Jehuda Reinharz

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Jehuda Reinharz
7th President of
Brandeis University
In office
March 1994 – December 31, 2010
Preceded bySamuel O. Thier
Succeeded byFrederick M. Lawrence
Personal details
Born (1944-08-01) August 1, 1944 (age 75)
Haifa, Palestine (now Israel)
Spouse(s)Shulamit Reinharz
ChildrenYael and Naomi
ResidenceBrookline, MA

Jehuda Reinharz (born August 1, 1944) served as President of Brandeis University from 1994–2010. He is currently the Richard Koret Professor of Modern Jewish History and Director of the Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry at Brandeis. On September 25, 2009, Reinharz announced his retirement as President of Brandeis,[1] but at the request of the Board of Trustees, he stayed on until a replacement could be hired. On January 1, 2011, Reinharz became president of the Mandel Foundation.


Jehuda Reinharz was born in Haifa in the British Mandate of Palestine, now the State of Israel. He received his high school education in Germany and move to the United States as a teenager in 1961. Reinharz earned concurrent bachelor's degrees: a Bachelor of Science (B.S) from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Religious Education (B.R.E) from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He earned his master's degree in medieval Jewish history from Harvard University in 1968, and his Ph.D. in modern Jewish history from Brandeis University in 1972.

His wife, Shulamit Reinharz, was the Jacob Potofsky Professor of sociology at Brandeis University and founded and directed the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute and Women's Studies Research Center.[2] She retired from her professorship and directing the Institute in 2017.[3] They live in Brookline, MA. Their daughter Yael lives in Portland, Maine and Naomi lives in New York City.

Academic career[edit]

In 1972, Reinharz became the first professor of Jewish history at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he created the interdisciplinary program that formed the basis for the University's Frankel Center for Judaic Studies.[4]

In 1982, he became the Richard Koret Professor of Modern Jewish History in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. Two years later, he was named Director of the Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry at Brandeis, and eight years later he founded the Jacob and Libby Goodman Institute for the Study of Zionism and Israel. From 1991 to 1994, Dr. Reinharz served as Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Reinharz was announced as the University's 7th president on March 2, 1994, succeeding Samuel O. Thier. During Reinharz's 17-year tenure, the university enjoyed major physical changes including the construction of the Village Residence Hall, Abraham Shapiro Academic Complex, Carl and Ruth Shapiro Campus Center, Carl Shapiro Science Center, Carl Shapiro Admissions center, Mandel Center for the Humanities, and many other major capital improvements. He raised $1.2 billion during his presidency and more than tripled the endowment, from $194 million to $772 million.

Reinharz announced his resignation as President of Brandeis University at midnight on September 25, 2009 after serving the Brandeis community for seventeen years. He stayed on as President until a successor was selected and ready to assume office. On January 1, 2011, Reinharz was officially replaced by Frederick M. Lawrence,[1] and on that date he became president of the Mandel Foundation. Upon stepping down, he made a $5 million gift to Brandeis for scholarships and fellowships.

Awards and recognition[edit]

Reinharz is the recipient of the President of Israel Prize, awarded by the Israeli Parliament (Knesset) in 1990. He was also elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1995 and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in 1999.

In 1998, Reinharz was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve on the Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets in the United States.

Reinharz is the recipient of honorary doctorates from Hebrew Union College, the Jewish Theological Seminary, Fairfield University in Connecticut, Ben Gurion University in Israel, the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, Brandeis University and Hebrew College.

In 2017, he was elected chairman of the International Board of the Weizmann Institute in Israel.

Published works[edit]

Reinharz is the author of more than one hundred articles and 31 books in various languages. His Jew in the Modern World is one of the most widely adopted college texts in modern Jewish history. His two-volume biography of Chaim Weizmann, the first President of Israel, has won many prizes in Israel and the United States. His book, co-authored with the late Ben Halpern, entitled Zionism and the Creation of a New Society, was published in 1998. Glorious, Accursed Europe, co-authored with Yaacov Shavit was published in 2010.

His latest books are published in Hebrew and English. In October 2005 he co-edited the letters and documents relating to the life and times of Manya Shochat, a remarkable pioneer of the Second Aliyah. His book Israel in the Middle East, co-edited with Itamar Rabinovich, was published in 2007; three books, Darwin and Some of His Kind (2009), The Scientific God (2011) and Window Unto the World (2017), were co-authored with Yaacov Shavit. In 2013 Reinharz co-authored The Road to September 1939, with Yaacov Shavit (an English expanded version 2018), as well as Die Sprache der Judenfeindschaft im 21.Jahrhundert, co-authored with Monika Schwarz-Friesel (2013). An English translation appeared in January 2017 and is titled Inside the Antisemitic Mind. The third volume of his biography of Chaim Weizmann (co-authored with Motti Golani) is due to appear in Hebrew (2019) and English (2020).

Reinharz co-wrote a book on the history of the donkey in literature, arguing that the animal is often used as a substitute for people. In the course of writing this book, he has said: "There are smart donkeys, stupid donkeys, evil donkeys, etc., and no one has ever contemplated this on a large scale... It’s probably the most ambitious topic Professor Shavit and I have ever contemplated."[5] The book, The Donkey: A Cultural History, was published in 2014 in Hebrew.


  1. ^ a b Brandeis president to step down
  2. ^ "Shulamit Reinharz". Brookline, Massachusetts: Jewish Women's Archive. 2010. Archived from the original on 10 April 2019. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  3. ^ Danailova, Hilary (September 2017). "HBI, a Pioneer in Gender Studies". Hadassah Magazine. New York City, New York: Hadassah Women's Zionist Organization of America. OCLC 939087365. Archived from the original on 24 October 2017. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
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