Rachel Stern
Founding Director and CEO

Born and educated in Germany, Rachel Stern studied Art History and Economics at Georg August University in Göttingen. She immigrated to the United States in 1994, wrote for the AUFBAU and worked for ten years in the Department of Drawings and Prints at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. She has independently organized numerous art exhibitions, and has written extensively about art. Stern is a 2002 recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant and a 2017 recipient of the Hans and Lea Grundig Prize, in recognition of her research about the artist Fritz Ascher (Berlin, 1893-1970), the international traveling exhibition and the book To Live is to Blaze with Passion: The Expressionist Fritz Ascher/ Leben ist Glühn: Der Expressionist Fritz Ascher (Cologne: Wienand 2016). Most recently, she published a selection of poems by Fritz Ascher, Fritz Ascher. Poesiealbum 357 (Wilhelmshorst: Märkischer Verlag 2020) and edited, with Julia Diekmann, the exhibition catalogue The Lonely Man. Clowns in the Art of Fritz Ascher (1893-1970) / Der Vereinsamte. Clowns in der Kunst Fritz Aschers (1893-1970) (Holzminden: Verlag Jörg Mitzkat 2020). Stern serves on the board of the Fritz Ascher Stiftung at Stadtmuseum Berlin and is a member of Aktives Museum Berlin. Among others, she has served on the jury of the Congressional Art Competition New York, the Hans and Lea Grundig Prize, and as a panelist for the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs.

Ori Z Soltes, PhD
Founding Director

Ori Z Soltes, PhD teaches at Georgetown University across the disciplines of theology, art history, philosophy and politics. Since 1997 he is a Founding Director of the Holocaust Art Restitution Project (HARP). A former Director of the B’nai B’rit Klutznick National Jewish Museum in Washington, D.C., he has extensive experience in developing and executing exhibition concepts. He is the author or editor of 25 books, including The Ashen Rainbow: The Holocaust and the Arts; Symbols of Faith: How Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Art Draw from the Same Source; and Tradition and Transformation: Three Millennia of Jewish Art and Architecture. He recently edited Immortality, Memory, Creativity, and Survival: The Arts of Alice Lok Cahana, Ronnie Cahana and Kitra Cahana (New York: The Fritz Ascher Society for Persecuted, Ostracized and Banned Art 2020).

Steve Orlikoff
Founding Director

Steven Orlikoff is an international lawyer specializing in the Middle East and Africa. Orlikoff is a graduate of The University of Southern California, Cum Laude, and California Western School of Law. His many accomplishments include Honorary Consul to the Ivory Coast, and restoring and donating a Tunisian Synagogue to the Sylvia Plotkin Judaica Museum in Phoenix Arizona. Orlikoff is a member of the State Bar of New York, Texas, and the United States Supreme Court. Steven Orlikoff resides in New York City and the UAE.

Sam Koenig

Sam Konig was born in Vienna to Jewish – Polish parents, who were expelled from Poland with their families in 1969, and sought refuge in Copenhagen, where Sam grew up. He completed his secondary schooling in the United Kingdom. Sam attended McGill University, and then moved to Ottawa, where he completed his M.A. Sam moved to Baltimore, where he was the Executive Director of Towson University Hillel. Three years later he moved to New York City, where he worked for Hillel International as a Major Gifts Officer in the Tri-state area and then as Northeast Regional Director for the American Friends of Bar-Ilan University. Sam currently serves as the Director of Strategic Philanthropy for the Northeastern region at American Friends of Magen David Adom (AFMDA).

Ilona Oltuski, PhD

German-born American music journalist, pianist, and entrepreneur, Ilona Oltuski has been the founder and artistic director of GetClassical since 2008. A member of the Music Critics Association of North America, Oltuski has written articles for Classical Post, Naxos Deutschland, Sequenza21, Listen Magazine, Chamber Music Today, Moment Magazine and PianoNews Magazine, among others. Prior to becoming a passionate advocate for classical music in the United States, Mrs. Oltuski studied Piano Performance at the Hoch’sche Conservatory, and earned a Ph.D in Art History from Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt. As a concert producer, Oltuski has presented artists like Mischa Maisky, Michael Brown, Roman Rabinovitch, Paul Huang, Ching-Yun Hu, Daumants Liepins on the stages of some of the most iconic alternative concert venues of Manhattan: Le Poisson Rouge, St. John’s in the Village, Zinc Bar, India House and Gramercy Park Hotel’s Rose Bar, among others. Oltuski has served as a jury member for numerous international competitions, such as: Anselmo Academy Annual Competition, the Tsai Performance Center Concerto Competition at Boston University, the Philadelphia Young Pianists’ Academy Competition and the George Gershwin International Music Competition.