Today, President Biden announced his intent to appoint the following individuals as members of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council:
- Kevin Abel
- Michael S. Beals
- Theodore E. Deutch
- Kimberly Marteau Emerson
- Alexander P. Heckler
- Danielle Borrin Hertz
- Jonathan Lavine
- Harry Evans Sloan
- Alan D. Solomont
- Gary Phillip Zola
United States Holocaust Memorial Council
The United States Holocaust Memorial Council was established by Congress in 1980 to lead the nation in commemorating the Holocaust and to raise private funds for and build the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Once the Museum opened in 1993, the Council became the governing board of trustees of the Museum, an independent establishment of the United States government operating as a public-private partnership that receives some federal funding to support operations of the Museum building.
Kevin Abel was a candidate for Congress seeking the Democratic nomination in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District in 2018. Prior to his entry into politics, he was President of Abel Solutions, a company that he founded in 1995 with his wife Cindy and ran for more than 20 years in Alpharetta before selling to Applied Technical Services in 2015.
A native of South Africa, Abel came to the United States with his family in 1979. He then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering in 1987. He has served on numerous boards including New American Pathways, the Technology Association of Georgia, The Davis Academy, the Georgia Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation, and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.
In 2019, Abel was elected by a delegation in the Georgia Legislature to represent the 6th Congressional District on the State Transportation Board where he served until April 2023. In January 2023, Abel founded Mobility Atlanta to advance transit projects in the metropolitan Atlanta region by expanding opportunities for local, state, and federal funding. Abel is a 2006 graduate of Leadership Atlanta. He is a former finalist for the Atlanta Small Business Person of the Year Award and was previously named to the Georgia Trend 40 under 40 list. Abel and his wife Cindy are empty nesters living in the suburbs of Atlanta. They have three young adult children, Danielle, Juliana, and Eric.
Michael S. Beals
Rabbi Michael Beals has been with Congregation Beth Shalom since August 2004. He is a 1997 graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary. Beals is also a graduate of the University of Judaism in Los Angeles with an M.A. in Hebrew Letters, The American University in Washington, D.C. with an M.A. in International Relations, as well as the University of California at Berkeley with a B.A. in Political Science. He received the Raoul Wallenberg Fellowship at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Beyond his accomplished education, Beals has also worked in a variety of roles from serving as a management analyst developing multicultural training programs to working with the youth and older populations in programs of music therapy, Shabbat programming, and providing pastoral counseling and support for the sick and elderly and to the families that support them.
During Beals’ tenure, Congregation Beth Shalom’s Hebrew School has grown, they have established a nationally recognized Keruv Initiative to welcome and support interfaith families, and re-established an active and involved Sisterhood and Men’s Club. Also during his tenure, the Congregation has transformed its 1950s spiritual home to a modern, accessible, spiritual center. Governor John Carney appointed Beals to be the Director of his Delaware Council of Faith-Based Partnerships. He is a former President of the Delaware Association of Rabbis and Cantors and a regular contributor to the Delaware statewide monthly Jewish magazine, jVOICE, and the radio program The Rabbi Speaks on WDEL. Beals makes his home in Delaware with his wife, Elissa, and his children, Ariella and Shir. Their family also includes dogs and cats.
Theodore E. Deutch
Ted Deutch assumed the role of CEO of American Jewish Committee in October 2022 after 16 years of distinguished service in the United States House of Representatives and Florida State Senate. In Congress, Deutch was a founding co-chair of the House Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism and served as Chairman of the House Ethics Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa, and Global Counterterrorism. He was also the co-chair of the Congressional Study Group on Germany, a position he used to advocate for Holocaust survivors with the German Chancellor and members of the Bundestag. As a Florida State Senator, Deutch authored the first-in-the-nation law to cut off state funds to companies advancing Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
Prior to holding public office, Deutch practiced law in Cleveland and Boca Raton. He has long championed the priorities of the Jewish community, from his summers at Camp Ramah to his Israel activism at the University of Michigan, where he chaired the Hillel Governing Board. He later served as a lay leader with the Jewish Federations of Cleveland and South Palm Beach County and as a member of both UJA’s National Young Leadership Cabinet and AIPAC’s National New Leadership Network. Born and raised in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Deutch is the youngest son of the late Jean and Bernard Deutch. He and his wife, Jill, live in Boca Raton, Florida and have three adult children, Gabby, Serena, and Cole.
