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Barbara Lerner Spectre

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Barbara Lerner Spectre
Born1942 (age 76–77)
ResidenceStockholm, Sweden
Alma materBarnard College
New York University
OccupationAcademic, philosopher
Known forFounding director of Paideia
Spouse(s)Philip Spectre

Barbara Lerner Spectre (born 1942) is an academic[1] and philosophy lecturer, who is the founding director of Paideia,[2] the European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden, a non-denominational academic institute established in 2001.


Barbara Spectre was born in Madison, Wisconsin. She studied philosophy at Columbia University and NYU, attaining a PhD in Philosophy. She married Rabbi Philip Spectre, and the couple moved in 1967 to Ashkelon, Israel, where she served on the faculty of Jewish Studies at Achva College of Education. After moving to Jerusalem in 1982, she served on the philosophy faculty of the Shalom Hartman Institute of Jerusalem, the Melton Center of the Hebrew University, and Yellin College of Education, where she was cited as Outstanding Lecturer 1995–1997. She was the founding chairperson of the Schechter Institute in Jerusalem in 1984. She served as a scholar in residence for the United Synagogues, Midwest Regions in 1987, 1990, 1992, 1996, and has lectured extensively throughout the United States.

In 1999, she immigrated to Sweden and settled in Stockholm, to join her husband Philip, who was then serving as the Rabbi of the Stockholm Synagogue, and in 2000 she wrote the foundational paper to the Swedish government for the formation of Paideia, the European Institute for Jewish Studies, which she has continued to direct. In its 10 years of existence (2011) Paideia has educated over 200 persons from 35 countries for leadership positions in the renewal of Jewish culture in Europe.

Armenian Genocide denial

Spectre wrote a 2007 article for the National Review titled "History Speaks: The moral case against the Armenian Genocide resolution" where she argued the Armenian Genocide never happened and Armenians need to accept responsibility for causing Turkish-led massacres against them during World War 1. She further compared Armenians to Palestinians because they are "incompetent at governing" and "achieve great success as propagandists".[3]

The bottom line here is that in actual historical fact, Turks were not like Nazis; Armenians were not like Jews; and attempts to convince Americans that they were are propaganda, not history. The Armenian tragedy was real and terrible, but it was not the only terrible tragedy in Turkey in 1915 and it wasn’t genocide; it was that in the midst of a wider war that brought death and destruction to millions on all sides, nationalist Armenians fought a war to claim a piece of Turkey for a country of their own, and lost. Later, they got a state of their own, but its development has been stunted from that day to this by high levels of poverty, corruption and political violence. If Armenians would accept their share of responsibility for the tragedies of 1915, trade with their increasingly prosperous Turkish neighbors could do much to alleviate that poverty. Some in Armenia have long wanted to do that, but most government leaders — and the powerful Armenian diaspora community those leaders rely on — have always insisted, instead, on demonizing Turks and whitewashing all Armenian actions in World War I. And, although they proved incompetent at governing, they achieved great success as propagandists. In this, Armenians are very similar to Palestinians; very different from both Jews and Turks.


  • B.A. Barnard College, Columbia University, Philosophy
  • M.A. New York University, Philosophy, Thesis: “The Paradigm Case and Non-Vacuous Contrast Arguments”
  • PhD Candidate, Bar-Ilan University, Philosophy, “Models of Theological Response to the Holocaust in Christian and Jewish Thought”


  • “Educating Jewish Leaders in a Pan-European Perspective”, International Handbook of Jewish Education, Springer, 2011
  • A Different Light: The Hannukah Book of Celebration, Two Volumes, co-editor with Noam Zion, Devora Press, 2000.


  1. ^ Shneer, David. "Jewish Sweden: The Radical Jewish Traveler celebrates secularism at the 60th parallel". My Jewish Learning. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  2. ^ "Staff". Paideia. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  3. ^

Further reading

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