Featured Remarks

Dinner and Breakout Sessions

Dietary laws observed  •  Business attire


Real Estate Speculation and The Lost World of Jewish Immigrant Banking
presented by Rebecca Kobrin
Columbia University

Jews Thinking About Capitalism: Europe and Palestine in the 1930s
presented by Kenneth Moss
Johns Hopkins University

Writing The Business of American Jews
presented by Nancy Sinkoff
Rutgers University

The Economics of the Ghetto: from Venice to Harlem
presented by Daniel Schwartz
George Washington University


John Paulson is the President and Portfolio Manager of Paulson & Co. Inc. (“Paulson”). Paulson is an SEC-registered investment management company specializing in global merger, event arbitrage and credit strategies with approximately $22 billion of assets under management. The firm was founded in 1994 and is headquartered in New York with offices in London and Hong Kong.

Paulson & Co. has received numerous awards and accolades over its 20 year history including the Absolute Return’s 2013 awards for Management Firm of the Year, Best Arbitrage Fund, and Best Event Driven Fund. Combined with the eight other Absolute Return awards Paulson has won previously, this cements the firm’s position at the top of the awards leaderboard.

Mr. Paulson received his Masters of Business Administration from Harvard Business School in 1980. He graduated from New York University in 1978. Prior to forming Paulson in 1994, John was a general partner of Gruss Partners and a managing director in mergers and acquisitions at Bear Stearns.

John serves on the Board of Trustees of New York University; the Deans Advisory Board of the Harvard Business School; the Board of Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Board of Trustees of the Central Park Conservancy; and the Board of the Partnership for New York City.



William A. Ackman, Pershing Square Capital Management

Tracey and Bruce Berkowitz, Fairholme Capital Management

Amy Goldman Fowler

John Paulson, Paulson & Co.

Joseph S. Steinberg, Leucadia National Corporation

Michele Cohn Tocci, The David Berg Foundation

Simon Ziff, Ackman-Ziff Real Estate Group


Leon Black, Apollo Management

Leonard Blavatnik, Access Industries

Jeffrey Gural, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank

Sidney Lapidus, Warburg Pincus

Bruce Slovin, 1 Eleven Associates


Andrew Boas, Carl Marks & Co., Inc.

Milton Cooper, Kimco Realty Corp.

Andrew Farkas, Island Capital Group LLC

Jeff Feil, The Feil Organization

John Gray, Blackstone Real Estate Developers L.P.

Roy J. Katzovicz, Pershing Square Capital Management

Mark Klaster, Carl Marks & Co., Inc.

Charles Kushner, Kushner Companies

David W. Levinson, L&L Holding Company, LLC

Joshua Nash, Ulysses Partners

Michael Silverton, Macquarie Capital (USA) Inc.

Christopher Stavrou, Stavrou Partners

Dr. Samuel Waksal, Kadmon Capital LLC

THE CENTER FOR JEWISH HISTORY is one of the foremost Jewish research and cultural institutions in the world, having served over 1 million people in more than 150 countries. It is home to five partner organizations whose collections total more than 500,000 volumes and 100 million documents, comprising the largest repository of the modern Jewish experience outside of Israel. At the Center, the history of the Jewish people comes alive through scholarship and cultural programming, exhibitions and symposia, lectures and performances.


William A. Ackman, Co-Chairman
Joseph S. Steinberg, Co-Chairman
Amy Goldman Fowler, Vice Chairman

Bruce Slovin, Chairman Emeritus & Founder

Michael A. Bamberger
Norman Belmonte
Tracey Berkowitz
Kenneth J. Bialkin
Leonard Blavatnik
Elisheva Carlebach
David E.R. Dangoor
Martin Flumenbaum
Joseph Greenberger
Michael Jesselson
Ira H. Jolles
Daniel R. Kaplan
Stanley N. Katz

Steven J. Kumble
Sidney Lapidus
Ruth Levine
Joel R. Marcus
Theodore N. Mirvis
Jonathan Mishkin
Irene Pletka
Robert S. Rifkind
Bernard Selz
Ronald B. Sobel
Michele Cohn Tocci
Simon Ziff

Michael S. Glickman, Chief Operating Officer

For more information, please contact Lauren Karp at 212.294.8310 or via email.

Rebecca Kobrin, Columbia University

Rebecca Kobrin, Russell and Bettina Knapp Assistant Professor of American Jewish History, works in the field of American Jewish History. She received her B.A. from Yale (1994), and her M.Phil. (1995), and Ph.D. (2002) from the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Kobrin served as the Hilda Blaustein Post-Doctoral Fellow at Yale University (2002-2004) and the AmericanAcademy of Jewish Research Post-Doctoral Fellow at New York University (2004-2006). Her area of specialty is Jewish immigration history, which she approaches through a transnational lens. Her research interests span from the fields of urban history to American religion and diaspora studies.

