The Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life

Nearly twenty-five years ago, a gift from visionary philanthropists Allen and Joan Bildner made it possible to establish the Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. The founding of the Center in 1996 and shortly thereafter the Department of Jewish Studies, represented a commitment to the growth and vitality of Jewish studies scholarship, Jewish culture, and more generally, Jewish life, at Rutgers University and in the broader community.

Under the guidance of Professor Emerita Yael Zerubavel, the Center’s founding director (1996 – 2018), it grew into an internationally recognized Center in the field of Jewish studies. Dr. Zerubavel, a pioneering scholar in Israel and memory studies, was awarded the Association of Israel Studies Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019.  Her books include the award-winning Recovered Roots: Collective Memory and the Making of Israeli National Tradition (University of Chicago Press, 1995), which has become the standard text in the field, and Desert in the Promised Land (Stanford University Press, 2019).

The Bildner Center is currently co-directed by Professor Nancy Sinkoff who serves as the Academic Director, and Karen Small the Managing Director.

The Bildner Center’s commitment to academic excellence includes hosting international scholarly conferences, fostering faculty research, and sponsoring visiting scholars who enhance the intellectual life at Rutgers. The Center serves as a bridge between the university and the community through a rich breadth of public programming that includes lectures and symposia, the annual Rutgers Jewish Film Festival, Jewish communal initiatives, cultural events, and teacher training in Holocaust education under the auspices of the Herbert and Leonard Littman Families Holocaust Resource Center. Working closely with the Department of Jewish Studies, the Bildner Center offers a wide range of programs and opportunities for students as well as seminars for faculty. The Center also collaborates with other schools, units, and departments throughout the university as well as with academic institutions, cultural organizations, and scholars around the region, nationally, and internationally, creating educational programs that draw diverse audiences.

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Nancy Sinkoff Karen Small
Academic Director

Managing Director

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Jenny Gehrmann Darcy Maher Sarah Portilla
Senior Department

Fostering Academic Excellence

Partnering with the Community

Serving as a Holocaust Resource Center

  • Teacher training
  • Resource for scholars, teachers and students
  • Access to USC Shoah Foundation's Visual History Archive
  • Public programs on the Holocaust, racism, and genocide