center. She is a native of New York City where she still lives and works.

Kevin Mulcahy

Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney

Kevin Mulcahy is the Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney. Kevin served as Chief of the General Crimes Unit for five years before becoming the Executive AUSA. He has also served as a trial and appellate lawyer in the office. Before joining this office in 2005, Kevin practiced law at the firm of Morrison and Foerster in Palo Alto, California, and served as a prosecutor at the San Diego U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Anja Olejnik

Representative in Berlin, JDC

Growing up in a small city in Bosnia, Anja Olejnik had no contact with other Jews, and didn’t even know she was Jewish until she was in elementary school. But at age 11, when she and her brother were sent to live with their grandmother in Belgrade to escape the war in Bosnia, Anja began to understand – and experience – the importance of Jewish community. “My grandmother suddenly had to take care of two kids, and she needed help,” Anja says. JDC and the Jewish community provided them with clothing, medical care, Passover packages and other assistance. “The Jewish community was the only place where we felt we were welcome and someone cared for us,” Anja recalls. “It meant a lot to us.” Anja adds that some of her relatives who lived in Bosnia were literally saved by JDC, which helped them relocate during the war.

Dr. William Recant

Assistant Executive Vice President, International Development Programs, JDC

Among his responsibilities is the development and coordination of projects relating to the Rescue, Relief and Renewal of Jewish communities worldwide.

Before joining JDC, Will served as the Executive Director of the American Association for Ethiopian Jews where he established the Congressional Caucus for Ethiopian Jews and advocated on behalf of the Ethiopian Jewry movement. The end result of his efforts was Operation Solomon, one of the largest resettlement operations of the 20th century.

Andrea Siegel

JDC Ralph I. Goldman Fellow in International Jewish Communal Service 2008-2009; Former JDC- Entwine Director of Jewish Learning

As JDC Entwine’s former Director of Jewish Learning, Andrea designed education strategy across Entwine’s continuum of programming for young adults. She continues to consult for Entwine, inspired by the risks and opportunities of inclusive Jewish global responsibility at a time of tremendous change in Jewish life. 

Andrea was JDC’s 2008-2009 Ralph I. Goldman Fellow in International Jewish Communal Service. During this time, she researched chaplaincy and family caregiver support programs with ESHEL in Jerusalem, led Hebrew poetry groups for Alzheimer’s patients in Tel Aviv, and crafted young adult leadership training with the Jewish community of Turkey.

Andrea earned her Ph.D. in Middle East, South Asian, and African Cultures at Columbia University in 2011. She has taught Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan and served as Acting Director of the Jewish Communal Leadership Program in the School of Social Work. Andrea has also been a visiting faculty member at Pepperdine University and the State University of New York, Purchase College. She is an alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship and the Dorot Fellowship in Israel. Academic interests include medical humanities and engaged learning pedagogies. She and her husband live in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Tilly Shames

Executive Director, University of Michigan Hillel

Tilly has worked with Hillels in Toronto and Michigan for 13 years in various positions, including Director of Israel Affairs and Associate Director, before becoming Executive Director at the University of Michigan in 2012. Tilly brings to Michigan, along with her Canadian accent, a passion for youth engagement, community-building, pluralism, women’s advancement, and social justice. She holds a master’s degree in International Affairs and a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and Political Science. Tilly previously taught at Holy Blossom Temple’s high school in Toronto, and worked at the Canada-Israel Committee and United Nations Environment Program. She is currently a Wexner Field Fellow and the Chair of UM’s Association of Religious Counselors. She loves art, traveling, yoga, anything food related, and diving into a conversation about our Jewish future.

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Special Screening: “Denial”

5pm to 7:30pm

Based on the acclaimed book “Denial: Holocaust History on Trial,” Denial (starring Academy Award® winner Rachel Weisz) recounts Deborah E. Lipstadt’s legal battle for historical truth against David Irving (Timothy Spall) who accused her of libel when she declared him a Holocaust denier.

A minimum pledge of $18 to the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit’s 2017 Annual Campaign is required.

* If you are attending the afternoon conference, or have already made a pledge, no additional donation is necessary.


Deborah E. Lipstadt discusses “Denial: Holocaust History on Trial”

7:30pm to 9pm

Professor Lipstadt shares her spellbinding account of the experiences which led to her book, “Denial: Holocaust History on Trial,” as well as her insights into the lasting legacy of Anti-Semitism in Europe and elsewhere today.

A minimum pledge of $18 to the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit’s 2017 Annual Campaign is required.

* If you are attending the afternoon conference, or have already made a pledge, no additional donation is necessary.


Online registration is currently closed. Walk-ins are welcome

Event Chairs:

Penny Blumenstein
Matthew Lester

Host Committee:

Nora Barron
Michael Berger
Mandell ‘Bill’ Berman z”l (Hon.)
Roselyn Blanck
Richard Broder
Molly Chernow
Kevin Elbinger
Diane Goldstein
Nancy Grosfeld
Doreen Hermelin
Robert Hertzberg
Betsy Heuer
Sue E. Kaufman
Linda Z. Klein
Mark Kowalsky
Dr. Richard Krugel
Hannan Lis
Beverly Liss
Ilana Liss
Steven Margolin
Sandra Muskovitz Danto
Marcie Orley
Dulcie Rosenfeld
Benjamin Rosenthal
Deborah Rosenthal
Marta Rosenthal
Brian Satovsky
Jeffrey Schlussel
Jane Sherman
Ronald Sollish
Laurence Tisdale
Sylvia Wolf
Jeremy Wolfe

In partnership with: