Portrait of Rebecca Gratz by Thomas Sully. Rebecca Gratz (1781-1869), member of a wealthy Philadelphia family, organized and led Jewish institutions to help the poor. In addition, Gratz created the Hebrew Sunday School Society, the first Jewish school in the US to provide a Jewish education in a Sunday morning format. Courtesy of Rosenbach Museum and Library, Philadelphia, PA.
Dr. Lila Corwin Berman
Murray Friedman Professor
Director, Feinstein Center
Lila Corwin Berman is Associate Professor of History at Temple University. She holds the Murray Friedman Chair of American Jewish History and directs the Feinstein Center for American Jewish History. Berman received her B.A. from Amherst College and her Ph.D. from Yale. She is author of Speaking of Jews: Rabbis, Intellectuals, and the Creation of an American Public Identity (2009). The book has been awarded recognition from the Center for Jewish History and the National Foundation for Jewish Culture, and was a finalist for the Jewish Book Council’s Sami Rohr Prize. Berman is currently writing a book entitled Jewish Urban Journeys Through an American City and Beyond (under contract with the University of Chicago Press) that traces Jews’ movement away from urban America in the postwar years. The project has received support from the National Endowment of the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and University of Michigan’s Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies. Her articles have appeared in many publications, including the Journal of American History, Jewish Social Studies, American Jewish History, Religion and American Culture, the Forward, and Sh’ma.
Dr. Nancy Isserman
Coordinator, Feinstein Center
Dr. Isserman has worked for the Feinstein Center for many years on projects such as creating oral history archives on Jews in Leftist Politics in Philadelphia and Soviet Jewry Advocacy. She served as project director for Challenge and Change: History of Jews in America and the issue of government funding of faith based social services and has staffed conferences and editing several Feinstein Center publications. Dr. Isserman is also the Senior Research Fellow at Council for Relationships where she has been the co-director of the Transcending Trauma Project, a qualitative research project, consisting of in-depth interviews of almost 300 Holocaust survivors and three generations of family members on resilience and coping pre, during and after World War II. She is a co-author of Transcending Trauma: Survival, Resilience, and Clinical Implications. Dr. Isserman has published articles, book reviews, and co-edited books on topics relating to trauma and Holocaust survivors, the contemporary Jewish experience, marriage and family relationship education, and on tolerance in survivors. Currently, she is also collaborating with the Oral History Division of the Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to analyze attitudes towards perpetrators found in the Judith Kestenberg Child Survivor Interviews Archive. Isserman’s PhD from the Graduate Center, City University of New York, “I Harbor No Hate": Tolerance and Intolerance in Holocaust Survivors received the 2004-2005 Braham Dissertation Award.
Professor, Jewish Studies
Online Marketing, Feinstein Center
Elliot Ratzman is a visiting assistant professor in the Religion Department and the Jewish Studies program. He has taught courses in the philosophical, political, and ethical dimensions of religious traditions at Swarthmore, Vassar, and Lehigh. He teaches the popular general education course "Race and Judaism", an offbeat introduction to Judaism through the history of European race science and anti-Semitism, ethnic conflict in the State of Israel, Jewish communities of color, and black-Jewish relations in the United States. He also designed and teaches the core courses in the secular Jewish studies sequence, "From Spinoza to Seinfeld: A History of Jewish Secularism" and "Jewtopias! The Jewish Romance with Communism, Zionism, and America." Since college, Ratzman has been involved with groups for economic justice, Middle East peace, and human rights. He is finishing a memoir on academics and activism in Israel called After Zion and writing a monograph about the genre known as “immersion journalism” where journalists experiment with living for a time as “the Other” as in the classic Black Like Me and Nickel and Dimed.
Graduate Student Fellow, Feinstein Center
Ariella Werden-Greenfield is pursuing her Ph.D. in Religion at Temple University where she works as the Graduate Student Fellow at the Myer and Rosaline Feinstein Center for American Jewish History. Her research interests include Judaism in the Americas, Afro-Caribbean religion, food and religiosity, and race, racism, and identity construction. Ariella has taught a variety of courses for the Religion, Jewish Studies and Women’s Studies departments at Temple University including “Race and Poverty in the Americas,” “Women in Religion” and “What is Judaism?” She is currently working on her dissertation, an effort that interrogates the role of the Hebrew Bible in the lives of Rastafari. Through an analysis of Rasta exegetical strategies, she hopes to illuminate the existential shift that embracing the Bible offers to Rastafari and further investigate the production of knowledge, rationality and truth in Rastafari communities. From 2009 through 2013, Ariella served as the coordinator of the Center for Afro-Jewish Studies at Temple. Ariella received her Bachelor of Arts from Skidmore University, graduating Summa Cum Laude in 2004.
The Myer & Rosaline Feinstein Center for American Jewish History
1115 West Polett Walk, Room 916
Philadelphia, PA 19122
Tel: 215 204-9553
Fax: 215 204-5891
Rebecca Alpert, Associate Professor of Religion and Women’s Studies
David Farber, Professor of History
Mark Leuchter, Director of Jewish Studies and Assistant Professor of Religion
Laura Levitt, Professor of Religion, Jewish Studies, and Gender
Anne Shlay, Professor of Sociology
Bryant Simon, Professor of History and the Director of American Studies
David Harrington Watt, Professor of History
Billy Yalowitz, Playwright and director in the Arts in Community Program, Tyler School of Art