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Religious Studies

Rabbi Sydney H. Brooks

Rabbi Cohen started Minnetonka’s Bet Shalom Congregation with 30 families in 1981, and it now serves 850 families. A native of Pittsburgh, Rabbi Cohen received his bachelor’s degree, cum laude, Cohenfrom Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts, and his master’s degree and doctorate of divinity from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Cincinnati.

He has taught at Edgecliff College, Xavier University, HUC-JIR, the College of St. Catherine, United Theological Seminary, Macalester College, and St. Olaf College. He spends a week or two each year at Holy Cross working with the chaplain’s office and the growing number of Jewish students and faculty there. In addition to his congregational duties, Rabbi Cohen is the chaplain for the Minnetonka Police Department.

A student of Jewish-Christian relations, he has written numerous magazine and newspaper articles as well as the book, Jewish Bible Personages in the New Testament. A past president of the Midwest Association of Reform Judaism, Rabbi Cohen has also served on the board and several committees of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR). Currently, he’s the CCAR representative on the Reform Movement’s Joint Placement Commission. In 33 years as a rabbi, he has been on numerous boards of Jewish and inter-religious organizations both in his own area and nationally including the Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA), the Center for Victims of Torture, and the National Council of Jewish Women Foundation.


Judaism and Christianity: Two different paths to the same God
Rabbi Norman M. Cohen, Founding Rabbi of Bet Shalom, Minnetonka, Minnesota

Ran Kuttner is an Assistant Professor of Conflict Resolution at the Werner Institute for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution, Creighton University School of Law. For the past three years, Ran has been Kuttnera Visiting Researcher and an Associate at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, where, among other research projects, he helped redesign and teach the Harvard mediation course, a joint course for law and MBA students. He received his Ph.D from the Program on Conflict Management and Negotiation at Bar-Ilan University, Israel, where in the past he has co-taught a graduate-level mediation certification course. He also designed a mediation certification program in his Center for the Study of Mediation and Conflict Management (“Merhav”) in Israel, and has taught numerous mediation courses for Israeli educators, companies and general public. In his research and teaching, Ran examines philosophical aspects of mediation and aims to improve both the understanding and the practice of transformation of adversity into dialogue through mediation and other conflict management processes.

Entering a dialogue, working towards relating: Dynamics of conflict management and polarization in the Israeli society
Ran Kuttner, Assistant Professor of Conflict Resolution at the Werner Institute for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution Creighton University School of Law

Dr. Alan Steinweis is Hyman Rosenberg Professor of Modern European History and Judaic Studies in the Department of History at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. He joined the Department of SteniweisHistory at UNL in August 1993. He received his PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he worked under the distinguished historian Gerhard L. Weinberg. He specializes in the history of the Holocaust and Nazi Germany, and teaches courses on those subjects in addition to courses on European history, Jewish history, and historical methodology.

He is the author of Art, Ideology, and Economics in Nazi Germany: The Reich Chambers of Music, Theater, and the Visual Arts (University of North Carolina Press, 1993; paperback 1996), and Studying the Jew: Scholarly Antisemitism in Nazi Germany (Harvard University Press, 2006; paperback 2008.) The latter book was designated a Finalist for the National Jewish Book Award in the Holocaust category. He has co-edited two further volumes: The Impact of Nazism: New Perspectives on the Third Reich and Its Legacy, ( University of Nebraska Press, 2003; paperback 2007), and Coping with the Nazi Past: West German Debates about Nazism and Generational Conflict, 1955-1975, (Berghahn Books, 2006, paperback 2007). He has also published several articles addressing the resonance of the Holocaust in American society and culture. He is editor of the American edition of the Comprehensive History of the Holocaust, a monograph series published by the University of Nebraska Press in cooperation with Yad Vashem, the Holocaust research and commemoration authority of the state of Israel. He is currently writing a book on the November 1938 "Kristallnacht" pogrom in Germany, which will be published by Harvard University Press.

Diagnosing and Combatting Holocaust Fatigue

Dr. Alan Steinweis, Hyman Rosenberg Professor of Modern European History and Judaic Studies in the Department of History at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Dr. Daniel J. Schroeter is a professor and the Teller Family Chair in Jewish History in the Department of History at the University of California, Irvine in Irvine, California. He has his Ph.D. Schroeterfrom the University of Manchester in Near Eastern Studies with a B.A. in Near Eastern Studies. His M.A. in Near Eastern Studies is from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and his B.A. is from the University of Washington, Seattle in History/Near Eastern Languages and Literature. He also took courses in the History of Muslim Countries at Hebrew University Jerusalem.

