Instructors & Lecturers

Alan Levenson is Schusterman/Josey Chair of Jewish History at The University of Oklahoma and Director of the Schusterman Center for Judaic & Israel Studies. Alan taught history, thought and Bible at Siegal College in Cleveland for 18 years, where he authored many essays and three books. Since moving to Oklahoma, he has published an additional three books. His first professional love remains teaching. Professor Levenson lives with his wife in Norman, Oklahoma, and their college-age son is currently studying in Heidelberg, Germany.

Alan Rocke is a historian of science, specializing in the history of the physical sciences during the 19th and 20th centuries. His particular research interest is in the development of the science of chemistry and its applications during the course of the nineteenth century, especially in Germany, France, and Great Britain.  In addition, he has a strong teaching interest in the history of technology, and in courses that explore the historical impact of science and technology on society.

Alanna Cooper earned a BA at Barnard College and holds an MA and PhD in cultural anthropology from Boston University. Cooper has held research and teaching positions at Harvard University, University of Massachusetts, University of Michigan and Boston University. She is currently director of Jewish lifelong learning at Case Western Reserve University's Siegal Lifelong Learning Program.

Andrea Peck, MA - Andrea received her B.A. in psychology and her M.A. in communications. She completed a post-graduate training program at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland, and is a certified Myers Briggs and Emotional Intelligence (EQ)  facilitator.  She is completing her coaching certification through the College of Executive Coaching.

Barbara Greenberg received a BS in education from The Ohio State University and a JD from Cleveland State University. Greenberg has many years of adult education experience and is currently a magistrate for the Division of Small Claims for the Bedford Municipal Court and a magistrate for the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court Community Division Program.

Barbara Parr received a BS from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a MEd from Cleveland State University. Parr was a teacher at Rocky River High School.

Betty Zak owns an education and business consulting company and teaches as an adjunct professor. Zak has traveled extensively within the United States and Europe linking with respective global communities on fine arts activities as well as business systems implementations. She was honored in Ohio Magazine for Excellence in Education in 2007 and 2010.

Brian Amkraut received a BA from Columbia University and a PhD from New York University. Amkraut is the executive director of the Siegal Lifelong Learning Program and served on faculty of Jewish history at Oberlin College and Siegal College. Amkraut’s published articles address the impact of changing technologies on contemporary Jewish life.

Charlene Mileti holds a BFA from Kent State University, an MA in philosophy from the University of Toledo and a JD from Cleveland State University. Mileti has worked as a law clerk, trial attorney in civil law, and taught in the MBA program for Ashland University.

Cheryl Wires attended Harvard University, where she earned a Masters Degree from the Kennedy School of Government, a Masters Degree in political science from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the Levenson Award for Excellence and Dedication in Teaching.

Dahna Baskin has been teaching Judaic studies for the past 20 years in Jewish day schools throughout North America. She studied Bible from various teachers in Israel, Toronto, New York, and Cleveland. Her teaching degrees are from York University and the Drisha Institute. Dahna currently lives in Cleveland with her husband and six children.

Daniel Goldmark received a BA in music from the University of California, Riverside and an MA and PhD in musicology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Goldmark works on American popular music, film and cartoon music and the history of the music industry. 

Darin Croft holds a PhD in vertebrate paleontology from the University of Chicago. Croft is an associate professor in the of anatomy at Case Western Reserve University and is a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and the Field Museum.

David Engel is the Maurice Greenberg Professor of Holocaust Studies and a Professor of History, Jewish Studies and Political History at New York University.

David Huston holds a BA from St. John's College Annapolis and an MA from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. Huston has taught several AP courses in his three decades at the Laurel School and is a recipient of Laurel's highest award for teaching excellence.

Donald Rosenberg is a graduate of the Mannes College of Music and the Yale School of Music. Rosenberg is the former music and dance writer for The Plain Dealer and president of the Music Critics Association of North America. Rosenberg’s writing has appeared in Symphony Magazine, Opera News, Opera (London), Musical America, and other publications. He is currently editor of EMAg, the Magazine of Early Music America.

