Jonathan Sarna, Brandeis University
Trayes Hall, Douglass Campus Center
In 1862, Civil War general Ulysses S. Grant issued a sweeping order expelling “Jews as a class” from his war zone. It remains the most notorious anti-Jewish official order in American history, and it came back to haunt Grant in 1868 when he ran for president. The memory of the “obnoxious order” shaped President Grant’s relationship with the Jewish community, and, surprisingly, he did more for Jews than any other president had done before. Sarna will explore this fascinating period in American Jewish history, the subject of his forthcoming book When Grant Expelled the Jews.
Dr. Jonathan Sarna is the Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University and Chief Historian of the new National Museum of American Jewish History. Dubbed by the Forward newspaper in 2004 as one of America's fifty most influential American Jews, he was Chief Historian for the 350th commemoration of the American Jewish community, and is recognized as a leading commentator on American Jewish history, religion and life. In 2009, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He chairs the Academic Advisory and Editorial Board of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati.
Dr. Sarna has written, edited, or co-edited more than twenty books, including the new Jews and the Civil War: A Reader and A Time to Every Purpose: Letters to a Young Jew. He is best known for the acclaimed American Judaism: A History. Winner of the Jewish Book Council's "Jewish Book of the Year Award" in 2004, it has been praised as being "the single best description of American Judaism during its 350 years on American soil."