join us for an evening with

Lawrence D. Ackman

Founder of Ackman-Ziff Real Estate Group

interviewed by his son

William A. Ackman

Founder and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management

Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 6:00pm

Breakout Sessions

Business, Family and Marriage in the German-Jewish Middle Class

Presented by Marion Kaplan, New York University

Professor Marion Kaplan will explore the impact of Emancipation and the place of Jews in the German middle class. The leading positions in business and finance were predominantly held by men, but the study of women and families reveals important insights into German Jewish society. Professor Kaplan will include discussion of the relationship between business considerations and marriage strategies and the role of women and families in acculturation.

Greek Jews and Financial Crisis: the Great Depression and Now

Presented by Devin Naar, University of Washington

Drawing on archives from his grandfather's hometown, Salonica (Thessaloniki)--a port city in today's northern Greece and once home to the largest Ladino-speaking Jewish community in the world--Dr. Naar will explore the economic and cultural impact of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire on Sephardic Jews in the region. The conversation will touch upon the current economic struggles of Greek Jews, reactionary politics, and the rise in anti-Semitism in comparison to Jewish life in Greece during the Great Depression.

Psychics, Strongmen and Wrestlers: Odd Jobs for Jewish Immigrants

Presented by Edward Portnoy, Max Weinreich Center, YIVO Institute for Jewish Research at the Center for Jewish History

One of the remarkable things about the Jewish immigrant experience is how, within only a few generations, Jews managed to enter the professional classes in large numbers. What is often lost to historical research is that Jewish immigrants also found themselves involved in unusual occupations, like fortune-telling or professional wrestling. This presentation will examine the lives of Jews who managed to succeed in fields that would appear to be completely alien to the Jewish experience.


    center for jewish history
    15 west 16th street
    new york city

  • 6:00 pm
  • 7:00 pm
    featured remarks
  • 8:00 pm
    dinner and breakout sessions

Dietary laws observed
Business attire

For reservations or additional information please contact 212.294.8310,

lawrence d. ackman

For the past 7 years, Larry Ackman has been actively seeking and investing with his son, Bill Ackman, and other investors in commercial real estate nationwide, including multi- family apartment renovation, retail, hotels and office properties. After an entire career with Ackman-Ziff Real Estate Group LLC and its predecessor companies, he now serves as Chairman Emeritus of the organization founded by his father and uncle in 1926. Since joining the firm in 1960, Larry has represented his clients on innumerable debt, equity, sale and lease transactions, and has been responsible for some of the industry’s most innovative financial structures.

Larry holds an M.B.A. in finance from Harvard Business School and a B.A. in economics from Brown University. Throughout his career, he has championed the issue of integrity in the real estate industry and in business in general; to this end, he has contributed endowment funds to Harvard Business School, Columbia Law School and the New York University Real Estate Institute for the teaching of business and legal ethics. Larry is a senior member of Applecore Partners, an initiative started by members of the Harvard Business School Class of ’63 to improve public education in the United States. He served on the Board of Directors of the Hospital for Joint Diseases Orthopedic Institute from 1980-2003, and of the Realty Foundation of New York since 1985. With his partner Simon Ziff, he has been honored with the Real Estate Board’s Henry Harte Rice Most Ingenious Deal of the Year Award in 1999, the Real Estate Board’s Most Ingenious Finance Deal of the Year Award 3 times (2000, 2002, and 2003), and the Society of Financial Service Professionals’ American Business Ethics Award in 2000.

Larry is currently a member of the Advisory Board of the Pershing Square Foundation, established by his son, Bill, and his daughter-in-law, Karen. He is on the Board of Directors of the New York Philharmonic (orchestra), as well as the Advisory Board of the Newman Institute, Baruch College, CUNY. Larry has been a guest lecturer for various continuing education courses at the Real Estate Board of New York, The NYU Real Estate Institute and many other real estate industry organizations.

speaker bios

Marion Kaplan
Marion Kaplan received her Ph.D. in Modern European History from Columbia University. She has taught at the City University of New York as well as at NYU. In 2012, she won a Golden Dozen Award for teaching from the College of Arts and Science. Her courses include: modern European and modern European – Jewish History; European women’s and Jewish women’s history, the German Racial State; memoirs and diaries in European Jewish history, and 19th and 20th century German history. Her postwar Germany course focuses not only on history, but also on memory and memorialization. Kaplan’s research concentrates on Jewish women’s history and the history of Jewish daily life in Germany. Her publications are based on archival sources, but also on ego-documents, such as diaries, letters, and memoirs that express feelings and personal perspectives along with the crucial details of daily life.

devin e. naar
Devin E. Naar is the Marsha and Jay Glazer Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies, Assistant Professor of History, and Chair of the Sephardic Studies Program at the University of Washington. Dr. Naar graduated summa cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis, where he wrote an award-winning senior thesis. Following a year in Greece as a Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Naar began his PhD in History at Stanford University, where he won an award for excellence in teaching. Dr. Naar teaches courses linked to his areas of research, including modern Jewish history; Jewish culture from antiquity until today; Sephardic history and culture; the history and memory of the Holocaust; relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims in lands of the former Ottoman Empire; migrations from the Mediterranean world to the Americas in the twentieth century; and a graduate seminar on Jews, Cities and Empires. Dr. Naar sits on the Academic Advisory Council of the Center for Jewish History in New York.

Edward Portnoy
Edward Portnoy received his Ph.D. from the Jewish Theological Seminary. His dissertation was on cartoons of the Yiddish press. He also holds an M.A in Yiddish Studies from Columbia, having written on artists/writers Zuni Maud and Yosl Cutler. His articles on Jewish popular culture phenomena have appeared in The Drama Review, Polin, and The International Journal of Comic Art. In addition to speaking on Jewish popular culture throughout Europe and North America, he has consulted on museum exhibits at the Museum of the City of New York, Musée d'art et d'histoire du judaïsme in Paris, and the Joods Historisch Museum in Amsterdam. He is Academic Advisor for the Max Weinreich Center at YIVO.

board of directors

Amy Goldman Fowler, Chair
Ira H. Jolles, Vice Chair

Bruce Slovin, Chair Emeritus & Founder

Michael A. Bamberger
Norman Belmonte
Tracey Berkowitz
Alexander Blavatnik
Leonard Blavatnik
Elisheva Carlebach
David E. R. Dangoor
Martin Flumenbaum
Douglas Greenberg
Joseph Greenberger
Michael Jesselson
Stanley N. Katz
Steven J. Kumble
Sidney Lapidus
Ruth Levine
Joel R. Marcus
Bernard Michael
Theodore N. Mirvis
Jonathan Mishkin
Irene Pletka
Robert S. Rifkind
Ronald Sobel
Michele Cohn Tocci
Simon Ziff

Joel J. Levy, President & CEO

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 is illuminated through scholarship and cultural programming, exhibitions and symposia, lectures and performances.

main image
Abraham and Dora Ackman with their children Benjamin, Michael, Herman & Rose on their stoop at 99th St. and Madison Avenue. From the Ackman Family Archives.