Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington | Lillian & Albert Small Jewish Museum

About Us: Staff

Laura Cohen Apelbaum, Executive Director

Laura is a native of the Washington area and has been Executive Director of the Society since 1994. Her work has centered on preservation of the 1876 historic synagogue, building the community’s archives, expanding the Society’s school and family programs, and outreach in the community.

Previously she worked as an attorney for both the local and the federal government. She has a Masters in Taxation from Georgetown University, a law degree from George Washington University, and a Bachelors degree in American History from Duke University.

Read Laura's for Cultural Tourism DC.

Sam Bass, Program Coordinator

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Samantha began at the Society in 2011 as an intern and volunteer. She holds an Masters in Museum Studies with concentrations in administration and exhibition development from the George Washington University and a Bachelors in History with minors in English, Jewish Studies, and Spanish from the University of Minnesota.

Mary Ann Dawedeit, Office Manager

Contact for assistance with:

  • Membership
  • Contributions
  • Vendors
  • Rental of the historic 1876 synagogue
  • Gift shop purchases

Mary Ann is a native Washingtonian, and proud to be providing administration, finance, and property management for the Society, as well as working with the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee. Seeing the Capitol on the way to work every day has been an added bonus! Mary Ann was previously the operations manager for a local franchise, Wild Bird Centers of America. 

Zachary Paul Levine, Curator

Contact for assistance with:

  • Inquiries from other museums and related institutions

Zachary grew up in the Washington area.  He joined the Society in 2014 to help guide the development of the new museum’s themes and core exhibition. Zachary brings a background in developing art and history exhibitions, scholarly historical research and writing, and multimedia production. He received an Masters in History from Central European University in Budapest before entering the Ph.D. program in Judaic Studies and History at New York University. He holds BAs in Government and Politics and Jewish Studies from the University of Maryland.

Wendy Turman, Archivist

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Wendy has worked for the Society since 2000. She has a Masters in Museum Studies from George Washington University and a Bachelors degree in History from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She previously worked at the National Museum of Health and Medicine and at the Smithsonian Institution.

Claire Uziel, Assistant Archivist

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Claire has worked at the Society since 2005. She holds a Masters in Library Science, specializing in Archives, Records, and Information Management, from the University of Maryland and a Bachelors degree in Sociology with a minor in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University.