All participants

Jeff Ballabon

Iron Dome Alliance and American Conservative Union Center for Statesmanship and Diplomacy

Jeff Ballabon is chairman of the Iron Dome Alliance and a senior fellow at the Center for Statesmanship and Diplomacy. He is a political and media strategist, a conservative leader and a Jewish activist. He represents corporate and non-profit clients, consults for elected officials and political candidates in America and Israel, and has the headed communications and public policy departments of major media corporations including CBS News, Primedia, and Court TV. Jeff also is of counsel to a law firm that represents the State of Israel’s interests at the International Criminal Court at The Hague and is among the leaders of the anti-BDS movement.

Jeff has successfully represented American victims of Palestinian terror before the White House, State Department, Justice Department and Congress. He founded and ran the Coordinating Council on Jerusalem, a groundbreaking international coalition credited by the White House with defeating the Annapolis Conference’s proposed division of Jerusalem. Among Jeff’s other initiatives are Young Jewish Leadership PAC, Jewish College Republicans, and SHABBAT@CPAC.

Washington Legal Times has described Jeff as “a quiet presence on Capitol Hill,” who "travels easily in conservative circles." The New York Observer observed that he “is very well-known at the highest levels of the White House” with “friends on both sides of the political divide” and Politicker has reported that he has “actual power in Washington.”

A veteran of four presidential and over a dozen House and Senate campaigns, Ballabon was widely referred to in the press as “the architect” of the successful BushCheney 2004 re-election effort in the Orthodox community. As the Forward wrote, “Ballabon basically created a new demographic…he helped put his fellow Orthodox Jews on the map as a separate Republican Party constituency.”

A graduate of Yale Law School, Jeff served as Republican Counsel to the US Senate Commerce Committee and was Legislative Counsel to Sen. John Danforth (R-MO). He has twice been a Presidential Appointee, and received two Certificates of Distinguished Service from the US Senate. The Forward has named Jeff one of the 50 “Most Influential” Jews in America.

Fr. Barry Bercier. a.a.

Assumption College

Fr. Bercier studied philosophy, theology and political science at Assumption College, Notre Dame, Boston College, Weston School of Theology and at the Ratisbonne Institute in Jerusalem.  He taught philosophy and then theology at Assumption College beginning in 1985, but spent a number of years since then also doing pastoral work in Central Quebec, on the Passamaquoddy Reservation near Calais, Maine, and in Nuuk, Greenland.

Fr. Bercier spoke on the topic: "Covenant and the Crisis of Democracy"

David Brog

Christians United for Israel

David Brog is the executive director of the Maccabee Task Force, an effort launched in 2015 to combat the anti-Israel BDS movement.  He also sits on the Board of Directors of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), were he served as executive director for its first ten years.  Before CUFI, Brog worked in the United States Senate for seven years, rising to be chief of staff to Senator Arlen Specter and staff director of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He has also worked as an executive at America Online and practiced corporate law in Tel Aviv, Israel and Philadelphia, PA.

Brog is the author of Standing with Israel: Why Christians Support the Jewish State (2006) and In Defense of Faith: the Judeo-Christian Idea and the Struggle for Humanity (2010). In 2007, the Forward newspaper listed Brog in its "Forward 50" most influential Jews in America. He is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School.

David Brog spoke on the topic: “Conservatism and Nationalism”

Hila Brog

Hila Brog has undergraduate & graduate degrees in counterterrorism. She is a former officer in the Air Force of the Israeli Defense Forces

Joshua Charles

Museum of the Bible

Joshua Charles is the co-author of the #1 New York Times best-selling book The Original Argument, author of the recent bestseller Liberty’s Secrets: The Lost Wisdom of America’s Founders, and the co-author of the new release God, Israel, and You: The Scandalous Story of a Faithful God.

Joshua is a concert pianist, having studied Piano Performance for his undergraduate, and performed throughout the United States and Europe.  He also holds a Master of Arts in Government with a certificate in Global Politics, and is currently completing his law degree.  Joshua is a public policy Fellow at William Jessup University, a columnist, an Israel Experience Scholar, and a member of the Council for National Policy.

