Friday February 9, 2007

Top Jewish Historian Will Speak February 27

Jonathan D. Sarna will speak on "American Jewish History Backwards and Forwards." American Judaism: A History, Sarna's latest book, won the Jewish Book Council's Jewish Book of the Year Award in 2004.

An award-winning author and leading commentator on American Jewish history, religion and life will deliver the University of Dayton's Max and Darlene Gutmann Lecture in Judaic Studies at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27, in the ballroom of UD's Kennedy Union.

Jonathan D. Sarna will speak on "American Jewish History Backwards and Forwards." Sarna is the Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University and director of its Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program.

The event is free and open to the public.

American Judaism: A History, Sarna's latest book, won the Jewish Book Council's Jewish Book of the Year Award in 2004.

"This comprehensive and insightful study of the American Jewish experience is much more than just a record of events," according to the American Library Association's Booklist. "It is an account of how people shaped events: establishing and maintaining communities, responding to challenges, and working for change. It is compelling reading for Jews and non-Jews alike."

Born in Philadelphia, Sarna was raised in New York and Boston; he attended Brandeis University, the Boston Hebrew College, Merkaz HaRav Kook in Jerusalem and Yale University from which he received his doctorate in 1979.

From 1979 to 1990, he taught at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati where he became professor of American Jewish history and director of the Center for the Study of the American Jewish Experience. He also has taught at Yale, University of Cincinnati and Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

In 1990, he returned to Brandeis to teach American Jewish history in the department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies where he served two terms as chair. He now chairs the academic advisory and editorial board of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives. In addition, he is the chief historian of the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia.

Civic leaders and philanthropists Max and Darlene Gutmann established the Max and Darlene Gutmann Lectureship in Judaic Studies to promote Jewish Christian dialogue at UD and in the community.