He has also taught at the University of Florida, Gainseville; The Goerge Washington University in Washington, D.C.; University of Utah, Salt Lake City and Université de Paris VIII-Vincennes à Saint –Denis.

Among his many publications are the books, The Sultan’s Jew: Morocco and the Sephardi World. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2002; Merchants of Essaouira: Urban Society and Imperialism in Southwestern Morocco, 1844-1886, Middle East Library, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988; translated into Arabic as: Tujjar al-Sawira: al-mujtama‘ al-hadariyya wa-l-imbiriyaliyya fi janub gharb al-Maghrib, 1886-1844, translated by Khalid Ben Srhir. Rabat: Mohamed V University, Publications of Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences, 1997, which was the recipient of the Moulay Rachid National Book Prize for best translated book of the year, 1997,and in collaboration with Paul Pascon, et al, La Maison d’Iligh et l’histoire sociale du Tazerwalt, Rabat: Société Marocaine des Editeurs Réunis: 1984.

He is working on “On the Origins and Identity of Indigenous North African Jews” article for book on The Berbers and Other Minorities in North Africa, edited by Nabil Boudraa, Cambridge Scholars Press; is c o-authoring a book with Joseph Chetrit on Moroccan Jewries in the Modern Era, 18 th-20 th Centuries; co-editing a book with Emily Gottreich on Rethinking Jewish Culture and Society in North Africa , and c o-authoring a book with Sarah Levin, Jews Among Berbers: The Photographs of Elias Harrus, 1940-1960.

The Jewish Experience in the Muslim World
Daniel J. Schroeter, Teller Family Chair in Jewish History Department of History at the University of California, Irvine

David Fox Sandmel is the rabbi of K.A.M. Isaiah Israel Congregation in Chicago and Crown-Ryan Professor of Jewish Studies at the Catholic Theological Union. From 1998-2001, he served as sandmelthe Jewish Scholar at the Institute for Christian & Jewish Studies in Baltimore. There, he directed the National Jewish Scholars Project, a major initiative to promote a new discussion within the Jewish community and between Jews and Christians about the differences and similarities between the two traditions. As part of the project, Rabbi Sandmel coordinated the publication of “Dabru Emet: A Jewish Statement on Christians and Christianity,” a groundbreaking event that generated international attention in the interfaith community and wide media coverage. He is the co-editor of Christianity in Jewish Terms (Westview, 2000), to which he has also contributed an essay. In addition, he is the lead editor of Irreconcilable Differences? A Learning Resource for Jews and Christians (Westview Press, 2001), a study and discussion guide that focuses on core theological issues on the boundary between Judaism and Christianity. Rabbi Sandmel has served as a rabbi at The Temple – Tifereth Israel in Cleveland and was the founding rabbi of Congregation Bet Ha’am in Portland, Maine.

Rabbi Sandmel received his Bachelor of Arts, with honors, in Jewish Studies from the Ohio State University and was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. He completed his doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania where he studied the history and literature of Judaism and Christianity in the Greco-Roman world.

Rabbi Sandmel lectures widely on contemporary issues in Jewish-Christian relations and foundations of Judaism and Christianity in antiquity. He is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the Society of Biblical Literature, the Association for Jewish Studies, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR). He chairs the CCAR Committee on Interfaith Activities and is the CCAR Representative to the Joint UAHC-CCAR Commission on Interfaith Relations. He is also on serves on the board of the Pinat Shorashim Seminar Center, Kibbutz Gezer, Israel and is a member of the Advisory Council, Christian Jewish Relation & Encounter, a program of the Sisters of Sion.

Theology, Identity and Politics: Jews, Christians and Israel in the 21st Century?
Rabbi David Sandmel, Crown Ryan Professor of Jewish Studies, University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Gilya Gerda Schmidt is Professor and Head of the Department of Religious Studies, and Chair of the Fern and Manfred Steinfeld Program in Judaic Studies, at the University of Tennesee. Dr. SchmidtSchmidt is an expert in the thought of Martin Buber, the influential Jewish philosopher and theologian who wrote such works as I and Thou, Moses, and Between Man and God.

