Presenters

Nic Abery is the Director of LooktoLearn and an education consultant for Educating for Impact and PaJES UK. She has over 20 years of experience in education with a specialism in the integration of Jewish and secular education. Most recently she curated Israel70: Building Artistic Connections education project engaging over 15000 students and visitors. She lives in London with her husband and two sons.

Nic Abery

Laura Ben-David lives her passions which include Israel, the Jewish people & humanity. A prolific writer & photographer, she uses her craft to share her loves and to build bridges between peoples. Originally from NY, she made aliyah from Florida in 2002. Laura is the author of the book, 'Moving Up: An Aliyah Journal'. She can usually be found on an adventure somewhere, collecting anecdotes and photos.

Laura Ben-David

Tamás (Tomi) Büchler is currently the director of the Israeli Cultural Institute in Budapest. Previously he worked for the Jewish Agency's Global Leadership Institute, as the director of Minyanim, a network of young Jewish community activists from Europe. He holds an M.A. in Law and Political Science and undertook teacher training in Jewish studies. He also graduated from the University of Haifa’s program in Peace and Conflict Studies. He passionately believes in the potential and future of European Jewry.

Tamás Büchler

Mercédesz Czimbalmos is a doctoral candidate at Åbo Akademi University in comparative religion with educational background in Jewish studies, comparative religion and cultural studies. Currently she is working an an archival project at the Jewish Community of Helsinki, and simultanously writing her doctoral dissertation about intermarriages in Finnish Jewish communities.

Mercédesz Czimbalmos

Laura Ekholm työskentelee talous- ja sosiaalihistorian tutkijatohtorina valtiotieteellisessä tiedekunnassa Helsingin yliopistossa. Hänen väitöskirjansa Boundaries of an Urban Minority: The Helsinki Jewish Community from the end of Imperial Russia to the 1970s (2013) käsitteli Helsingin juutalaisyhteisöä. Hän on tutkinut muun muassa Narinkka-torin ja Helsingin juutalaisten kauppiaiden merkitystä valmisvaatteiden tuonnissa Suomen markkinoille. Tällä hetkellä hän tutkii vaatetusteollisuutta Ruotsissa ja Suomessa. Ekholm on yksi Le Chaim! - Kuvia Suomen juutalaisten historiasta (2006) sekä Kyläkoulu keskellä kaupunkia - Helsingin Juutalainen Yhteiskoulu 100 vuotta (2018) kirjoittajista.

Laura Ekholm

Jorge Gershon born in Melilla, North Africa and studied business in Seville, Spain. He worked in Cordoba promoting the Jewish Museum call Casa de Sefarad. When he was living in Cracow, Poland, he become volunteer at JCC and he participate in Beit Krakow, the Progressive Jewish Community, discovering the integration of the "Polish Hidden Jews". He became a member of MASA-Masul Ishi, and passed one year in Tel Aviv, where he was educated in Jewish Studies and in Jewish Leadership. Today he is the Cultural Manager at Jewish Center of Seville and also in Seville he is Member Board of Beit Rambam, the local Jewish Community. He created DU-KIUM, a fundamental cross-cultural project for all those who wish to rediscover Judaism in Spain and he is co-founder of Makom Sefarad a cultural project dedicated to facilitating spaces of dialog and coexistence through activities and programs connected to the history and legacy of Jewish Spain.

Jorge Gershon

Mark Halawa was born and raised in Kuwait to an Arab Muslim family of a Palestinian background. All along, Mark knew his maternal grandmother was Jewish, but never knew this made him a Jew. In 2004, while a University student in Canada, Mark came across a popular Rabbi and professor of philosophy from Harvard, Dr Yitzchak Block, who informed him that by Jewish law he is actually Jewish, making Mark the enemy he grew up learning to hate. Mark’s curiosity brought him to start learning about Judaism. A few years later, an impactful trip to Poland and a visit to Israel in 2009, made him fall in love with the Jewish people. In 2010, Mark decided to make Israel his home and has since become a liaison between Israeli and Middle Eastern businesses, and an outspoken an outspoken advocate for Israel. Mark and his Israeli-Finnish wife currently live in Jerusalem with their 2 daughters.

