Sarna elected president of the Association for Jewish StudiesJonathan D. Sarna, the Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History and chair of the Hornstein Program for Jewish Professional Leadership at Brandeis University, was elected president of the Association for Jewish Studies at its annual meeting.
Sarna is the fourth Brandeis faculty member to hold the office, and is the first offspring of a former association president to be elected to the position. The others from Brandeis to serve as president are Leon Jick (1969-71), Marvin Fox (1976-78) and Nahum M. Sarna (1984-85).
“This is great honor to be a leading an organization that plays an important role in furthering Jewish Studies scholarship and education,” says Sarna. “On a personal level, it means a great deal to me to be following in my father’s footsteps. As the first child of an Association for Jewish Studies president to be elected to the same position, I consider myself the ‘John Quincy Adams’ of the organization.”
Sarna, who is also the chief historian of the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia, earned his doctoral degree in history from Yale University and his undergraduate degree in Judaic studies and history from Brandeis.
“We are proud of Brandeis’ historic role in the creation and nurturing of the field of Jewish Studies in the United States and of our faculty who have served the profession in this role,” says Brandeis University Provost Steve Goldstein. “Dr. Sarna’s scholarly contributions and international stature are valued both by Brandeis and the Association.”
The Association for Jewish Studies (AJS) was founded in 1969 at Brandeis by a small group of scholars seeking a forum for exploring methodological and pedagogical issues in the new field of Jewish Studies. Since its founding, the organization has grown into the largest learned society and professional organization representing Jewish Studies scholars worldwide. Rona Sheramy, who earned a doctorate’s degree at Brandeis, is AJS’s current executive director. As a constituent organization of the American Council of Learned Societies, the AJS represents the field in the larger arena of the academic study of the humanities and social sciences in North America. AJS’s mission is to advance research and teaching in Jewish Studies at colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher learning, and to foster greater understanding of Jewish Studies scholarship among the wider public. Its more than 1,800 members are university faculty, graduate students, independent scholars, and museum and related professionals who represent the breadth of Jewish Studies scholarship.
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