Joshua frequently speaks about historical, cultural, political, and theological issues relevant to our times.  He is now a Writer and Researcher at the Museum of the Bible, and speaks around the world about the ways in which the Bible has impacted human civilization.

Spencer Chretien

American Legislative Exchange Council

Spencer Chretien grew up in the Northern Virginia suburbs of DC. After graduating from the College of William and Mary, Spencer returned to the DC area and now works for a nonprofit membership association of state lawmakers and private sector. He is passionate about defending the values that built Western Civilization.

Matthew Continetti

Washington Free Beacon

Matthew Continetti is editor in chief of The Washington Free Beacon, a contributing editor to the Weekly Standard and National Affairs, and a monthly columnist for Commentary. He is the author of The K Street Gang (2006) and The Persecution of Sarah Palin (2009). He graduated from Columbia University in 2003 with a degree in history and lives with his wife and two children in McLean, Va.

Matt Continetti spoke on the topic: "Donald Trump’s Governing Agenda and Conservatism"

An edited version of this talk was published by the Washington Free Beacon:

Michael Doran

Hudson Institute

Michael Doran is a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC. He specializes in Middle East security issues.

In the administration of President George W. Bush, Doran served in the White House as a senior director in the National Security Council, where he was responsible for helping to devise and coordinate United States strategies on a variety of Middle East issues, including Arab-Israeli relations and U.S. efforts to contain Iran and Syria. He also served in the Bush administration as a senior advisor in the State Department and a deputy assistant secretary of defense in the Pentagon.

Born in Kokomo, Indiana, Doran went to elementary school in Carmel, outside of Indianapolis, before his family moved to Fullerton, California, where he graduated from Sunny Hills High School. He received a B.A. from Stanford and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton.

Before coming to Hudson, Doran was a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He has also held teaching positions at NYU, Princeton, and the University of Central Florida. He is the author of Pan-Arabism before Nasser, which analyzes the first Arab-Israeli war as an inter-Arab conflict, and is now completing a book for Simon and Schuster about President Eisenhower and the Middle East. He appears frequently on television, and has published extensively in Foreign Affairs, The American Interest, Commentary, Mosaic Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.

Mike Doran spoke on the topic: “Why Americans Can’t Understand the Middle East”

Rabbi Rafi Eis

The Herzl Institute

Rafi Eis is Director of Educational Programs at the Herzl Institute. He also serves as a Ra”m at Midreshet Lindenbaum where he teaches Talmud and Jewish Law. He previously was the Interim Head of School and Assistant Head of School for Judaic Studies at Kohelet Yeshiva High School in Merion, PA.

He received semicha from Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), holds M.S. in Jewish Education from Yeshiva University’s Azrieli School of Jewish Education, and a B.A. from YU in English Literature. He learned at Yeshivat Har Etzion during 1998-2000.

Ardie Geldman


Ardie Geldman was born and raised in Chicago.   He holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Northwestern University, a master’s degree in Jewish Communal Studies from Brandeis University and studied for an advanced degree in Sociology at the University of Chicago.

For most of his career Mr. Geldman has held senior positions in American-Jewish and Israeli non-profit organizations.  He has published numerous articles focusing on the American-Jewish community and its relations with Israel.

His family immigrated to Israel in 1982 and has been living in Efrat since 1985.  Since serving as an elected official on the Efrat Town Council in the 1990s Mr. Geldman has been speaking before groups of overseas visitors.  Most come through Christian auspices representing mainline Christian denominations, with occasional Mennonite, Quaker and Mormon delegations.  He is currently the founder and director of iTalkIsrael that offers up to a four-day educational and homestay program in Efrat for mainly “non-friendly” Christian groups.

Mr. Geldman is married to Ivonne, a psycho-therapist, with whom he shares six children and six grandchildren.

