Browse the Presenters


Gridley, Mark C.

Mark C. Gridley, Ph.D., is a professional jazz saxophonist-flutist-bandleader who taught jazz history and appreciation at Case Western Reserve University, where he developed America's most widely used introductions to jazz: "Jazz Styles: History and Analysis and its abridged edition, Concise Guide to Jazz," (Prentice-Hall). His books have been translated into six foreign languages. His articles appear in numerous academic musicology journals as well as Groves Dictionaries of Music and Encyclopaedia Britannica. Gridley has been honored by the Educational Press Association of America’s Distinguished Achievement Award, and he is listed in "Marquis Who’s Who in America."

Gurinsky, Sylvia

A native South Floridian, Sylvia Gurinsky is a local history educator and guide for Context Travel, Flamingo Gardens, the Miami-Dade County Women's Park, and various local universities. She co-hosts the television series "Roadside Florida," produced by the Lynn & Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives. A graduate of Florida International University, she worked for WPLG-Channel 10, "the Jewish Journal," and History Miami Museum. Her honors have included two Florida Associated Press Awards for Editorial Writing and a Peter Jennings Project Fellowship for Journalists and the Constitution at the National Constitution Center.

Hagood, Taylor

Taylor Hagood, Ph.D., is a professor of American literature at FAU. He has published several books, including “Faulkner; Writer of Disability”, (winner of the 2014 C. Hugh Holman Award for Best Book in Southern Studies), has lectured in venues throughout North America and Europe and was a Fulbright Professor at the University of Munich (2009-10).

Hennekens, Charles H.

Charles H. Hennekens, M.D., DrPH, FACPM is the first Sir Richard Doll Professor of Medicine and Senior Academic Adviser to the Dean in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine (COM) at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). He was born in Brooklyn, NY and moved to Queens at age 10 and graduated from Queens College Phi Beta Kappa where he was inducted into the Achievement and Athletic Halls of Fame and the baseball stadium was dedicated in his name. He graduated from Cornell University Medical College and completed his residency in internal medicine at The New York Hospital. After 2 years as Lieutenant Commander as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention he went to Harvard and became the first John Snow Professor as well as the first Eugene Braunwald Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School and first Chief of Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He was ranked #81 in the history of the world for having saved over 1.1 million lives, ahead of Jonas Salk (83) and Henry Heimlich (101).

Herman, Helene

Helene Herman recently retired as President of a 400-member lifelong learning club in Florida that evolved from Brandeis Women and now lectures on a variety of historical and cultural topics both in person and via Zoom. Herman has more than 30 years of executive-level experience in global marketing for a variety of American manufacturers in diverse product areas. She earned a bachelor's degree in anthropology from NYU; her background in cultural anthropology was instrumental in putting her on the path to her marketing career and her career as a Lifelong Learning lecturer.

Hoffman, Avi

Avi Hoffman was recently awarded Congressional recognition, was invited to the Vatican to meet Pope Francis, and was inducted into the Bronx Jewish Hall of Fame for his lifetime work advancing Jewish culture, Yiddishkayt, and Holocaust awareness through the charity he founded the Yiddishkayt Initiative, Inc. ( As an actor, he was nominated for a NY Drama Desk Award for his Yiddish language portrayal of Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman. He is best known for his Too Jewish Trilogy: Award-winning one-man shows Too Jewish, Too Jewish, Too! (PBS, Performer of the Year '95 - NY Press Magazine; L.A. OVATION award - Best Actor In a Musical 2001; NY Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle award nominations) and his latest show Still Jewish After All These Years. On TV, he was featured as Sid Raskin in the Starz TV series Magic City, as well as on Netflix’s Bloodline, A&E’s The Glades, and the NBC series Law and Order. He starred in the International Award-winning short Yiddish Film: Shehita (Best Thriller - HollyShorts Festival) and the motion picture – The Imported Bridegroom. He was seen in the PBS documentary "They Came For Good: A History of the Jews in the US". Hoffman has performed all over the world, has numerous acting and directing credits, and has received multiple awards and nominations.