Jonathan D. Sarna
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Jonathan D. Sarna

Jonathan D. Sarna (born 10 January 1955) is the Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History in the department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies[1] at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts and director of its Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program.[2]

Early life and education

He is the son of Hebrew College librarian Helen Horowitz Sarna[3] and biblical scholar Nahum Sarna. Born in Philadelphia, and raised in New York City and Newton Centre, Massachusetts, Sarna attended Brandeis University, Hebrew College in Newton Centre, Massachusetts, Mercaz HaRav Kook in Jerusalem, Israel and Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, where he obtained his doctorate in 1979.[4]


Sarna is regarded by Forward newspaper as one of the most prominent historians of American Judaism.[4] His 2004 book,[5]American Judaism: A History,[6] received the National Jewish Book Award and appeared as Publishers Weekly's Best Religion Book.[7]

In 2011 he was elected president of the Association for Jewish Studies and would serve in the position until 2015.[8]

Sarna is a contributor on religion to the joint project On Faith.[9]

He is the author of Lincoln and the Jews: A History, from St. Martin's Press (2015).

He is a member of The Rohr Jewish Learning Institute's Academic Advisory Board.[10][11]

One of Sarna's most widely cited academic contributions relates to his scholarship on Ulysses S. Grant's relationship with American Jews. General Ulysses S. Grant in December 1862 issued an order expelling Jewish traders from his military command; it was a blatant display of anti-Semitism and president Lincoln forced Grant to rescind it. In his book on When General Grant Expelled the Jews (2012) Sarna argues that Grant became one of the greatest friends of Jews in American history. When he was president, he appointed more Jews than any previous president. He condemned atrocities against Jews in Russia, putting human rights on the American diplomatic agenda.[12]

Honors and awards

Sarna received the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry's Marshall Sklare Award in 2002.[13]

Personal life

Sarna is married to Boston College theology professor Ruth Langer, with two children, Aaron and Leah.[4]


  1. ^ Near Eastern and Judaic Studies
  2. ^ Brandeis University, Hornstein faculty
  3. ^ Helen Sarna renowned cataloger of Hebrew text
  4. ^ a b c
  5. ^ Brandeis University, Near Eastern and Judaic Studies faculty
  6. ^ H-Net Editors Directory - Jonathan Sarna Archived 2007-02-14 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Sarna, Jonathan D. (2004). American Judaism: A History. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. pp. back cover. ISBN 0-300-10976-8.
  8. ^ "Sarna elected president of the Association for Jewish Studies". BrandeisNOW. Retrieved .
  9. ^ Jonathan D. Sarna Archives, On Faith,
  10. ^ Lakein, Dvora. "Chabad's Rohr JLI Offers Retreat to Self". Chabad Lubavitch World HQ/ News. Retrieved December 2013. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  11. ^ Chabad Lubavitch Headquarters. "National Jewish Retreat Opens in Virginia". Chabad Lubavitch World HQ/ News. Retrieved 2012.
  12. ^ Jonathon D. Sarna, When General Grant Expelled the Jews Knopf Doubleday 2012 pp.100-101.
  13. ^ Marshall Sklare Award Recipients, Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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