David P. Goldman

Asia Times

David P. Goldman has written the "Spengler" column for Asia Times since 2001. He is also a columnist at PJ Media. His articles on Jewish philosophy and culture have appeared among other places in Tablet Magazine, Hakirah, and First Things, where he formerly was Senior Editor. He also has published in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Claremont Review of Books, Commentary, Standpoint and numerous other venues. He has published two books, "How Civilizations Die" (Regnery) and "It's Not the End of the World, It's Just the End of You" (RVP Publishers). He separately pursued a career in finance, directing global debt research and Bank of America and credit strategy at Credit Suisse. He davens at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun in New York City.

David Goldman spoke on the topic: “Facing the West’s Competitors”

Rabbi Alec Goldstein

Rabbi Alec Goldstein is the Interim Rabbi at the Mount Kisco Hebrew Congregation. He is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Kodesh Press and a research assistant at the Tikvah Fund. He received his rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University's Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary and his BA in French Language and Literature from Yeshiva University.

Rebecca Graber

Beeson Divinity School

Rebecca Graber graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in International Development from UAB and is pursuing a joint masters degree in Theological Studies at Beeson Divinity School and Social Work at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. Rebecca plans to assist the church with community outreach and to provide pastoral counseling for parishioners and missionaries. Currently, Rebecca interns at St. Peter's Anglican Church. She is the youngest of six children and enjoys running, cooking, writing, and traveling.

Dr. Derryck Green

Project 21, National Center for Public Policy Research

Derryck Green is member of Project 21 – a Leadership Network of Black Conservatives- and a contributor to the National Center for Public Policy Research where he provides analysis on economic policy, the intersection between culture and race; pro-life issues including abortion and capital punishment; religion, immigration policy, and politics in general.

As a political commentator and writer, his work has been featured and citied in a number of media outlets, including,,,, American Urban Radio Networks and several other media outlets across the country.  Recently, Derryck was featured in CQ Researcher for an in-depth report concerning the rise in racial conflict affecting the country, which led to an invitation to share his thoughts with CQ Researcher in a thought piece concerning black identity politics and Black Lives Matter as he argued against the validity, credibility, and agenda of the black activist organization. Derryck is currently a contributor to the Institute on Religion and Democracy’s blog, Juicy Ecumenism, where he focuses on the intersection of race, religion, and the heresy within progressive Christianity.

As faculty at Prager University, he wrote and appeared in a video entitled, “Who Are The Racists: Conservatives or Liberals?” where he debunked the myth of conservative racism. The video has been seen over two million times across various social media outlets.

As a public speaker, Derryck regularly appears as a presenter for the Young America’s Foundation and the Young Americans for Freedom. He also speaks at churches and other civic organizations on the social, economic, and religious importance of racial healing, conservatism, and reconciliation.

Derryck received his M.A. in Theological Studies with a concentration in Comparative Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. He received his doctorate in theology and ministry, specializing in religious and racial identity formation, from Azusa Pacific University. His dissertation- Transcending Blackness: From Racial Identity Crisis to Christian Identity Formation, culturally and theologically analyzes the post-civil rights rise, and crisis, of black identity, which has compromised Christian spiritual formation, and postponed the race-neutral ambition of the civil rights movement- full integration by blacks into American society.

Derryck Green spoke on the topic: “Racial Fatigue and the Future of Conservatism”

Rabbi Noah Greenfield

University of California, Berkeley

Noah Greenfield is a doctoral candidate in Near Eastern Studies at UC Berkeley, where is a Mellon Fellow. He is a graduate of Yale Law School and Yeshiva University, where he received his ordination.

Rabbi Moshe Grussgott

Congregation Ramath Orah

Moshe Grussgott is Rabbi of Congregation Ramath Orah on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. He also serves as a chaplain in the Healthcare Chaplaincy system of New York City, and as the Educational Director of the Aryeh Adventures summer traveling program for special needs teenagers. He has previously served as a chaplain and Captain in the US Army Reserve.

