Executive Director, Dr. Gary P. Zola
Gary Phillip Zola is the Executive Director of The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives (AJA) and 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. In his academic capacity, Professor Zola edits The Marcus Center's award-winning biannual publication, The American Jewish Archives Journal—one of only two academic periodicals focusing on the total historical experience of American Jewry.
In April 2011, Dr. Zola was appointed by President Obama to the Commission for the Preservation of American Heritage Abroad. Dr. Zola is the first faculty member of Hebrew Union College to receive such an appointment by a U.S. president. In 2006, Dr. Zola became the first American Jewish historian and the first American rabbi to receive appointment to the Academic Advisory Council of the congressionally recognized Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.
Dr. Zola is the second director of the American Jewish Archives, having succeeded his teacher and mentor, Dr. Jacob Rader Marcus (1896-1995), a pioneering scholar in the field of American Jewish history and the institution's founder. Under Dr. Zola's leadership, the physical home of the American Jewish Archives (AJA) has tripled in size. The AJA's Malloy Education Building, dedicated in 2005, houses electronic classrooms, distance learning centers, and public exhibition galleries. In addition, Dr. Zola has initiated an impressive array of innovative historical programs and projects that have captured the attention of both the Jewish and general communities. The national commemoration of the 350th anniversary of Jewish life in America constitutes the most notable example of Dr. Zola's contribution to the field.
Dr. Zola and his wife Stefi have four children: Mandi, Jory, Jeremy, and Samantha. Dr. Zola was ordained rabbi in 1982 from Hebrew Union College and was awarded his Doctor of Philosophy in American Jewish History in 1991. He and his wife Stefi reside in Cincinnati, Ohio.