Kimberly Marteau Emerson
Kimberly Marteau Emerson is a lawyer, civic leader, and human rights advocate. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, and is Chair of the Board of Governors of Bard College Berlin. She also serves the Board of Directors of Human Rights Watch, and on the Advisory Boards of the USC Center on Public Diplomacy, the Thomas Mann House, and United Way in Germany. Emerson served in the Clinton Administration as spokesperson and public liaison for U.S.I.A. From 2013 to 2017, she worked in Berlin alongside her husband, U.S. Ambassador to Germany John B. Emerson (retired) to drive projects on multiple platforms, including the Embassy’s efforts to combat anti-Semitism and its integration efforts during the 2015 refugee crisis. She has twice been an election observer in Nigeria, and worked on relief projects, among others, in Lesbos, Greece, during the 2015/2016 crisis, and in Sri Lanka post-Tsunami. She has received several awards for her civic engagement, including annual or special awards from the American Jewish Committee, People for the American Way, the Music Center of Los Angeles County, the LA Children’s Chorus, and United Friends of the Children. She holds a B.A. from UCLA, a J.D. from UC Hastings College of the Law, and a D.E.S.U. from l’Université de Droit d’Aix-Marseille.
Alexander P. Heckler
Alexander P. Heckler is a dedicated attorney, entrepreneur, and philanthropist committed to making a positive impact on society through his work and charitable endeavors. As the Founder and Managing Partner of LSN Partners, a leading consulting firm, and LSN Law, a public policy and procurement law firm, Heckler has spent decades helping clients excel and improve local communities and states across the nation. Heckler is a longtime Democratic Party activist, fundraiser, and strategist. He holds leadership roles in several national and local political, professional, and charitable organizations, including Beyond Differences, a California-based non-profit that aims to promote inclusivity and reduce social isolation among young people through student-led initiatives. Heckler is also a proud member of the Young President’s Organization, Americas Gateway Chapter.
Heckler is steadfast in combating anti-Semitism and takes great pride in his Jewish heritage. He supports pro-Israel and Zionist organizations and actively champions Jewish education, culture, and community-building initiatives. Heckler is a graduate of Brandeis University, where he and his wife launched a scholarship in the name of his mentor, former Texas Governor Ann Richards, for students who aim to pursue a professional career in public service. Heckler received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Miami School of Law. He is a devoted husband and father and lives in Miami Beach with his wife, Tiffany, and two daughters.
Danielle Borrin Hertz
Based in New York City, Danielle Borrin Hertz leads strategic initiatives for JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s national market leadership team program, which helps local leaders drive business growth, advance DEI and employee engagement initiatives, and champion its corporate responsibility efforts with internal and external stakeholders. Prior to this position, she oversaw the firm’s global suite of workplace giving programs and disaster relief response and built a comprehensive nonprofit board service program. Hertz also served as the program manager for the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of JPMorgan Chase and the Brookings Institution.
Prior to joining JPMorgan Chase, she served as the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Deputy Director of Public Engagement for then-Vice President Biden as well as Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, serving as the first liaison to the Jewish community of the Obama-Biden Administration. She was a delegate to the 2009 Prague Conference on Holocaust Era Assets and planned the first-ever White House reception in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month, among dozens of policy and social engagements between national and grassroots leaders and senior Administration officials. Previously, she was Deputy Press Secretary in the Office of Senator Biden and a finance assistant for Unite Our States PAC.
Born and raised in Atlanta, Hertz received her B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis. She resides in the Bronx with her husband and two children – proud descendants of Holocaust survivors – where they are members of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale. She volunteers with the Leffell School in White Plains.
Jonathan Lavine is Co-Managing Partner of Bain Capital, a leading global private investment firm working across five continents and approximately $165 billion in assets under management. He first joined Bain Capital in 1993 and founded Bain Capital Credit and Special Situations in 1998. Lavine and his wife, Jeannie, formed the Crimson Lion / Lavine Family Foundation which delivers financial resources to a wide variety of nonprofit organizations focused in the areas of education, community and public service, health and welfare, discrimination, and poverty.
