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October 23, 2014 / 29 Tishri, 5775
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Brandeis’ Jonathan Sarna to Lead Jewish Studies Association

By: JTA

Jonathan Sarna, a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University, was elected president of the Association for Jewish Studies at its annual meeting.

Sarna is the fourth Brandeis professor to serve in the role — one was his father, Nahum Sarna.

“This is a great honor to be a leading an organization that plays an important role in furthering Jewish Studies scholarship and education,” Sarna said. “On a personal level, it means a great deal to me to be following in my father’s footsteps.”

Sarna is the chief historian of the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia and also serves as a JTA board member.

[He is famous for his honest and introspective statement: “Once upon a time, some people went to synagogue to talk to God. Nowadays, more and more people come to see their friends. The prayers and sermons are a distraction. Conviviality goes better with a drink.” -- JPress]

The Association for Jewish Studies 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.

The association’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.

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