Dr. Ofir Haivry

The Herzl Institute

Ofir Haivry is Vice President for Academic Affairs of the Herzl Institute and the Director of its National Strategy Initiative. He served in executive positions at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, including founding Editor-in-Chief of Shalem Press and its flagship publication, Azure magazine. Haivry’s John Selden and the Western Political Tradition is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press. He is a member of the Israel Council for Higher Education, and of the Public Council of the Israel Antiquities Authority. He holds a B.A. and M.A. in History from Tel Aviv University and a Ph.D. in Intellectual History from University College London.

Justin R. Hawkins

PhD candidate, Yale University

Justin R. Hawkins is a PhD student in Religious Studies at Yale University. He is also headmaster and tutor in theology, philosophy, and politics at Grace Academy (New Haven, CT), and Assistant Program Director for Student Fellows at the Rivendell Institute at Yale University. He graduated from Georgetown University in 2011 with a B.A. in government, and from Yale Divinity School with an MAR in Philosophy of Religion in 2015. His thesis at Yale was entitled “The Medieval Puritan: Scholastic Themes in Jonathan Edwards.”

Yael Hazony

The Herzl Institute

Yael Hazony is Vice President for Operations of the Herzl Institute. During the past decade she was Editor-in-Chief of Shalem Press, a Jerusalem publishing house whose publications included periodicals such as Azure and Hebraic Political Studies and first-time translations into Hebrew of classics of Western philosophy including works by Hobbes, Hume, Machiavelli, Mill, Tocqueville, and Vico. She holds a B.A. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University and held Fellowships in Talmud study at the Drisha Institute, Matan Institute, and the Nishmat Center for Advanced Torah Learning for Women.

Dr. Yoram Hazony

The Herzl Institute

Yoram Hazony is President of the Herzl Institute. He is founder and past President of the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, now Shalem College. His books include The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture and The Jewish State: The Struggle for Israel’s Soul. Hazony is director of the John Templeton Foundation’s project in Jewish Philosophical Theology, and a member of the Israel Council for Higher Education committee on Liberal Studies in Israel’s universities. He is a member of the Public Council of the Orthodox rabbinical organization Beit Hillel. He holds a B.A. in East Asian Studies from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in Political Theory from Rutgers University.

Yoram Hazony spoke on the topic: “The Bible and the West”

Dr. Dru Johnson

The Kings College

Dru Johnson is Associate Director of the Templeton Foundation’s Project in Jewish Philosophical Theology, where he is responsible for liaising with Christian scholars interested in studying Hebrew scripture. Johnson is Assistant Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at The King’s College in New York City and co-chairs the Hebrew Bible and Philosophy unit in the Society for Biblical Literature. He has previously worked as an IT manager and served as a pastor for 10 years in St. Louis, Missouri and St. Andrews, Scotland. Prof. Johnson studied analytic philosophy at the University of Missouri (St. Louis). His doctoral research at the University of St. Andrews explored epistemology in the Pentateuch and Mark’s gospel. He is the author of Biblical Knowing: A Scriptural Epistemology of Knowing(Cascade, 2013),Scripture’s Knowing: A Companion to Biblical Epistemology (Cascade, 2015) and Knowledge by Ritual: A Biblical Prolegomenon to Sacramental Theology (Eisenbrauns, 2016). He is married and has four children.

Julius Krein

American Affairs Journal

Julius Krein is editor of the new conservative quarterly, American Affairs. After graduating Harvard in 2008, he has been involved in various business enterprises and has contributed to conservative publications such as The Weekly Standard.

Dr. Yechiel M. Leiter


Yechiel M. Leiter is president and CEO of Veresta-Group an international company that advises developing countries on democratization, governmental reform and economic growth. He has taught political theory in the law faculty at Kiryat Ono College and was a fellow at the Herzl Institute. He is a graduate of Haifa University with a PhD in political philosophy.

Alyza Lewin

Lewin and Lewin, LLP

Alyza D. Lewin is an attorney in Washington, DC.  She specializes in litigation, mediation and government relations. She currently practices law together with her father, Nathan Lewin, at Lewin & Lewin, LLP.  Her work involves criminal defense, civil litigation and anti-discrimination matters.  Ms. Lewin has also been trained as a mediator by the American Arbitration Association and the Center for Dispute Settlement.