Adam Teller, Brown University

Adam Teller is an early modern historian, specializing in the history of the Jews in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. He focuses on the ways in which they became an integral part of society there and the tensions this aroused. He has written two monographs (in Hebrew), one on living conditions in the Jewish quarter of Poznan, the other on the roles played by Jews in Lithuania's eighteenth century magnate economy, as well as numerous articles (in English) on social and cultural issues.

Jessica Goldberg, University of Pennsylvania

Jessica Goldberg is Assistant Professor of Medieval History. She studies and teaches the history of the Mediterranean basin, Christian Europe, and the Islamic world, specializing in economic and legal institutions and cultures. She joined the Penn faculty in the fall of 2006 after completing her PhD in History at Columbia University. She also holds an MA in education from the Bankstreet School of Education, and was a math teacher at Stuyvesant High School for several years before returning to graduate work in history. Professor Goldberg has been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ, a post-doctoral fellow in the Stanford Humanities Fellows Program, and a fellow at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a 2012 Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies.

Josh Lambert, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Josh Lambert holds a BA from Harvard and a PhD from the University of Michigan in English literature. His teaching and research focus on American Jewish literature and culture, in English and Yiddish. He is the author of American Jewish Fiction: A JPS Guide and a contributing editor to Tablet, and his work has appeared in The Jewish Graphic Novel and Sleepaway: Writings on Summer Camp, and other books. Lambert also writes reviews and essays for publications including the Forward, the Los Angeles Times, and the Globe and Mail. Lambert is the Academic Director of the Yiddish Book Center and Visiting Assistant Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Marina Rustow, Johns Hopkins University

Marina Rustow is the Charlotte Bloomberg Associate Professor in the Humanities at The Johns Hopkins University. Her research focuses on the Jewish communities of the medieval Mediterranean. Marina is also interested in the Jews of Sicily, where the community continued to speak, read and write Arabic long after the defeat of Muslim rule on the island ca. 1060 and the expulsion of the Muslims in 1246. Prior to her workat Johns Hopkins, she taught for seven years at Emory University, where she held a joint appointment in the Department of Middle East and South Asian Studies. Marina received her doctorate from the History Department at Columbia University in 2004, and also received an MA in Religion there in 1998.

Real Estate Speculation and The Lost World of Jewish Immigrant Banking

presented by Rebecca Kobrin, Columbia University

On August 30, 1914, a large riot broke out on New York’s Lower East Side as tens of thousands of Jewish immigrant depositors were told their bankn - the Yiddish name for unregulated banks that took deposits and made loans– were unable to return their savings. Demanding the return of their deposits so that they could send money back to relatives in Europe, the enraged crowd paraded to City Hall where they began beating clerks. The riot frightened city officials, who wondered: where had the depositors’ funds gone? The banks, as the court uncovered, had invested most of their depositors’ savings in risky real estate investments in Harlem. While many today have firsthand knowledge of the ways in which America’s banking industry was shaped by speculation within the real estate industry, we have much to learn from the reactions of early-20th century Jewish communal leaders, city officials and banking elites who joined forces to pass new legislation that forced immigrant bankn out of business in New York City, but not before they had changed forever the course of real estate development in upper Manhattan.

Jews Thinking About Capitalism: Europe and Palestine in the 1930s

presented by Kenneth Moss, Johns Hopkins University

Although we rightly associate European Jewish history in the 1930s with the political persecution, many Jews at the time were convinced that the fundamental causes of Jewish woe were economic – that Jewish suffering essentially stemmed from deep structural problems in global capitalism and within Jewish society. Indeed, much Jewish social policy was shaped by these assumptions, and sought solutions in economic rather than political change. Why did Jewish intellectuals and policy makers – and not only socialists, but also American liberals and even Zionists in the Yishuv – think this way? What did they think about the role of the state, of nationalist and racialist ideologies, of rising anti-Semitism and fascism? Were there alternative views (in Zionism, for instance), and how did these alternative views address the vexed relationship between economic and political factors in Jewish suffering?

Writing the Business of American Jews

presented by Nancy Sinkoff, Rutgers University

After the traumatic expulsion from Iberia in 1492, a small but dynamic Sephardic commercial Diaspora linked distant regions of the globe together –it moved goods and funds from Livorno to Goa, from Amsterdam to Curação, and from Manila to Acapulco. It is often said that the trust which Jewish merchants placed in one another even across vast distances was a key to their economic success. But what sustained this trust? What happened when trust broke down? And in any event, how did internal solidarities among Jewish merchants help them in their multiple business dealings with non-Jews?

The Economics of the Ghetto: from Venice to Harlem

presented by Daniel Schwartz, George Washington University

This session explores a more complex history in which ghettos--from the mandatory ghettos of early modern Italy to the immigrant ghettos of the early 20th century--were, despite generally being quite poor, were much more tied into the urban, national, and even global economy. It's this cutting of the ties (what one scholar has labeled the rise of the "outcast ghetto") that has come to characterize the contemporary image of ghettos, though even this perception may be overstated, and, as the current tide of gentrification in places like Harlem shows, not irreversible.