Doron Kalir is a Clinical Professor, Marshall College of Law, CSU. Doron Kalir has practiced antitrust and other federal law with several New York firms. He completed his LL.M. studies at Columbia Law School as a Kent Scholar, and was senior editor of the Columbia Business Law Review.

Eric Kisch is a graduate of Melbourne University and holds two MA degrees from Columbia University. A retired market researcher and consultant, Kisch has had a lifelong passion for classical music and produces a weekly show Musical Passions on 104.9 WCLV classical FM.

Ezra Blaustein grew up in Silver Spring, MD. He received his BA and MA from Yeshiva University and then continued his studies in the Ph.D. program in History of Judaism at the University of Chicago. He studies medieval Jewish history, with an emphasis on the culture and literature of Jewish communities in Islamic lands. His dissertation (still in progress) focuses on The Book of Commandments, a legal work written by Maimonides in Judeo-Arabic. 

Glenn D. Starkman received a BS from the University of Toronto and a PhD from Stanford University. Starkman is a professor of physics and astronomy and director of both the Institute for the Science of Origins and the Center for Education and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics at Case Western Reserve University.

Henry Adams, a professor in the Department of Art History at Case Western Reserve University, is a specialist in American Art of the 19th century. He has served as curator, director, or interim director at numerous institutions, including the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cummer Museum of Art in Jacksonville, Florida, and Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and Design in Kansas City. Adams has published widely, focusing principally on American artists of the 19th and early 20th century, and has curated several major traveling exhibitions. In partnership with Ken Burns, he produced a documentary on Thomas Hart Benton, which was broadcast nationally on PBS.

Janice Vitullo holds a BA in classical studies from the University of Texas at Arlington and an MA in Latin from Kent State University. Vitullo teaches Latin and Greek language and literature at the Laurel School.

Jay Abercrombie earned a BS from The University of Akron and a PhD from Cornell University.  Abercrombie is an entomologist and was field biologist for Geauga Park District.

Jay Geller received a BS from Princeton University and an MA and PhD in history from Yale University. Geller is the Samuel Rosenthal Professor of Judaic Studies, with a faculty appointment in the Department of History, at Case Western Reserve University. An expert on German Jewry during the past two centuries, Geller also teaches courses in urban history and modern European history.

Jim Lane has been a career social studies/history educator, having retired from a 35-year career at Orange High School on the east side of Cleveland, and from a seven-year stint as an adjunct professor of education at John Carroll University. Lane has acted as an educational consultant and has served on the advisory boards of many educational organizations, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. 

Jim Van Horn received a BA from Wittenberg University. Van Horn is a teacher, manufacturer’s representative, coach, philatelist and historical photographer.

Joseph Konen is Emeritus associate professor, Ohio State University Extension, Urban Community Development and Sustainability Program. He received his M.S., from the University of Notre Dame; and a D. Min., from United Theological Seminary.

John Grabowski received his BA and PhD from Case Western Reserve University.   Grabowski is an associate professor in applied history at Case Western Reserve University and historian and senior vice president for research and publications at the Western Reserve Historical Society. He specializes in immigration and ethnicity, Cleveland history and public history, particularly the fields of archives and museums.

John Orlock is the Samuel B. and Virginia C. Knight Professor of Humanities. After joining the CWRU faculty in 1989, Professor Orlock served ten years as the head of the Department of Theater and Dance, during which time he was instrumental in establishing the successful MFA graduate program collaboration with the Cleveland Play House.

Joseph Jacoby is a retired English teacher from Lakewood Schools. He adores classical music, especially for piano, orchestra or opera. In addition to the CWRU program, Jacoby teaches private piano lessons, tutors Hispanic children at Joseph Gallagher Public School in Cleveland, and loves Hispanic culture, language, and literature.