In November 2014, Ms. Lewin argued Zivotofsky v. Kerry before the U.S. Supreme Court. This separation-of-powers case involved the constitutionality of a law granting any American citizen born in Jerusalem the right to list “Israel” as the place of birth on his/her U.S. passport. Ms. Lewin was involved in the 12-year pro bono litigation conducted by her firm in the District of Columbia courts and in the Supreme Court of the United States.

While with Lewin & Lewin, Ms. Lewin has handled numerous cases of interest to the Jewish community. The firm represents Agudas Chasidei Chabad (the umbrella organization for the international Chabad-Lubavitch movement) in its efforts to obtain the release from Russia of the community’s library and archives unlawfully seized by the Soviet army after World War II. The Lewins also successfully represented the Boim family in its landmark civil tort litigation which established the right of American victims of terror to obtain damages under American law against organizations that knowingly provide financial support to international terrorist groups.

Prior to establishing Lewin & Lewin in May 2002, Ms. Lewin worked at Wilmer Cutler and Pickering (now WilmerHale) and at Miller Cassidy Larroca and Lewin.  Ms. Lewin began her law career in Israel where she clerked on the Supreme Court for Deputy President Justice Menachem Elon. Ms. Lewin is President of the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists (“AAJLJ”). She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Community Relations Council (“JCRC”) of Greater Washington. Ms. Lewin served on the Board of Directors of the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia from 2001-2004.

Ms. Lewin is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and New York.  She received her B.A. from Princeton University in 1988 and a J.D. from New York University School of Law in 1992. She is married to Eliezer M. Halbfinger and has four children.

Alyza Lewin spoke on the topic: “The End of Religious Freedom?”

Prof. Gerald McDermott

Beeson Divinity School

Gerald McDermott is a theologian and historian.  Among his many books are The New Christian Zionism and Israel Matters.

Aylana Meisel

The Tikvah Fund

Based in Jerusalem, Aylana Meisel is the Director of Research & Alumni Affairs at the Tikvah Fund. Previous professional experience includes work in journalism, policy analysis, legislation, and law. She received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and her B.A. in Jewish Studies from the Macaulay Honors College at Queens College, City University of New York.

Dr. Tricia Miller

Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA)

Dr. Tricia Miller is an Evangelical Christian who works as a Senior Research Analyst for CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America. She monitors Christian organizations and media activity in relation to the Arab-Israeli conflict and focuses specifically on the effects of Christian anti-Zionism on support for Israel in the Evangelical world.

Tricia has a Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible from Claremont Graduate University, Claremont CA, and wrote her dissertation on Christian anti-Semitism in relation to the book of Esther. Her second book, titled Jews and Anti-Judaism in Esther and the Church, reveals the relevance of the story of Esther to the controversy over the existence of Israel and the role that anti-Judaism plays in that debate. This book was written in order to expose the theological and historical errors at the root of the anti-Jewish/Israel narrative, for the purpose of strengthening Evangelical support of Israel’s right to exist and defend itself against those who seek its annihilation.

Prof. Joshua Mitchell

Georgetown University

Dr. Mitchell is currently professor of political theory. He has been Chairman of the Government Department and also Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs at SFS-Q. During the 2008-10 academic years, Dr. Mitchell was took Leave from Georgetown, and was the Acting Chancellor of The American University of Iraq - Sulaimani. His research interest lies in the relationship between political thought and theology in the West. He has published articles in The Review of Politics, The Journal of Politics, The Journal of Religion, APSR, and Political Theory. In 1993 his book, Not by Reason Alone: Religion, History, and Identity in Early Modern Thought, was published by the University of Chicago Press. A second book, The Fragility of Freedom: Tocqueville on Religion, Democracy, and the American Future, was published in 1995, also by the University of Chicago Press. In 2006, Plato's Fable: on the Mortal Condition in Shadowy Times, was published by Princeton University Press. His most recent book, Tocqueville in Arabia: Dilemmas in a Democratic Age, was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2013. He is currently working on a book manuscript entitled, Reinhold Neibuhr and the Politics of Hope.

