MEET THE PRESENTERS
Matthew Sabatella, M.A. brings to life music that is woven into the fabric of the United States. As a singer, instrumentalist, recording artist, performer, speaker, and writer, he illuminates the connection between music and the story and people of the United States. He performs regularly, both as a solo artist and as the leader of the Rambling String Band. The nonprofit he founded, Ballad of America, Inc., preserves and celebrates music from America's diverse cultural history. Sabatella has been singular in his mission to share America's rich musical heritage with others, both for the sheer love of the music and for its value in inspiring people to better understand each other, the past, present, and future. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Miami and a Master of Arts in History from Florida International University.
As the director of educational outreach at the Holocaust Documentation and Education Center for twenty-six years, Merle Saferstein worked closely with hundreds of Holocaust survivors helping them to pass along their Legacy of Remembrance to students and teachers. When she retired from the Holocaust Center, she developed a course entitled Living and Leaving Your Legacy® and teaches and speaks to audiences locally, nationally, and internationally. She does sacred legacy work with patients at the end of their lives. For fourteen years, she culled through her journals taking excerpts according to approximately seventy topics. Living and Leaving My Legacy, vol. 1 is her legacy journal which she has written from these excerpts and which was published in June 2022. Merle is a council member of the International Association of Journal Writing, is the author of Room 732 and is a contributor to the Huffington Post, Medium, Authority Magazine, and Thrive Global. Her chapter on legacy journaling appears in The Great Book of Journaling.
Ata Sarajedini, Ph.D., is a professor and the Bjorn Lamborn Endowed Chair in Astrophysics at FAU. Before coming to FAU in January of 2017, he served as associate dean for natural sciences and mathematics as well as associate dean for research in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Florida. Before that, he was Associate Chair and Acting Chair in the Department of Astronomy. After earning his doctoral degree in astronomy at Yale in 1992, he spent seven years as a postdoctoral researcher and a Hubble Fellow at Kitt Peak National Observatory and San Francisco State University. Sarajedini spent two years at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT as an assistant professor before moving to the University of Florida in 2001. His research is focused on resolved stellar populations in Local Group galaxies. These include field stars, open and globular clusters in the Milky Way, M31, M33, the Magellanic Clouds, and the numerous nearby dwarf galaxies. In 2024, Sarajedini was selected as a Fellow of the American Astronomical Society, which honors members for extraordinary achievement and service for contributions to the field of Resolved Stellar Populations as applied to the formation and evolution of star clusters and galaxies, extensive service to the astronomical community through leadership of committees, and outstanding efforts in public outreach such as hosting the "Astronomy Minute" podcast.
H.V. Savitch, Ph.D., is a global fellow at the Wilson Center, (Washington, D.C.) and Emeritus Brown & Williamson Professor, University of Louisville. He has written fourteen books and 100 published articles. He earned a doctoral degree in government and international relations and taught courses dealing with the American presidency at New York University and the State University of New York, (Purchase). Savitch’s career touches both sides of the White House/Israeli relationship. On the White House side, his experience dates back to the transition between the Republican Ford and Democratic Carter presidencies. He spent that critical time interviewing both Republican and Democratic policymakers. On the Israeli side of his background, Savitch has been a Lady Davis Fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and served as a research rellow at Jerusalem’s Floersheimer Institute for public policy. His work on urban terror comprises a book, “Cities in a Time of Terror”, and a monograph titled, “Trauma and Recovery in Jerusalem”. His published op-ed articles on Israel have appeared in the Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel, and The Algemeiner. Savitch has been a consultant to the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Israeli-Palestinian issues.
Mark Schneider, Ph.D., , Yale University, taught sociology at Yale, Princeton, and the University of Michigan before finishing his career at Southern Illinois University--Carbondale. He is the author of two books, "Culture and Enchantment," about the factors that allow sciences to separate themselves from the occult, and "The Theory Primer," a practical guide to sociological theorizing, as well as a number of scholarly articles and book chapters. In retirement, he has been active as president of the Palm Beach County Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, with the Speakers' Bureau of the League of Women Voters of Palm Beach County, and with the county's Community Remembrance Project, which is memorializing lynchings that occurred in the Palm Beach County. His first book, "Culture, and Enchantment," helps to lay the theoretical groundwork for his current interest in how and why disinformation is created, disseminated, and embraced.
Dr. Seidman is a 30-years holistic medicine practitioner and founder of the Hunyuan balancing system, Tai Chi and Qi Gong teacher, Huai Xuan heart healing advocate, author, educator, innovator of the Hunyuan Fertility Method, a husband, father and a passionate champion of all things promoting health, happiness and longevity. According to Dr Seidman, peak health is achieved through exercising the body, recharging unification, restoring harmony in the heart and cultivating relationships. For 7 years, Dr Seidman was a private student of the late Tai Chi master Feng Zhiqiang and he is a current indoor student of Liu Bogu, lineage holder of the Huai Xuan school and the great grandson of Liu Yuan.