Dr. Schmidt's writings on Buber include the monograph Martin Buber's Formative Years: From German Culture to Jewish Renewal 1898-1909, as well as her edited translation The First Buber: The Youthful Zionist Writings of Martin Buber. Dr. Schmidt has also translated Ninety-Two Poems and Hymns of Yehuda Halevi, and has edited and translated volumes on Jewish artists and Schleiermacher, among other topics.

She was born in Stuttgart, Germany, and received her Ph.D. in Comparative Religion with a concentration in Judaism and her M.A. in Germanic Languages and Literatures from the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Schmidt's research and teaching focuses on European Jewry, Zionism, Holocaust, Israel, European Intellectual History, Women in Judaism, and Modern Jewish Thought. She has received numerous honors and awards, including a National Endowment for the Humanities grant for research on Zionism at Columbia University in New York.

The Many Faces of Martin Buber: Herald of a New Age for Christians and Jews
Dr. Gilya Gerda Schmidt, Professor and Head of the Department of Religious Studies, and Chair of the Fern and Manfred Steinfeld Program in Judaic Studies, at the University of Tennesee



Dr. Michael J. Cook is the Sol & Arlene Bronstein Professor of Judaeo-Christian Studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati campus.  He was one of the seven Catholic Cookand Jewish scholars selected by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to assess an advanced script of Mel Gibson's highly controversial film, The Passion of the Christ (back in April 2003).  It was the report of these seven scholars that ignited much of the ensuing heated controversy that continues to make the news.

Dr. Cook has the unusual distinction of being a rabbi with a Ph.D. in New Testament, and serves on many advisory boards in Jewish-Christian relations.  His numerous publications treat evolving Jewish views of Jesus and Paul, studies on the various Gospels and studies on a wide spectrum of specialized subjects including the trial of Jesus, images of Judaism in Christian Art, the history of anti-Semitism, the role of Passover in modern Christianity, and how Jews may attempt to neutralize missionary encroachment.  He is currently writing a major book entitled "Modern Jews and the New Testament: Removing the Veil," has composed a "Manual for Managing the Millennium," and produced with his students the popular video, "Missionary Impossible".

Dr. Cook has received an "Excellence in Teaching Award" sponsored by the Greater Cincinnati Consortium of Colleges and Universities.  He travels widely, addressing Jewish and Christian audiences, including congregations as well as academicians, clergy, and seminarians throughout North America.  He has served as a member of the Executive Board of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, has five children, and he and his wife spend a major portion of each summer working with Jewish youth at the Union for Reform Judaism camp in Zionsville, IN

Looking Beyond Mel Gibson's The Passion - Reviewing & Previewing the Wider Ramifications

Dr. Michael Cook, Sol & Arlene Bronstein Professor of Judaeo-Christian Studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati campus








A native of Richmond, Virginia, Dr. Leonard Greenspoon holds the Klutznick Chair in Jewish Civilization at Creighton University.  On the Creighton faculty since 1995, Greenspoon is also leonardProfessor of Classical & Near Eastern Studies and of Theology.

 From his days at a graduate student at Harvard University (from which he received his Ph.D., in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations), Greenspoon has been interested in translations of the Bible.  Many of his publications-he has edited or authored a dozen books, written more than a hundred articles and book chapters, and penned almost 500 book reviews-deal with aspects of this fascinating subject.  He has written on topics ranging from the earliest translation of the Bible, the Septuagint, to versions of the Bible composed as recently as last year.  He is recognized internationally as an expert on the history of Jewish Bible translations, and he has been involved as editor or consultant in two Bible translation projects.

     In his research and writing, Greenspoon is especially interested in the way Bible translators-acting as individuals or, more often, as members of a committee-reflect the historical, social, cultural, political, as well as religious environments in which they work.  He also focuses on how specific Bible translations influence the communities for which they are intended, and how later translators and commentators make use of earlier versions 

     While translation has been a prime focus of Greenspoon's scholarly work, he has a wide array of other interests, as reflected in articles he has written, for example, on the Jews of South Carolina, fairy tales, the ethical dimensions of being a parks or recreational professional, and effective ways to grade student essays.  In recent years, he has become increasingly interested in religion and popular culture and has published articles on the Bible in comic strips as well as on the often-humorous use of the Bible in the daily press. In this connection, he is scheduled to give a public lecture on Jews in the comic strips next spring.

     A popular speaker, to both general and academic audiences, Greenspoon has made presentations throughout the United States as well as in Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Romania, the Czech Republic, Norway, Finland, and Israel.  He has just returned from Philadelphia, where he gave the keynote presentation at the annual meeting of the Jewish Publication Society of America.