In addition to teaching at Georgetown University, Dr. Mitchell is an avid conservationist, working to restore his small forest on the Eastern Shore, and working to develop the next generation of solar-electric sailboats.

Joshua Mitchell spoke on the topic: "No Place for the Reformation?"

Luke Moon

Philos Project

Luke Moon is the Deputy Director of the Philos Project. Prior to that, Luke served as business manager for the Institute on Religion and Democracy, and, before that, as a missionary with Youth with a Mission for 12 years. Luke has lived, worked, and taught in over 46 countries, and has advocated on a number of human rights issues along the way. He holds a BA in Biblical Studies from the University of the Nations and an MA in Global Politics from Regent University. Luke is also an ordained Southern Baptist minister. Luke lives in Westchester County, NY with his wife, Meredith, and daughter, Havilah.

Raj Nair

Christians United for Israel (CUFI)

In helping create CUFI's new outreach for millennials, called“Israel Collective”, Raj drew creativity and ingenuity from his diverse media background. Raj’s career journey spans from covering dozen of Hollywood red carpets, to reporting at multiple college football national championship games, to filming Rolling Stone cover shoots and conducting movie press junkets for ESPN. But Raj came to CUFI after his admiration for Israel matured during his three years as a television host for TheBlaze TV Network. Raj and his wife Caitlin live in Brooklyn.

Robert Nicholson

Philos Project

Robert Nicholson is the Executive Director of the Philos Project, an American nonprofit that seeks to promote positive Christian engagement in the Middle East. Robert is also the co-publisher of Providence: A Journal of Christianity and American Foreign Policy. He holds a BA in Hebrew Studies from Binghamton University, and a JD and MA (Middle Eastern history) from Syracuse University. A former U.S. Marine and a 2012-2013 Tikvah Fellow, Robert has published articles in the Jerusalem Post, Times of Israel, Mosaic, Canon & Culture, and Syracuse Journal of International Law & Commerce. His work focuses on spreading the vision of a new multi-ethnic and multi-religious Middle East based on freedom and rule of law.

John O’Sullivan

Danube Institute

John O’Sullivan is an editor and columnist, director of 21st Century Initiatives and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute in Washington. His earlier posts include editor of National Review, associate editor of the London Times, senior fellow of the Hudson Institute, and special adviser to Margaret Thatcher.

John O’Sullivan spoke on the topic: “Identity Politics”

Dennis Prager

The Dennis Prager Show

Dennis Prager hosts the nationally syndicated radio talk show The Dennis Prager Show, a best-selling author, and is the co-founder of Prager University.

Dennis Prager spoke on the topic: “The Left is Destroying Western Civilization”

Dr. Charles Raith II

John Brown University

Charles Raith II, Ph.D. is Director of the Paradosis Center for Theology and Scripture and currently holds the J. Vernon McGee Chair of Biblical Studies and is Assistant Professor of Religion and Philosophy at John Brown University. He academic interests include historical theology from the high-Middles Ages to the early Reformation era, theological interpretation of scripture, and modern ecumenism. He has articles in numerous journals, including Pro Ecclesia, International Journal of Systematic Theology, Logos, Calvin Theological Journal, Journal for the Theological Interpretation of Scripture, amongst other. His books include Aquinas and Calvin on Romans: God’s Justification and Our Participation (Oxford University Press, 2014), After Merit: John Calvin’s Theology of Works and Reward (Vendenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2016), Ecumenism: A Guide for the Perplexed (Continuum, 2017; with R. David Nelson), and The Gospel of John: Theological-Ecumenical Readings (edited volume, Cascade, 2017).

