Jacob Bender is a documentary filmmaker, video producer, photographer, graphic designer, and interfaith consultant. During a career spanning more than thirty years, Jacob has produced numerous television, video, audiovisual and radio programs, along with graphic and print projects, museums exhibitions and educational programs. His clients have included a wide range of major corporations, including American Express, Time Warner, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NASA, and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, The Baltimore Zoo, and the United States National Park Service. Jacob also worked as an audio-visual producer at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem; the Israel Ministry of Education; and for the United States Constitutional Bicentennial Exhibition in 1985.
He is the director of the television documentary, “The Voice Still Speaks: Jews and Revelation,” broadcast nationally in 1999 on The Odyssey Channel, and “So Goes a Nation: Lawyers and Communities,” produced for Fordham University Law School and narrated by Sam Waterson and Jimmy Smits. “So Goes a Nation” has been screened at over 200 law schools around the world.
Jacob’s latest award-winning documentary, “Out of Cordoba”, is a timely and powerful plea for greater interfaith understanding in our troubled and often violent times. Through an exploration of the lives and writings of the two most important thinkers to emerge from medieval Muslim Spain: Averroes the Muslim, and his Jewish counterpart, Rabbi Moses Maimonides. The 82-minute film explores the legacy of these two philosophers, as well as their contemporary importance for interfaith relations, and especially for Muslims, Jews, and Christians struggling against religious extremism.
Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, Jacob was one of the initiators of interfaith dialogue with the American Muslim community. He has spoken dozens of times at mosques and at large gatherings of Muslims in the United States, particularly at the conventions of the Islamic Society of North America, the largest Muslim organization in the US. In 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, Jacob was a featured speaker at the annual Doha Conferences on Religious Dialogue, organized by the Foreign Ministry of Qatar. In 2008, he was invited by the Saudi Embassy in Washington, DC, to participate in the historic interfaith conference in Madrid initiated by HRH King Abdallah of Saudi Arabia. In January and June of 2009, Jacob spoke at interfaith conferences organized by Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. Jacob has also been a featured guest on the Aljazeera Channel show “Min Washington.”
He has published articles in Islamic Horizons Magazine, The Daily Star of Beirut, Lebanon, and an article appeared about him in The Arab News of Saudi Arabia. His “Letters to the Editor” have been published in newspapers around the world, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Jordan Times, The Gulf News, and El Pais.
Jacob has a degree in “The History of Religions” from the University of California at Los Angeles, and studied film and television at New York University’s Graduate School of Film.