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Obama nominates out lesbian for U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council

President Barack Obama this week announced a series of nominations for administration posts, including the nomination of out lesbian Susan E. Lowenberg to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council.

Lowenberg is the daughter of a Holocaust survivor.

She also is president of Lowenberg Corporation, an industrial real estate investment firm and serves on several philanthropic boards, including the American Jewish World Service, the Holocaust Memorial Education Fund, the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco and the Horizons Foundation Advisory Board. 

She has been a director of the Bank of San Francisco since 2007 and served on the San Francisco’s city and county of San Francisco planning commission from 1991 to 1997. In 1993, she received the Harry S. Rosen Young Leadership Award from the Jewish Agency for Israel. 

Other nominees to the Holocaust Memorial Council include:

• Tom A. Bernstein, president and Co-Founder of Chelsea Piers, L.P., which was formed in 1992 to develop and operate the Chelsea Piers Sports and Entertainment Complex along Manhattan’s Hudson River. He was first appointed to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council in 2002 and was designated chairperson by Obama in 2010. 

• Amy Friedkin, the president of the Board of Directors of ISRAEL21c, an online news and educational magazine. She also serves on the board of directors of the Jewish Community Foundation of the East Bay and the Hadassah Foundation and served as the national chair of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

• Deborah A. Oppenheimer, executive vice president of NBCUniversal International Television Production. She created and produced the acclaimed documentary, "Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport,” for which she won an Academy Award in 2000. 

• Cheryl Peisach, the founder and CFO of Passion Growers, LLC, an importer and distributor of fresh cut roses founded in 2002. She is a board member of the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundation and Memorial Foundation and serves on the University of Pennsylvania’s Trustee’s Council of Penn Women. She is the daughter of a Holocaust survivor. 

• Richard S. Price, chairman and CEO of Mesirow Financial, a diversified financial services firm. He is on the Board of Directors of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, The Executives’ Club of Chicago and the Big Shoulders Fund.

• Elliot J. Schrage, vice president of communications and public policy at Facebook. He has served on the board of the International League for Human Rights and was a trustee for the Harvard Law School Association of New York. 

The president also nominated  Ranee Ramaswamy for the National Council on the Arts. She is the founder and co-artistic director of the Ragamala Dance Company and has been a master choreographer, performer and teacher of Bharatanatyam dance since 1978.

The president, in a statement from the White House, said, “These dedicated and accomplished individuals will be valued additions to my Administration as we tackle the important challenges facing America. I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.”

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