Dr. Russell Reno

First Things

Russell Ronald "R.R." Reno III is the editor of First Things magazine. He was formerly a professor of theology and ethics at Creighton University. Reno is the author of several books, including "Resurrecting the Idea of a Christian Society", "Fighting the Noonday Devil — and Other Essays Personal and Theological", "In the Ruins of the Church", "Redemptive Change: Atonement and the Cure of the Soul", and a theological commentary on the Book of Genesis in the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible series, for which he also serves as general editor. He has also coauthored two books, "Heroism and The Christian Life" and "Sanctified Vision: An Introduction to Early Christian Interpretation of the Bible". His scholarly work ranges widely in systematic and moral theology, as well as in controverted questions of biblical interpretation.

Rusty Reno spoke on the topic: “Nationalism and the Question of the Sacred”

Sarah Rindner

Lander College for Women, Touro College

Sarah Rindner teaches English literature at Lander College for Women, a division of Touro College. In the past she has also taught English at Ma’ayanot and SAR High Schools. Her writing on Jewish and literary topics has appeared in the Jewish Review of Books, Mosaic Magazine, and her website, The Book of Books. She is also currently the Jewish Liaison for CanaVox, a project of the Witherspoon Institute.

Rabbi Mitchell Rocklin

The Tikvah Fund

Mitchell Rocklin is a resident research fellow at The Tikvah Fund, and a doctoral candidate in History at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is a Chaplain in the US Army Reserve with the rank of Captain, and is a member of the Rabbinical Council of America’s Executive Committee and Military Chaplaincy Committee. Rabbi Rocklin was previously a congregational rabbi in Connecticut, and has taught history at the City University of New York’s Hunter College.

Mitchell Rocklin spoke on the topic: “When Christians Were ‘Winners’: The Politics of Realignment”

Lisa Schiffren

Independent Women’s Forum

Lisa Schiffren is a Senior Fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum. As a rule, she takes a dark view of the direction our culture and its institutions are heading. Naturally, as a parent, with a stake in the future, and a patriot, she hopes to be proven wrong as often as possible.

Schiffren is particularly interested in culture, politics, defense policy, and, really, the whole range of human folly. Her work appears in National Review /NRO, The Weekly Standard, and other publications. She’s been on the usual TV and radio shows. She writes speeches and other materials for a range of private and public clients, but likes doing political work best.

Schiffren is a native New Yorker, with a B.A. in History from Bryn Mawr College. She was an editorial writer at the Detroit News, winning awards for coverage of welfare policy, crime, education and other urban issues. She covered national politics and spent a couple of years in and out of Pakistan and Afghanistan covering the Soviet War, traveling on foot and horseback, with the Mujahedeen. A stint in the Defense Department’s office of Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict, followed. Then it was off to the Bush I White House, where she wrote speeches for Vice President Dan Quayle, including the well known “Murphy Brown” speech, which ultimately sparked national interest in longstanding welfare reform goals. Both issues – Afghanistan and the consequences of widespread single motherhood – still threaten the continuity of Western Civ, and require frequent comment.

These days Schiffren lives in New York City with her three teenage daughters, and an energetic puppy. She is delighted to be back at IWF – of which she was an original founder, way back in 1993, when conservative women were still an exotic species.

Dr. Jonathan Silver

The Tikvah Fund

Jonathan Silver is Senior Director at the Tikvah Fund, where he oversees a range of educational programs and publishing ventures. He was educated at Tufts University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and holds a Ph.D. from the Department of Government at Georgetown University. He maintains research interests in ancient Greek and Hebraic political thought, and the theory and practice of American government.

Rabbi Gil Student

Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on Jewish issues featured in newspapers and magazines. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America, the Editorial Board of Jewish Action magazine and the Board of OU Press.

Ben Sweetwood

The Maccabee Task Force

Benjamin Sweetwood recently graduated with honors from Columbia University in the City of New York. While at Columbia he majored in political science with a focus on international relations and Chinese foreign policy. He has provided research for some of Columbia’s leading political science professors. Ben has worked at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, providing research for various scholars. He also worked as a personal research assistant to noted author, columnist, and pundit Jonah Goldberg. At Columbia University he chaired the American Enterprise Institute’s Executive Council, was President of Christians United for Israel, and was the Vice President of Students Supporting Israel. In 2015, Ben was awarded the Roger Pilon Fellowship, a yearly scholarship honoring a student of high academic achievement who works to advance the ideals of classical liberalism. Ben also blogs on political issues and world affairs, and his writing has appeared in such publications as The Times of Israel and The Tab.

