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Sarna marks elevation to University Professor with lecture on Jewish political identity

Left to right: Brandeis President Ron Liebowitz, Brandeis University Professor Jonathan Sarna, his wife, Ruth Langer, and his son, Aaron
Left to right: Brandeis President Ron Liebowitz, Brandeis University Professor Jonathan Sarna, his wife, Ruth Langer, and his son, Aaron

Eminent historian and scholar Jonathan D. Sarna ’75, MA’75, was formally recognized as a University Professor, Brandeis’ highest academic honor, with a lecture and dinner on Nov. 28.

Sarna, the Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History, marked the occasion by delivering a lecture titled “Jews and American Politics: Historical Ideals and Contemporary Realities,” to a large gathering at the Spingold Theater that included members of the Brandeis administration, faculty, current and former students and many of the professor’s longtime mentors, friends and colleagues.

The lecture chronicled the changes in Jewish political identity from the mid-19th century to the present day.

“Jews have moved, in recent decades, from fearful outsiders to confident insiders, in American life generally and certainly in politics,” Sarna said. “The subject of Jewish politics, a secret or even a scandal in Abraham Lincoln’s day, can in our day become a subject for scholarly investigation.”

The talk was also a striking and comprehensive display of Sarna’s breadth of knowledge; he included years of research, even some from his undergraduate days at Brandeis, plus information he gathered while co-writing his 2015 book “Lincoln and the Jews: A History” with Benjamin Shapell.

Read more about Sarna and his lecture on Jewish political identity.

Categories: Faculty, Campus News
Date: November 29, 2017