Judith Shamir holds an MHL degree from the Cleveland College of Jewish Studies and a MEd degree in curriculum development and supervision from John Carroll University. Shamir was on the faculty of Siegal College of Judaic Studies for many years serving as an instructor and a coordinator of the Ulpan program, and later, as a Hebrew literature lecturer.

Kenneth Ledford is a social historian of modern Germany, from 1789 to the present. Dr. Ledford has written about German lawyers in private practice, and his present work is on a book about the Prussian judiciary between 1848 and 1918; in all his work, a clearer analysis of the complex interplay among state, civil society, and the ideology of the state ruled by law (Rechtsstaat) remains the goal. Ken enjoys interdisciplinary intellectual work by belonging to the faculties of the College of Arts and Sciences as well as the School of Law, and by participating in both the International Studies and German Studies programs within CWRU.

Leah Cooper received a BJS and MAJS from Siegal College. Cooper teaches at Akiva High School and the Cleveland Hebrew Schools and has also taught at Beth Torah and the Ratner Schools.

Linda Tuthill is a member of the Night Vision poetry group and the Pudding House Cleveland Salon. Tuthill gives seasonal writing workshops for the Cleveland Metroparks.

Luke Reader has been a writing lecturer in the SAGES program at Case Western Reserve University since 2015. He received a Ph.D. in History from University of California, Irvine, in 2013, where he examined the development of imperial and international policy in the British Labour Party between the 1920s and 1940s and its impact on left-wing cultural life. Currently, Professor Reader is studying the influence of Liberal philosophies of empire on internationalist thinkers associated with the Labour Party after World War One. Previously, Professor Reader taught History at a number of institutions in Southern California, and was a Visiting Assistant Professor in the History department at John Carroll University. Before entering graduate school he worked for the UK civil service as a press officer.

Mark Leutcher is a Professor in the Department of Religion at Temple University, as well as Director of Jewish Studies.   An expert in ancient Judaism, his work includes the study of mythology in ancient Israel and Second Temple Judaism, the phenomenon of prophecy in the ancient near east, the formation of the Hebrew Bible, and the history of the Israelite priesthood. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 2003 and has taught extensively in university settings as well as community settings.  His previous academic appointments include: Coordinator of Biblical Studies at University of Sydney (Australia) and Visiting Professor of Hebrew Bible at the University of Pennsylvania.

Matt Goldish is the Samuel M. and Esther Melton Chair of History, The Ohio State University. His interests have centered on the seventeenth century. His monograph, "Judaism in the Theology of Sir Isaac Newton," deals with questions about the impact of Jewish ideas and literature on European intellectuals at the dawn of the Enlightenment. Much of his writing, however, concerns the Western Sephardi Diaspora and the Portuguese Conversos of Amsterdam, London and Hamburg. Professor Goldish's book, "The Sabbatean Prophets," deals with the role of prophecy in the great messianic movement of Shabbatai Zvi, which swept the Jewish world in 1665-6. His latest book is "Jewish Questions: Responsa on Sephardic Life in the Early Modern Period" (2008). Along with Professor Daniel Frank, he is the editor of "Rabbinic Culture and Its Critics: Jewish Authority, Dissent, and Heresy in Medieval and Early Modern Times" (2008).

Mike Bowen holds a PhD in American History from the University of Florida. He has been a faculty member at the University of Florida, where he was Assistant Director of the Bob Graham Center for Public Service, and John Carroll University. He is the author of Roots of Modern Conservatism (UNC Press, 2011).

Mike Olszewski is a veteran Cleveland radio and television personality. Best known for his work at the legendary WMMS-FM, he has also hosted and produced programs for WNCX-FM, WKNR-AM, WOIO-TV, WUAB-TV and other stations. Olszewski teaches media, speech and communications classes at Kent State University, The University of Akron, and Notre Dame College.

