In 1982, in suburban New Jersey, Shaul Kelner was called to the Torah as a bar mitzvah. He symbolically “twinned” the ceremony with Leonid Barras, a 13-year-old Jewish boy in the Soviet Union whose family had been denied permission to emigrate to Israel. Young Shaul’s sermon railed against state sponsored antisemitism in the USSR. That was the extent of his activism in the campaign to free Soviet Jews. As penance for not stepping up more, he has spent the past decade helping recover and preserve the memory of the one of the great human rights triumphs of the 20th century. Kelner is now Associate Professor of Sociology and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University, specializing in the sociology of contemporary Jewish experience. His first book, Tours That Bind: Diaspora, Pilgrimage and Israeli Birthright Tourism, won awards from the Association for Jewish Studies and the American Sociological Association. His interest in how American Jews build community with Jews elsewhere in the world was his entry point into the sociology of tourism, a field connected to his work in this exhibition. The piece, “Refuseniks,” stems from a National Endowment for the Humanities-supported book project about American Jewry’s successful Cold War-era mobilization to free Soviet Jews. An alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship program, Kelner has been a Fellow of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute for Advanced Studies and of the University of Michigan’s Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies. He lives in Nashville with his wife, Pam, and their two college-age children.