|Other names||Hillel Abramson|
|Education||Doctor of Philsophy (History), University of Toronto, 1995.|
|Occupation||Dean of Lander College of Arts and Sciences, educator, author, lecturer|
Henry (Hillel) Abramson (born 1963) is the Dean of the Lander College of Arts and Sciences in Flatbush, New York. Before that, he served as the Dean for Academic Affairs and Student Services at Touro College's Miami branch (Touro College South). He is notable for his teachings on Jewish history and Judaism as a religion.
Henry Abramson was born and raised in Iroquois Falls, Ontario. He received his doctorate in history from the University of Toronto in 1995, studying under Professor Paul Robert Magocsi, earning the first PhD in Ukrainian-Jewish history awarded since the establishment of the Chair of Ukrainian Studies there. His research was also supervised by Professor Michael Marrus and Professor Zvi Gitelman.
Abramson was named to the Shevchenko Scientific Society in 1999. The Shevchenko Scientific Society is a Ukrainian scientific society devoted to the promotion of scholarly research and publication that was founded in 1873.
He was Assistant and later Associate Professor of History/Jewish Studies at Florida Atlantic University from 1996-2006 and during that time held appointments at a number of institutions including Oxford University, Cornell University, Harvard University, and Hebrew University. While teaching at Hebrew University, he simultaneously attended the class taught by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach at Ohr Somayach, Jerusalem. His study partners there included Rabbi Natan Gamedze. As Associate Professor and University Library Scholar of Judaica, he worked with the large collection of Yiddish materials in the Wimberly Library, and in this capacity he founded the Kultur Festival of Yiddish Culture in Boca Raton.
In 2006, Abramson moved to his position at Touro College South. Since 2015 he serves as Dean of the Avenue J campus of Touro College in Brooklyn, New York. He has since founded the Flatbush Society of Fellows, an honours program for students at the Avenue J campus of Touro College.
Effective from September 2018, he was named Dean and Chief Academic Officer of Machon L'Parnasa Institute for Professional Studies at Touro College. The responsibilities of this position include working with the College architects and construction teams in the design and construction of a new campus, the overhaul of existing associate degree programs and the creation of vocation-oriented academic programming. Abramson also gives a class on the Mesillat Yesharim at the Young Israel of Lawrence Cedarhurst, and an online Jewish History course for Landers college for men as well as for Lander College of Arts & Sciences.
Henry Abramson is largely known for his scholarship in Ukrainian Jewish history and antisemitic iconography, but his interests also include the history of Orthodox Judaism, the Talmud and the Haskalah. He authored the "Ukraine" entry in The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe as well as the "Zionist movement" entry in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine. Abramson also was curator for an exhibit on the history of antisemitic iconography in Florida entitled "The Art of Hatred". He has written two introductory books directed toward general audiences about the Talmud and lectures regularly at Touro College South about the history of Orthodox Judaism.
Abramson has also been a popularizer of Jewish thought, publishing a primer of Talmud and other works on the Jewish intellectual tradition. He is also known for his research on the development of five major narratives for Jewish national identity, first presented at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan in 2003 (Citation: "The End of Intimate Insularity: New Narratives of Jewish History in the Post-Soviet Era," Construction and Deconstruction of National Identities in Post-Soviet Eurasia, ed. Tadayuki Hayashi, Sapporo: Hokkaido University, 2003, 87-115.) and for his work on Rabbi Kalonymus Kalmish Shapiro, a Hasidic Rabbi active in the Warsaw Ghetto during the Holocaust. In 2014, Abramson published "The Kabbalah of Forgiveness: The Thirteen Levels of Mercy", a translation of Tomer Devorah by Moses Cordovero ("Date Palm of Devorah").
Abramson is the author of the Jewish History in Daf Yomi podcast, a project of the Orthodox Union Daf Yomi Initiative. Since the Spring of 2019, he has been recording brief videos discussing historical aspects of the daily Talmud study program called Daf Daf Yomi. The overall project will require over 2,700 videos over seven years of research.
Lars Fischer, the Academic Director at The Woolf Institute, criticized Abramson's work for privileging claims made by historians largely sympathetic to traditional Ukrainian narratives while claiming to follow the trend of synthesizing of Jewish and Ukrainian historiographical approaches; Abramson, in a rebuttal, rejected this criticism. In a later article, Fischer noted that while he would "now be more prepared to acknowledge the extent to which Abramson has indeed succeeded in creating a historiographical synthesis," he "would add that it is precisely the desire to synthesise rather than radically deconstruct the existing paradigms that is in fact the problem" and still maintains Abramson's "approach fairly consistently privileges and perpetuates the paradigms that traditionally constitute the National Ukrainian approach".