Founder & Director


Claude Ganz, Founder, immigrated to the United States from Europe. After fleeing Germany during the Hitler regime, he went to France where he was placed in a deportation camp from which he and his family escaped to Switzerland in 1943. After four years of internment as a refugee he came to California in 1947. A successful businessman, he was appointed by President Clinton to oversee the economic reconstruction of Bosnia. He has a broad history of community service. His many involvements include serving on the boards of the San Francisco State University Business School, the SF Jewish Community Federation, PBS Broadcasting Station, the American Conservatory Theatre, the San Francisco Art Institute, the San Francisco Film Festival, the Jewish Home for the Aged, the Jerusalem Foundation, and he was the President of the Board of the SFO Jewish Museum (now the Contemporary Jewish Museum).


Michael Ezra, Director of Jewish Studies, is a professor of American Multicultural Studies at Sonoma State University. Ezra earned a Ph.D. in American Studies in 2001 from the University of Kansas. Dr. Ezra has written three books: Muhammad Ali: The Making of an Icon (Temple University Press, 2009) and Civil Rights Movement: People and Perspectives (ABC-CLIO, 2009), and The Economic Civil Rights Movement (Routledge, 2013). Ezra has held National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships from the Chicago Historical Society in 2003 and Harvard University in 2008. In addition to his research, Ezra teaches courses in American history, race and ethnicity, and popular culture.