A Lasting Presence at Baruch
That question was explored by Jonathan D. Sarna, chief historian of the National Museum of American Jewish History, who gave a talk in March at Baruch College based on his new book, When General Grant Expelled the Jews. Sarna (left), an American Jewish history professor at Brandeis University, is among the many lecturers and performers who have appeared during the past year at the Jewish Studies Center (JSC), part of the College’s Mildred and George Weissman School of Arts and Sciences.
Other recent events of note include an examination of the role of Jews in film, a discussion of the existence of God, and a Chanukkah concert. In April the center commemorated Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, with a presentation by the National Yiddish Theatre–Folksbiene Company, and in May hosted a conference about Sephardic American Jewry.
Taking full advantage of its Manhattan locale, the JSC collaborates with other New York–based Jewish institutions to develop programs, conferences, and courses. An intersession class about the Holocaust, with a trip to concentration camps in Poland, is being planned with the Museum of Jewish Heritage. The Leo Baeck Institute, the American Sephardi Federation, and the CUNY Center for Jewish Studies are other key JSC partners.
Despite being a relatively new entity (opened in fall 2010), the JSC has attracted a great deal of alumni support. Thanks to very generous individual donations from Baruch College Fund Trustees Sandra Wasserman (’55) and William Newman (’47, LLD [Hon.] ’97), the center will be dedicated and will get a new directorship. “We’re extremely grateful to these two families,” said JSC Director Jessica Lang. “The center is very young, but these two gifts will ensure that the Jewish Studies Center has a lasting presence at Baruch.”