Mark Halawa

Professori, fil. tri Tapani Harviainen on toiminut Helsingin yliopiston seemiläisten kielten professorina vuosina 1984–2009 ja eläkkeelle siirryttyään seemiläisten kielten ja kulttuurien dosenttina. Hänen erityisalojaan ovat heprean kielen äännehistoria, aramealaisten loitsumaljojen kieli, Vanhan testamentin suomennostyö, Itä-Euroopan karaiimit ja heidän hepreansa sekä Venäjän Kansalliskirjaston (Pietari) heprealais-arabialaiset Firkovich-kokoelmat.

Tapani Harviainen

Hautausyhdistys Chevra Kadisha on perustettu vuonna 1864, ja se on Suomen juutalaisen yhteisön vanhin yhdistys.

Chevra Kadishan pääasiallisena tehtävänä on huolehtia Helsingin juutalaisen seurakunnan jäsenten hautaamisesta. Hautausyhdistykseen kuuluu n. 60 vapaaehtoistyöntekijänä toimivaa mies- ja naisjäsentä. He huolehtivat hautaamiseen liittyvistä järjestelyistä noudattaen tarkasti juutalaisen hautausperinteen mukaisia tapoja.

Chevra Kadisha Helsinki

Docent Ruth Illman, director of the Donner Institute for Research in Religion and Culture, Åbo Akademi and PI of the research project Boundaries of Jewish Identities in Contemporary Finland (2019-2022)

Ruth Illman

Vibeke Kieding Banik (b. 1970) holds a phd in Jewish history from the University of Oslo. She is currently an associate professor at the University of Southeastern Norway and a researcher at The Norwegian Center for Holocaust and Minority Studies. She is also writing a book on the history of Jews in Norway.

Vibeke Kieding Banik

Vadim Kulikov was born in 1986 in Soviet Russia. He obtained his PhD in mathematics at the University of Helsinki in 2011 after which he worked as a researcher in Vienna, Helsinki and most recently as a lecturer at Aalto University. During his stay in Vienna he also studied cognitive science and obtained a second master's degree. His research interest is in set theory, model theory, foundations of mathematics, philosophy and cognitive science of mathematics as well as mathematics and philosophy of artificial intelligence. Outside of academia Vadim is a member of the team developing children's mathematics app NoBoxToday.

Vadim Kulikov

Simon Livson was born in Jerusalem and lived in Mevaseret Zion for 7 years. Son of a Finnish Jewish couple. Moved 1989 with his parents to central Finland and went through the non-Jewish school system. Got more interested in halachic Judaism when serving in the Finnish army, studied and graduated from business administration (BA), followed by Yeshivat Mayanot in Jerusalem for a summer programme in 2006. Went on to study at Yeshivat Hamivtar in 2007. Married Sivan Glazer-Livson and graduated in 2010. Rabbi Livson has three rabbinical ordinations. One from Hamivtar, one from Dayan Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg and one from YCT, New York, where he studied from his third rabbinical ordination 2010-2012. Simon Livson started working as the rabbi of Helsinki on 01 July 2012, and was inducted as Chief Rabbi of Finland half a year later. He supervises all religious matters in Finland. He has four children, loves Judaism and Am Israel.

Simon Livson

FT Simo Muir toimii vierailevana tutkijana University College Londonissa sekä on mukana Åbo Akademin ”Boundaries of Jewish Identities in Finland” -hankkeessa. Muir on väitellyt Helsingissä puhutusta jiddishin kielestä vuonna 2004 ja on julkaissut paljon suomenjuutalaisten historiasta ja kulttuurista.

Simo Muir

Galith Nadbornik is born in Strasbourg, France to a Moroccan-Jewish family where food is always on the table, whether in speech or in essence. 

Galith is a food enthusiast that accepts only the best when it comes to food. Her passion is so deep that she co-founded the very popular Hungry in Helsinki-blog, 

that has been featured globally in Vogue and airline magazines such as Qatar Airways when they want to encourage people to travel to Finland. 

