WHO WE ARE


BRYAN SCHWARTZ

Chairman and President

Bryan, an Oakland, CA, civil rights attorney, conceived Scattered Among the Nations (SAN) in the spring of 1999 as a book project, compiling stories and photographs of the world's most isolated Jewish communities. Since then, Bryan has traveled extensively, visiting Jews in 30 countries and over 100 towns and villages on five continents. These communities inspired Bryan with new enthusiasm for Jewish practice through their unshakable devotion and unbounded warmth and kindness. Bryan led the effort to create Scattered Among the Nations, Inc., a non-profit corporation designed to educate regarding Jewish diversity and assist isolated Jewish communities in gaining the recognition and resources to meet their needs. Bryan has spoken to audiences regarding SAN in four languages on five continents. His articles have been published in magazines and newspapers worldwide. Bryan's "Scattered Among the Nations" and "Jews of Color: In Color!" exhibits with Jay Sand and photographer Sandy Carter, featuring stories and photographs from their book, Scattered Among the Nations, premiered at New York's Center for Jewish History in February 2003. These exhibits have shown throughout the United States, at universities, synagogues, Jewish Community Centers, and Jewish museums, from the San Francisco Bay Area, to Washington, DC, from St. Paul, MN, to Boston, from New York City to Houston, TX. In April 2015, Bryan Schwartz debuted a new art exhibition, “Jews of Color: a Renaissance”,  with Jay Sand and painter Sam Renaissance, at Stanford University. 

In December 2015, Bryan's Scattered Among the Nations book with Jay and Sandy was published by Weldon Owen. The title is distributed by Simon & Schuster and has received rave reviews in Jewish and secular media, locally, nationally, and internationally.

Listen to an interview with Bryan Schwartz on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show, January 12, 2006. (download mp3)

 

ABBY MICHELSON PORTH

Director

Highly regarded throughout the organized San Francisco Bay Area Jewish world, Abby is today the Associate Executive Director (soon to be Executive Director) of the Bay Area's Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC). At the JCRC, Abby has led efforts at improving intergroup relations, especially building connections with the Asian and Arab/Muslim communities. In her many years’ involvement with SAN, Abby has helped locate venues for SAN’s educational exhibits and has led efforts to collect religious books for needy communities worldwide.

 

ROBERT LANDE

Director

Bob, a law professor at the University of Baltimore and renowned national anti-trust expert, has been active in promoting an inclusive vision of the Jewish people for decades. In the 1980's he co-founded a Washington, DC-based organization to advocate on behalf of Ethiopian Jewry. In the 1990's he co-founded Kulanu, a group designed to help lost and dispersed Jewish remnant communities return to the faith. After several visits in the 1990's to Peru's "Inca Jews," Bob teamed up with Bryan Schwartz in fall 2001 and spring 2005 to enable hundreds of Judaism-practicing Peruvians to gain formal recognition in the world Jewish community and to fulfill dreams of conversion to Judaism and emigration to Israel.

 

Barbara is a leader in the effort to make Jewish converts feel welcome and hosts a website, which provides resources for those seeking to lead a Jewish life. She also teaches a course, the Lost Tribes of Israel and Emerging Jewish Communities Around the World, at Long Island University.

BARBARA SHAIR

Director

 

Isaac, a leader of the Benei Menashe community, originally in Manipur, Northeastern India, and now in Israel, has assisted in numerous books on the Benei Menashe and other communities of his native India, including the award-winning Across the Sabbath River, by HIllel Halkin, Bene Israel of India: Heritage and Customs, by Nissim Moses, and Scattered Among the Nations, authored by this organization's President, Bryan Schwartz. He is a Member of the board at Israel's Indian Jewish Heritage Centre (IJHC) and National Convention of Indian Jews.

ISAAC THANGJOM

Director

 

 

David is a consultant to UNICEF, and has recently been engaged with the organization's efforts in Nigeria, where he has developed strong ties with the emerging Igbo Jewish community there. He organized a campaign to bring a Torah to Nigeria for the first time in history, and has worked on bringing books and matzah to the Nigeria community. He founded the Fund for Social Change in 2002 and remained its executive director until 2012. The Fund administered collaborations between governments, service providers, communities and foundations. He was the executive director of the Child Welfare Fund from 1992 to 2009 which provided grants to increase the influence of parents and young people affected by the child welfare system in New York City. He began his social activism in Mississippi in 1965, first rebuilding a burned church and then returning as a civil rights worker. David has not stopped his engagement with social justice issues since that time.

 

DAVID TOBIS

Director

 

ADVISORY BOARD

 

STEVE GUTOW

Steve is Rabbi and Visiting Scholar at the NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, where he is pioneering a new interfaith dialogue program. He was formerly the President and CEO for the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, and has been for decades one of the leading Jewish voices for social justice in America.

YOSSI KLEIN HALEVI
 

A Jerusalem resident, Yossi is a Senior Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute, an award-winning author, a contributing editor to the New Republic magazine, and a leader in the movement to promote interfaith dialogue between Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

JASON YELOWITZ

Jason is a savvy, Nevada-based entrepreneur with invaluable sales, marketing and management experience. Currently, he is a business broker with Quiet Light Brokerage. His business endeavors have been featured on the CBS Evening News and in the Chicago Sun-Times, among other publications.

MARTY SCHWARTZ

Marty is a consultant with the Jewish Labor Committee, strengthening relations between organized labor and the Jewish community, and has formerly been a synagogue director and director of a nationwide Jewish non-profit.

YALE STROM

 

Yale is an award-winning artist/ethnographer, and artist-in-residence of the Jewish Studies Program at San Diego State University. Yale has made eight acclaimed feature films, published numerous photo books, and released more than a dozen music CDs, leading several popular Klezmer bands, including Hot Pstromi.

Scattered Among the Nations is always looking for enthusiastic and experienced new members of the Advisory Board committed to the group's mission.