Dr. Jonathan Sarna of Brandeis University to present lecture on Judaism in America at Fairfield University


The Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies of the College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University will present Jonathan Sarna, Ph.D., the Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University, on Tuesday, Oct. 26, at 7:30 p.m. in the Charles F. Dolan School of Business. Dr. Sarna's lecture, which is entitled "American Judaism: 350 Years of an Old Faith in the New World," will be part of the fifth annual Judaic Studies scholar-in-residence program at Fairfield University.

Dr. Sarna chairs the Academic Advisory and Editorial Board of the Jacob Radar Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati and is the past chair of the Academic Council of the American Jewish Historical Society. He has also recently been named chairman of the Academic Advisory Council for Celebrate 350: Jewish Life in America, a collection of organizations focused on raising national awareness regarding the 350th anniversary of Judaism in America.

Dr. Sarna has written, edited or co-edited 20 books, including "The American Jewish Experience," a reader; "People Walk on Their Heads," a volume dealing with Jewish immigrant life in New York; and "The Jews of Boston," an illustrated scholarly history of that community. In addition, Dr. Sarna sits on half-a-dozen editorial committees and reviews Jewish books for the Boston Globe.

In 1974 Dr. Sarna received his B.H.L. at Hebrew College. At Brandeis the following year, he received both his B.A. and his M.A. He then attended Yale University where he earned an M.A. in 1976, an M. Phil. in 1978 and a Ph.D. in 1979. He is currently completing a new interpretive history of American Judaism to be published by Yale University Press.

Dr. Sarna has written extensively about 20th century Judaism in American culture. In a recent publication entitled "American Jewish History 1654-2004," he depicts four central ideas in American Judaism, which include Israel, the Holocaust, feminism and Jewish Spirituality. "Caring about Israel and remembering the Holocaust became central to Jews," he writes. Tying historical themes to current day realities he noted, "The destruction of six million Jews followed by the 'miraculous' creation of the Jewish state served as a modern-day reenactment of an ancient tale of death and rebirth."

There is no charge for admission to the public lecture; however, space is limited, and reservations are requested. Dr. Sarna's visit to Fairfield is made possible by a gift from David and Edith Chaifetz of Fairfield.

For information and to register, please contact Judaic Studies at Fairfield University at (203) 254-4000 ext. 2066. For more information regarding Celebrate 350, please visit www.celebrate350.org.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on September 27, 2004

Vol. 37, No. 23