Dr. Gregory Alan Thornbury

The King's College

Gregory Alan Thornbury, Ph.D., serves as the sixth President of The King's College in New York City – an institution dedicated to faith, free enterprise, and The American Dream. Called “America’s first hipster college president” by The American Spectator, Dr. Thornbury is also a Visiting Professor at the Values and Capitalism initiative of the American Enterprise Institute; a Senior Fellow for The Kairos Journal; a columnist for; and a member of the editorial board of the Salem Media Group. His recent books focus on the relationship between philosophy, theology, and culture. They include Recovering Classic Evangelicalism: Applying the Wisdom and Vision of Carl F. H. Henry, and Bigger on the Inside: Christianity and Doctor Who, with graphic artist Ned Bustard. His forthcoming work, Only Visiting This Planet (Penguin/Random House, 2016), is a biography of the 1970s Jesus Movement icon and rock pioneer, Larry Norman, whom Thornbury calls, “the forerunner of the millennial generation’s attitude toward religion.”

Prior to joining King’s in 2013, he served at Union University in Tennessee as a Professor of Philosophy, Founding Dean of the School of Theology, and Vice President. He has completed graduate work at Southern Seminary in Louisville and the University of Oxford in England. A popular campus speaker and lecturer, he is also a member of the Society of Christian Philosophers.

Dr. Thornbury and his wife Kimberly, who also holds the Ph.D., have two daughters and reside in Manhattan.

Gregory Thornbury spoke on the topic: “Jews and the Future of Christianity”

Mark Tooley

Institute on Religion and Democracy

Mark Tooley is Institute on Religion and Democracy president and editor of IRD's foreign policy and national security journal, Providence.  Prior to joining the IRD in 1994, Mark worked eight years for the Central Intelligence Agency. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and is a native of Arlington, Virginia. A lifelong United Methodist, he has been active in United Methodist renewal since 1988, when he wrote a study about denominational funding of pro-Marxist groups for his local congregation. He attends a United Methodist church in Alexandria, Virginia.  Mark Tooley became president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) in 2009. He joined IRD in 1994 to found its United Methodist committee (UMAction).

He is the author of Taking Back The United Methodist Church, published in 2008; Methodism and Politics in the 20th Century, published in 2012; and The Peace That Almost Was: The Forgotten Story of the 1861 Washington Peace Conference and the Final Attempt to Avert the Civil War, published in 2015. His articles about the political witness of America's churches have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The American Spectator, First Things, Patheos, World, Christianity Today, The Weekly Standard, National Review Online, Washington Examiner, Human Events, The Washington Times, The Review of Faith and International Affairs, Touchstone, The Chicago Tribune, The New York Post, and elsewhere. He is a frequent commentator on radio and television.

Mark Tooley spoke on the topic: "Nationalism and Christianity"

Rabbi Aron White

Yeshivat Hakotel

Aron White teaches Talmud at Yeshivat Hakotel in the Old City of Jerusalem, whilst studying for Rabbinic Ordination from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, and has written numerous articles on issues of Jewish thought and law for He works part time for CAMERA/UK Media Watch, and his writing on political topics have appeared in the Jerusalem Post, the Daily Caller, JNS, and the Algemeiner. Aron is the founder and director an organization called Olim VeTormim, which encourages people who have made Aliyah to Israel to donate blood regularly, and is the co-director of Shalhevet, a summer Jewish learning program for British University students.

Jonathan Yudelman

PhD candidate, Boston College

Jonathan Yudelman is a PhD candidate in Political Science at Boston College. He holds a BA in Jewish Thought and an MA in Philosophy from the Hebrew University. He was a 2013 Tikvah Fellow. His writing on culture, philosophy and politics has appeared in publications including Azure, First Things, the Jerusalem Post, and the LA Review of Books.

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