News | Post-Its

Tucson Jewish Museum announces new director

Lori Shepherd

After an extensive and rigorous search, the Board of Directors of the Tucson Jewish Museum & Holocaust Center is pleased to announce that Lori Shepherd has accepted the position of Executive Director, effective March 16, 2022.

Lori is the former Executive Director of the El Paso Holocaust Museum & Study Center.

When Lori and her family relocated to El Paso in 2010, she had no idea of all the ways it would change her life. A native of Kentucky, she fell in love with the warmth of the Southwest – from the weather to the people. She quickly vowed never to go back to those cold Southeastern winters.

But the most important change came when she became the Executive Director of the El Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center. While she had enjoyed a long career in the nonprofit community, this position was a departure from her previous organizational leadership roles.

Lori learned about the Holocaust firsthand from El Paso’s vibrant survivor community and strengthened her understanding of the pedagogy of the Holocaust and genocides through the museum’s connections with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Association of Holocaust Organizations, and scholars in the field such as Father Patrick Desbois and Dr. Deborah Lipstadt. All the while, she developed a deep passion for this work and those with whom she was fortunate to work.

When she left the El Paso Holocaust Museum for her family’s move to Arizona, she knew she was leaving behind more than just a job and more than just co-workers.

Now she is excited to return to the field of Jewish history and Holocaust education as Executive Director of the TJMHC.

Lori looks forward to working closely with all of the TJMHC’s internal and external stakeholders to continue the Museum’s long-standing traditions of creating innovative community programs and being a voice for social justice in Southern Arizona.

“As we go forward into a world made uncertain by continued pandemic, political rancor, and for so many, socioeconomic uncertainty,” she says,” we must continue to use the lessons of the Holocaust to help create a more just and peaceful world. We will continue to be a place where Jewish values of social justice, tolerance, and repair of the world have a home. We will accomplish this by actively reflecting on who we are and how we can best serve the community, and by having the same active and open conversations that we promote – reaching out to Southern Arizona’s diverse communities and asking, “How can we help?”

A search committee made up of Board members and community advisors met regularly to develop a process, screen applicants, and interview candidates, and voted unanimously to approve Lori as Executive Director.

“The TJMHC Board of Directors welcomes Lori and is excited to begin working with her as our new leader, ” says Board President Eric Schindler. “On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Michelle Blumenberg for her spectacular work as Interim Executive Director for the past 10 months,” he adds. Michelle will stay on through March 31 to provide for a smooth transition.