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From the Holocaust to Hamas: AJU Presents New Antisemitism Course with Michael Berenbaum

Berenbaum emphasizes the necessity of understanding the background of antisemitism to comprehend its contemporary relevance.
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February 28, 2024

Hamas’ terrorist attack on Oct. 7 has led to a surge in antisemitism. But antisemitism has been around for almost as long as there have been Jews. Professor Michael Berenbaum, a specialist in Holocaust studies, initiated a series of free classes on Feb. 8 titled “From the Holocaust to Hamas: Faces of Antisemitism.” He delves deeply into the multifaceted nature of antisemitism across historical and contemporary contexts.

Berenbaum emphasizes the necessity of understanding the background of antisemitism to comprehend its contemporary relevance. Through his lecture series, he offers a comprehensive examination of antisemitism throughout history. Sessions cover topics such as Christian and Muslim anti-Judaism, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” Nazi antisemitism and contemporary manifestations.

“Only with a background of the subject of antisemitism can we begin to understand what is happening today.”

Berenbaum highlights the variability of antisemitism in terms of its sources, goals, priorities and societal perceptions of danger. “Only with a background of the subject of antisemitism can we begin to understand what is happening today,” Berenbaum said. “Once we have a background, we can well understand what these themes are with regard to antisemitism as it occurs today.” 

As director of American Jewish University’s Sigi Ziering Institute and a Professor of Jewish Studies, Berenbaum brings extensive expertise to the subject. His distinguished career includes pivotal roles in the establishment of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation. 

Berenbaum previously worked as Project Director overseeing the creation of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the first director of its Research Institute. Dr. Berenbaum served as the President and CEO of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, which took the testimony of 52,000 Holocaust survivors. His work has won an Emmy, and he has authored or edited 20 books. “Antisemitism varies in regard to its source,” he said. “It varies with regard to its goal. It varies with regard to its priority. And it varies with regard to how endangered the society feels.”

The last class in the series, “Contemporary Antisemitism: Sources, Goals, Priorities, Crises,” is available Feb. 29.

To register, visit: open.aju.edu/event/from-the-holocaust-to-hamas-faces-of-antisemitism.

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