She has a Masters degree in Real Estate Finance from the esteemed Aalto University and is the Vice-President and CIO of a large Finnish multinational company. 

Galith is a big believer in thriving Jewish communities even in the smallest of places and she likes to occasionally volunteer in food related tasks.

Galith Nadbornik

György Németh was born on 25 June 1956 in Kaposvár, Hungary. In 1980 he finished his studies in Hungarian Language and Literature and History at the Faculty of Arts, ELTE, Budapest, and, in 1982 in Ancient Greek. In 1982 he received his summa cum laude doctor's degree under the supervision of Professor István Hahn. In 1981 he began to work in the Department of Ancient History at ELTE. He took part and presented papers in many international conferences. He was guest professor in Clermont-Ferrand (Université Blaise Pascal). In 2007 he became head of the Department of Ancient History at ELTE, Budapest. His fields of research include archaic and classical Greece, internal politics of Athens in the 5thc. B.C., Greek epigraphy and Greek magic.

György Németh

Dóra Pataricza (b. 1982, Budapest) is a historian with a PhD in Linguistics. She has been working as a post-doc researcher in two archival projects at the Helsinki Jewish Community and the Szeged Jewish Community (Hungary). She is a researcher in the project “Boundaries of Jewish Identities in Contemporary Finland” (PI: Ruth Illman), her research topic is Finnish Jewish food culture. Besides being a guide at the synagogue, Dóra is a member of the board of WIZO as well as the programme manager of Limud Helsinki. She has 4 children with her husband, András. She loves reading and she is an enthusiastic genealogist.

Dóra Pataricza

Lena Roos is professor of the Study of Religions at Södertörn University, Stockholm. She has published extensively on Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations, Judaism in the Middle Ages and in contemporary times, as well as topic like religion and food, religion and sexuality and religion and popular culture.

Lena Roos

Rukhl Schaechter is the editor of the Yiddish Forward (Forverts) and is both the first woman to hold that position since its founding in 1897 and the first editor of the Forverts to be born in the US. She also co-hosts Yiddish cooking videos with food scholar and gourmet chef Eve Jochnowitz. Rukhl is a graduate of Barnard College and has a masters in early childhood education from Bank Street College. She is the mother of three grown sons, all fluent in Yiddish, and a 2-year old grandson who speaks Yiddish, too.

Rukhl Schaechter

Pirkko-Liisa Schulman on arkkitehti ja kirjailija. Hän suoritti arkkitehdin tutkinnon Teknillisessä korkeakoulussa ja Master of Environmental Design -tutkinnon arkkitehtuurihistoriassa ja -teoriasssa Yalen yliopistossa. Sitä ennen hän opiskeli Taideteollisessa korkeakoulussa taideaineita ja sisustussuunnittelua. Hän on suunnitellut mm. Helsingin synagogan restauroinnin, seurakuntakeskuksen ja koulun korjauksen, mikven ja synagogan julkisivujen restauroinnin sekä Pyhän Henrikin katedraalin katon ja kellotornin korjauksen. Hän on työskennellyt suunnittelijana myös Englannissa ja Yhdysvalloissa. Hän on opettanut Yalessa ja Teknillisessä korkeakoulussa ja luennoinut ulkomailla. Hän on kirjoittanut useita kirjoja ja artikkeleita. Hän on jäsen Euroopan juutalaista arkkitehtuuria tutkivassa Bet Tfila -järjestössä, joka toimii Braunschweigin teknillisessä yliopistossa ja Heprealaisen yliopiston Center for Jewish Art -laitoksessa.

Pirkko-Liisa Schulman

John Simon is an American Jewish writer, who has lived in Finland for 35 years. His 2017 book, Mahdoton sota, recounts the history of Finland’s Jews and their struggle for civil rights and includes the story of three young Jews during the various phases leading up to and including the Continuation War.