Hither, Whither and Thou: Major Trends in Jewish Translations of the Bible
Dr. Leonard Greenspoon, Klutznick Chair in Jewish Civilization at Creighton University









Moshe Gershovich is a native of Israel (1959).  He received his formative education there and in 1982 earned a BA from Tel Aviv University, with a dual major in Middle Eastern and Jewish GershovichHistory.  He studied towards his MA at the Arrane School of History at TAU and worked as a junior researcher at the Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, also at TAU.

In 1985 he came to the USA to study for his Ph.D. at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  His chosen topic concerned French military colonialism in Morocco.  He submitted his dissertation and received his Ph.D. in June 1995.  His first book, based on his graduate research, was published in 2000 by Cass.  It is entitled French Military Rule over Morocco:  Colonialism and its Consequences.  In addition he has published numerous scholarly articles related to that topic.

Between 1995-1998 Dr. Gershovich served as visiting lecturer at the History Faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  In 1998 he was awarded a senior scholar Fulbright grant for Morocco.  He spent the next two and a half years (1998-2000) in that country as a faculty member of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Al-Akhawayn University in Ifrane.  During that period he conducted field research concerning the collective biography of Moroccan veterans of the French Army.  He is currently writing a book manuscript on that subject, entitled "Serving the Tricolor:  Moroccan Soldiers in French Uniforms."

In 2000 Dr. Gershovich accepted an offer to teach Modern European History at UNO.  He relocated to Omaha with his family in December 2000 and has been teaching here since Spring 2001.  Other than teaching sections of the World Civilization II survey, his course offerings include courses on Modern France, Modern International History, the Modern Middle East, Contemporary North Africa, and the Arab-Israeli Conflict.  In Fall 2001 he is scheduled to teach an upper-division undergraduate and graduate class on the Holocaust.

Muslim-Jewish Coexistence Through Modern Times
Moshe Gershovich, Professor of Modern Middle Eastern History, UNO

Marc Saperstein is the Charles E. Smith Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Program in Judaic Studies at the George Washington University. Previously, beginning in 1986, he held the newly sapersteinestablished Gloria M. Goldstein Chair in Jewish History and Thought at Washington University in St Louis; he served as Chairman of its Program in Jewish and Near Eastern Studies from 1989-1997.

Professor Saperstein received a BA summa cum laude at Harvard, an MA at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, rabbinical ordination at the New York School of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and a Ph.D. at Harvard. He taught on the Harvard faculty for nine years, holding the first regular faculty position in Jewish Studies at Harvard Divinity School; he has been visiting professor at Columbia University and University of Pennsylvania.

Saperstein is the author of four books, Decoding the Rabbis (Harvard University Press, 1980), the widely acclaimed Moments of Crisis in Jewish-Christian Relations (SCM-Trinity Press International, 1989), Jewish Preaching 1200-1800 (Yale University Press, 1989), which won the National Jewish Book Award in the area of Jewish thought, and "Your Voice Like a Ram's Horn" (HUC Press, 1996), also granted a National Jewish Book Award. He has also written more than 30 articles and reviews on various aspects of Jewish history, literature, and thought. Most recently, he edited Witness from the Pulpit: Topical Sermons, 1933-1980, a collection of 52 sermons by his father, Rabbi Harold I. Saperstein, to which he provided historical introductions and annotations.

Dr. Saperstein has been awarded the Henry Fellowship, the Kent Fellowship, an American Council of Learned Societies research grant, and research fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Studies of the Hebrew University and the Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1994 he was elected to be a fellow of the prestigious American Academy for Jewish Research, and this year he was elected Treasurer of the Academy. He is currently Book Review Editor for the Association of Jewish Studies Review.

Jews and Christians:  Lessons from the Middle Ages
SaMarc Saperstein, Charles E. Smith Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Program in Judaic Studies at the George Washington University

The Return to the Cave of Letters Project 2000
Dr. Richard A. Freund,

My Work with the Dead Sea Scrolls
Dr. Sidnie White Crawford

Learning from the Dead: From Ancient Egypt to Ancient Israel
Joseph Zias

The Bible and Archaeology: The Tenth Anniversary of the Bethsaida Excavations Project
Dr. Rami Arav

Coming to a Neighborhood Near You: Religious Fundamentalism in American and the World
Martin Marty

The Story of the Good Samaritan
Daniel Breslauer