Courtesy of The American Jewish Archives.
President Joe Biden and Dr. Gary P. Zola

Submitted by The American Jewish Archives

On May 17, President Joe Biden announced that he intended to appoint a number of individuals to key federal boards and commissions. Among these were ten nominees — including Dr. Gary P. Zola — chosen to fill seats on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. Dr. Zola is the Executive Director of The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives (AJA) and the Edward M. Ackerman Family Distinguished Professor of the American Jewish Experience & Reform Jewish History at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Cincinnati. 

Since the opening of the museum in 1993, its council has served as the governing board of trustees for the United States Holocaust Museum and Memorial (USHMM). The Council convenes biannually, and presidentially appointed members serve five-year terms. Although established by the US Congress in 1980, the United States Holocaust Memorial Council operates independently as a “public/private” partnership with some funds from the federal government for museum building operations. The Council is comprised of 55 members chosen by the president, five Senators, five members of the House of Representatives, and the Departments of Education, Interior, and State are also participating in the Council through three ex-officio members.

“It is a high privilege to serve on U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council,” Zola said. “During my tenure as the Executive Director of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, I was afforded many opportunities to collaborate with the USHMM, which strives to preserve the history of this calamitous tragedy that led to the murder of millions of Jews. These professional experiences have prepared me well to serve on the Council, and I am eager to support the vital work of this important institution. It is hard to believe, but the mission of the USHMM increases in relevance and significance as new generations appear on the horizon.”

National boards and committees have sought out Dr. Zola’s expertise throughout his career. On three separate occasions, President Barack Obama appointed Dr. Zola to serve as a member of the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad. In 2006, Dr. Zola became the first American Jewish historian to receive appointment to the Academic Advisory Council of the congressionally recognized Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. Now, in 2023, President Biden plans to appoint Dr. Zola to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.

The ten nominees were chosen across many disciplines and included: American Jewish history expert Dr. Gary P. Zola, Rabbi Michael Beals, four business leaders — Kevin Abel, Danielle Borrin Hertz, Jonathan Lavine, and Harry Evans Sloan, two attorneys — Kimberly Marteau Emerson and Alexander Heckler, former U.S. ambassador to Spain Alan D. Solomont, and American Jewish Committee CEO Ted Deutch.