John Simon

Mirjam Solomon (b.1984) is a psychologist from Espoo Finland with a Master of Psychology degree from Helsinki University. She works in the Espoo City Family Counseling services in a specialized team giving therapeutic treatment exclusively for families who are either expecting a baby or who have a baby under 1 year old. She helps parents who are having trouble bonding with their baby or forming a sufficient and satisfactory interaction and attachment with their baby. Mirjam is also a professional singer graduated from Helsinki Pop & Jazz Conservatory in 2008. Nowadays she’s working mainly in vocal ensemble and chamber choir settings especially within the genre of contemporary art music. Mirjam is a mother of two daughters and she is married to Mike Solomon who grew up in New Jersey, USA. Mirjam is an active member in the Helsinki Jewish Community, participating in events regularly and enjoying learning about everything having to do with Judaism. Her other special interests include reading, meaningful conversations and cooking.

Mirjam Solomon

FT Riikka Tuori on Lähi-idän tutkimuksen yliopistonlehtori Helsingin yliopistossa. Hänen keskeisiin tutkimusintresseihinsä kuuluu mm. hepreankielinen kirjallisuus ja runous sekä juutalaisuuden historia.

Riikka Tuori

Elina Vuola is Professor of Global Christianity and Dialogue of Religions at the Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki. She directed the research project Embodied Religion. Changing Meanings of Body and Gender in Contemporary Forms of Religious Identity in Finland (2013-17, funded by the Academy of Finland). Within it, fifty Finnish Jewish women were interviewed. She has been a visiting scholar at Harvard Divinity School (Women´s Studies in Religion Program) and Northwestern University (Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies).

Elina Vuola

Rabbi Yechiel Wasserman is Member of the World Zionist Organization's executive board and Head of the Center for Religious Affairs in the Diaspora. Born in Israel (1950) he holds a Masters degree in Education and a B.A. degree in Education and Criminology from Bar Ilan University, he studied 6 years in Yeshivat Hesder Yeshivat Hakotel in Jerusalem, where he received his ordination. He served with the Israel Defense Forces as a tank crew-member. He served in a number of educational positions for twenty years: nine years as a Rabbi in B’nei Akiva Yeshiva high school Givat Shemuel, eight years as an educational supervisor and three years as an educational representative of the Jewish Agency on the west coast of U.S.A. He served ten years as a deputy mayor of the City of Givatayim. Rabbi Wasserman has served as an active member on a number of educational committees. He has also written several booklets on the Oral Law and Judaic thought, and has published numerous articles over the years on a variety of topics in Israeli journals and academic periodicals. He is married to Rina and they have three married children and ten grandchildren.

Yechiel Wasserman

Rabbi Benyamin Wolff, born in the USA. Serves as Chabad Lubavitch Ambassador to Finland. He loves to learn and teach. Lives in Finland for 15 years with his wife and children.

Benyamin Wolff

Ita Wolff - Chabad Shlucha. Ita Wolff was born and raised as a Chabad Shlucha in Bogota, Colombia. She studied Early Childhood Education in Bet Chana Seminary of Safed, Israel. In 2003, she and her husband Rabbi Benyamin, moved to Finland as Chabad Lubavitch Emissaries. Along with establishing a successful Chabad Center with ongoing programs and classes, Ita also directs their growing preschool. She and her husband take much pride in their extended family, made up of many individuals who they have guided in their journeys back to their Jewish roots. She and her husband take much pride in their extended family, made up of many individuals who they have guided in their journeys back to their Jewish roots.

Ita Wolff

After graduating as a teacher of Jewish Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary – University of Jewish Studies in Budapest (Hungary), Edina spent many years in Israel studying at various institutions, among them Machon Gold Seminary and Neve Yerushalayim College in Jerusalem. After returning to Hungary in 2005, she’s been active in different segments of the local Jewish community, ranging from the preservation of old Jewish Cemeteries all the way to Jewish Education – recently getting involved with teaching a course of the Florence Melton Institute (School of Adult Jewish Learning) of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Being the lucky mother of an amazing little boy she also has a “day job” at a multinational company in Budapest, currently specializing in the field of procurement.

Edina Wéber