The founding director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University will be the featured speaker at Maimonides School’s annual commemoration of the Kristallnacht pogrom on Sunday, Nov. 6, beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Dr. Ilan (Selwyn) Troen, professor of Israel studies at Brandeis, will speak on “The Shoah in Israeli Politics and Culture.”
Prof. Troen attended Maimonides School in the 1950s and earned degrees from Brandeis and Hebrew College. He made aliyah in 1975 and joined the staff of Ben-Gurion University in Beersheva, serving as dean of humanities and social sciences and director of the Ben-Gurion Research Institute and Archives in Sde Boker.
The Kristallnacht commemorative lecture at Maimonides began more than 20 years ago, when longtime faculty member Rabbi Isaiah Wohlgemuth, zt”l, described his personal experiences. Rabbi Wohlgemuth’s shul in Bavaria was attached by rioters on Kristallnacht and he was interned at Dachau for several weeks.
“I remember Rabbi Wohlgemuth well,” Prof. Troen said. “I studied Gemara with him and would even see him at his apartment when I visited his son Shlomo who was a classmate and friend. It would be a source of great pleasure to try to honor him and his memory.”
The speaker, who also holds the Stoll Family Chair in Jewish Studies at Brandeis, is president of the Association for Israel Studies. He has contributed to the rapid development of this discipline through the Schusterman program, which has trained 270 academics from more than 200 universities worldwide and has contributed to the establishment of centers or programs for Israel Studies in the U.S., Canada, China, India, Hungary and Romania.
Prof. Troen is the author and editor of numerous books and articles in English and Hebrew on American, Jewish and Israeli history. He is also the founding editor of Israel Studies, an international journal to which more than 3,400 universities subscribe. In public engagements, Prof. Troen often focuses on disseminating an informed appreciation for Israel. He plays a leading role in the campaign to counter the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions).
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