The webinar featured Dr. Gary P. Zola, Executive Director of The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives and Professor of the American Jewish Experience at the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati, Ohio. During this innovative study webinar, Dr. Zola exposed participants to an interesting selection of historical documents that came to light as the B'nai B'rith Collection has been processed and organized for widespread scholarly access by the AJA. Webinar participants viewed virtual images of the featured documents, and they will interacted with Dr. Zola in a “question and answer” session toward the webinar’s end.
Gary Phillip Zola became the AJA’s second director in 1998, succeeding his teacher and mentor, Professor Jacob Rader Marcus (1896-1995), the prodigious scholar who founded the AJA in 1947 and defined the field of American Jewish history. Professor Zola is a well-known scholar of the American Jewish experience, who is widely acknowledged for his innovative efforts to disseminate the history of American Jewry to the general public.
In 2011, President Barack Obama appointed Dr. Zola to serve as a member of the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, an independent agency of the Federal government that exists to foster the preservation and protection of cemeteries, monuments, and historic buildings associated with the foreign heritage of United States citizens. In 2006, Dr. Zola became the first American Jewish historian and the first American rabbi to receive appointment to the Academic Advisory Council of the congressionally recognized Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. His most recent publication is a new volume on Abraham Lincoln and American Jewry titled We Called Him Rabbi Abraham: Lincoln and American Jewry, A Documentary History (Southern Illinois University Press, 2014). Dr. Zola has published many other volumes including The Americanization of the Jewish Prayer Book (2008), A Place of Our Own: The Rise of Reform Jewish Camping in America (2006).