Monica Dumitriu holds a BS in Management, BA in French and MBA from CWRU. Monica Dumitriu is Strategy Consultant, Co-Founder, Siegal Office of Global Career Training and Development at CWRU. She has over 15 years’ experience as an analyst and management advisor with a proven track record and in-depth industry experience to manufacturing and aerospace companies.

Pamela Belknap received a BA in music education from Mt. Union College and an MA in music education from Case Western Reserve University. Belknap is a retired music teacher and a minister of music.

Patricia Princehouse earned her MA from Yale and a PhD from Harvard University. Princehouse is director of the program in evolutionary biology at Case Western Reserve University, an evolutionary biologist, and a historian of science. She has conducted fieldwork on primate evolution in Africa and North America.

Patricia Sigmier studied art and architecture at Saint Mary’s College in Indiana where she received a B.F.A. Patricia has over 20 years of experience as a professional art instructor. In addition to teaching courses in painting and drawing for 18 years at the Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood, Ohio, she has also taught plein air painting for eight years at Squire Valleevue Farm. She participated as a guest demonstrator in the Senior Scholars Audubon lecture series at the Cleveland Natural History Museum. Patricia is a regular exhibitor and a signature member in the juried exhibitions of the Ohio Watercolor Society, where she won the prestigious North Coast Award in 2005. She has exhibited at Willoughby Fine Arts Association, Malveena J. Freedson Gallery, the Beachwood Center for the Arts, Beck Center for the Arts, BAYarts, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

Peter J. Haas holds a BA from the University of Michigan and a PhD from Brown University.  Haas currently hold the Abba Hillel Silver Chair in Jewish Studies at Case Western Reserve University, where he also serves as chair of the religion department. He has published several books and articles dealing with moral discourse and with Jewish and Christian thought after the Holocaust.

Phyllis Asnien is a professor emerita of humanities at Lakeland Community College. She has taught music, art, literature and drama and is a published poet and recitalist.

Reva Leizman earned a PhD in comparative literature from Case Western Reserve University. Leizman teaches courses on classic Yiddish writers and Jewish authors of the past and present, with a special focus on the influence of the Holocaust on modern literature.

Rivka Taub received her BHL and MJS from the Cleveland College of Jewish Studies. She teaches Hebrew at Akiva High School and many other local schools.

Samantha Baskind  received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and a PhD from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Baskind is professor of art at Cleveland State University and her research focuses on 20th American art and culture and the role of the Jewish-American artist in the modern world.

Sean Martin received an MA in history, an MA in Yiddish language and literature, and a PhD, focusing on East European Jewish history, from The Ohio State University. He is Associate Curator for Jewish History at Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio. He oversees the Cleveland Jewish Archives, collecting and preserving material related to the Jewish history of Northeastern Ohio. 

Sol Factor earned a BA from Nasson College and a MAT from John Carroll University. Factor is a retired public school teacher in history and Holocaust studies and is a part-time instructor at Kent State University.

Stanford Sarlson received a BS in business administration from The Ohio State University. Sarlson is a certified public accountant and has taught accounting at the Salem branch of Kent State University.

Susan Kisch holds a BA from Hunter College and an MA from New York University. An experienced educator, Kisch was head of the English department at York Prep School, and a college guidance counselor at the Columbus School for Girls.

Sylvia Abrams earned a BA and a MA from Western Reserve University, a BHL and MHL from Cleveland College of Jewish Studies, and a PhD from Case Western Reserve University. Abrams is the retired dean of Siegal College of Judaic Studies and previously served as the director of educational services at the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland.

Terry Meehan earned a BA in marketing from Cleveland State University and an MA in literature and film from Kent State University. Meehan curates and presents an ongoing Lakewood Public Library monthly film series and is currently an adjunct professor of film appreciation at Lorain County and Lakeland Community Colleges.

Whitney Lloyd holds a BA in American history from Harvard University and an MA in American history from New York University. Lloyd was a history teacher and director of college guidance at St. Louis Country Day and Cleveland’s University School for over 30 years. He is currently the college adviser to the Montessori High School at University Circle.