Lavine currently serves as Chair of the Trustees of Columbia University and Chairman Emeritus of the City Year Board of Trustees. He has been recognized for his service to numerous organizations including being named the 2017 recipient of Columbia University’s Alexander Hamilton Medal, the highest honor awarded to a member of the college community for distinguished service. He has received Columbia/Barnard Hillel’s Seixas Award, Voices for National Service Citizen Service Award, and the New England Anti-Defamation League’s Distinguished Community Service Award. In 2016, Lavine was appointed a Member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Council by President Obama. The Lavines were among the lead sponsors of documentarian filmmaker Ken Burns’ series The U.S. and the Holocaust. Lavine graduated from Columbia College, Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude, and holds an M.B.A. with Distinction from Harvard Business School. He and his wife Jeannie have two daughters.
Harry Evans Sloan
Harry Evans Sloan is a former Chairman and CEO of MGM Studios and a Founder and leading investor in the media, entertainment, and technology industries. Since leaving MGM in 2011, Sloan has co-founded seven special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), raising over $5 billion in proceeds. These SPACs have completed business combinations from sports betting giant DraftKings to Ginkgo Bioworks, the leading synthetic biotechnology company.
Active in the public service sector, Sloan was appointed by President Reagan to the President’s Advisory Council on Trade and Policy Negotiations in 1987. Today, Sloan is a Trustee of The McCain Institute and serves as a Board member for the Pacific Council on International Policy. Sloan is an Associate Professor at the UCLA Anderson School of Management and serves on the Board of Visitors of UCLA Anderson and the UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television. He is also a member of the President’s Advisory Council at USC as well as the Law School Board of Counsellors.
Earlier in his career, Sloan founded and led New World Entertainment and SBS Broadcasting. He was a founding investor/Board Member of Zenimax/Bethesda Game Studios and serves currently on the Board of Directors of Ginkgo Bioworks, as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of DraftKings, and is a Board member of Lionsgate Entertainment. Born in Southern California, Sloan was raised in a working-class Jewish family. Sloan earned a degree from UCLA and graduated from Loyola Law School.
Alan D. Solomont
Ambassador Alan D. Solomont is the Dean Emeritus of Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life. He served as the United States Ambassador to Spain and Andorra during the Obama-Biden Administration from 2009 to 2013. Prior to that, he was chairman of the bipartisan Board of Directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service. First appointed by President Clinton, he was re-appointed by President Bush, and became board chairman after the election of President Obama.
Solomont continues to promote ties between the United States and Spain as chairman of the Spain-U.S. Chamber of Commerce and as a board member of the U.S.-Spain Council. Active for many years in the Democratic Party, Solomont was the Party’s National Finance Chairman in 1997-1998. He is a past Chairman of the Board of Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston and was, for many years, a board member of the New Israel Fund. He is currently the national board chair of J Street. Solomont’s professional career was in the field of eldercare. A past Watson Fellow, he is a graduate of Tufts University and the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, and has received honorary degrees from both institutions, as well as from Suffolk University and Hebrew College. He is married to Susan Lewis Solomont. They have two grown daughters and reside in Weston, Massachusetts.
Gary Phillip Zola
Dr. Gary Phillip Zola is the Executive Director of The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives and the Edward M. Ackerman Family Distinguished Professor of the American Jewish Experience & Reform Jewish History at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. Zola is a highly regarded historian of American Jewry who specializes in the history of the American Jewish experience. He is the author of numerous volumes, including We Called Him Rabbi Abraham: Lincoln and American Jewry (2014). President Obama appointed Zola on three separate occasions to serve as a member of the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad. In April of 2023, the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio named Zola one of its “Lion Honorees” – distinguished community leaders who have demonstrated a lifelong commitment to serving the community. In 2018, Thomas More University conferred a Doctor of Humane Letters degree, honoris causa, on Zola for his “dedication to the principles that are the foundation of our nation.”