Thane Rosenbaum

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Thane Rosenbaum
2013 Thane Rosenbaum Author Photo.jpg
Born 1960 (age 56–57)
New York City, New York, United States
Education B.A. University of Florida
M.P.A. Columbia University
J.D. University of Miami
Occupation Novelist, Essayist, Law Professor, and Director of the Forum on Law, Culture & Society.

Thane Rosenbaum (born 1960) is an American novelist, essayist, and law professor. He is the director of the Forum on Law, Culture, & Society,[1] hosted by NYU Law School, where he is a Distinguished Fellow.

Early life[edit]

Rosenbaum was born in New York City, in Washington Heights, and grew up in Miami Beach, Florida, where his parents moved when he was nine years old. He is a child of Holocaust survivors. His mother had been in Majdanek, his father in various concentration camps, including Auschwitz. Their experiences in the Nazi death camps were not discussed within the household, but the subject has shaped Rosenbaum's career and writing.[2]


Rosenbaum graduated in 1981, from the University of Florida (B.A., summa cum laude), where he was class valedictorian and the Florida nominee for the Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships. In 1983, he earned an M.P.A. (conferred in 1988) from Columbia University's School of Public Policy and Administration. In 1986 he earned his J.D. (cum laude) from the University of Miami School of Law, where he was a Harvey T. Reid Scholar and served as Editor-in-Chief of the University of Miami Law Review.

Professional background and activities[edit]

Rosenbaum taught at Fordham Law School from 1992 to 2014, teaching human rights, legal humanities, and law and literature. In Spring 2005, he was a visiting professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, where he has been a frequent speaker, including at the annual Yom HaShoah Lecture hosted jointly by the American Society for Yad Vashem and Cardozo's Program in Holocaust & Human Rights Studies on “Remember How the Law Went Horribly Wrong”; the 60th anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials on "A Reappraisal and Their Legacy";[3] and as the Uri & Caroline Bauer Distinguished Lecturer on Rosenbaum's book, “The Myth of Moral Justice." Prior to teaching, he was an associate in the litigation department at Debevoise & Plimpton, where he also coordinated the firm's pro bono cases. Immediately after law school, he clerked for the Honorable Eugene P. Spellman, United States District Judge for the Southern District of Florida.

As a cultural commentator, Rosenbaum has been invited to speak at universities and other venues around the world, including the Yale University International Human Rights Symposium,[4] Princeton University,[5] the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies,[6] the Goethe-Institut in New York,[7] and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.[8] He has served as an advisor, writer, co-producer, and commentator on several documentary films, including “Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust," produced and directed by Daniel Anker, “Forgiveness,” directed by Helen Whitney for PBS, and “Sidney Lumet, A Moral Lens,” a PBS American Masters film.

Under Rosenbaum's leadership, the Forum on Law, Culture, & Society (FOLCS), Rosenbaum has hosted a wide range of notable guests, including Bill Clinton,[9] Elie Wiesel,[10] and Mario Cuomo.

Rosenbaum moderates "The Talk Show With Thane Rosenbaum" at 92Y, where he has interviewed authors, musicians, directors, screenwriters, poets, politicians, and other public figures, including Jeb Bush,[11] Ambassador Michael Oren, Eric Cantor,[12] Debbie Wasserman Schultz,[13] and Lawrence Summers.[14] The 92nd Street Y hosts "The Talk Show with Thane Rosenbaum," an annual series of discussions on arts, culture, and politics. As the moderator of the Trials & Error series at 92Y,[15] his panelists revisit high-profile court cases for a behind-the-scenes look at the legal strategies and foibles with lawyers, journalists, and the parties to the action or their family members and close associates.

In 2014, Rosenbaum was criticized for an article in the Wall Street Journal where he appeared to justify Israel's killing of Palestinian children whose parents are loyal to Hamas.[16][17][18]



  • Payback: The Case for Revenge (2013)
  • The Myth of Moral Justice: Why Our Legal System Fails to Do What's Right (2004)


  • How Sweet It Is! (2015)
  • The Stranger Within Sarah Stein (2012)
  • The Golems of Gotham: A Novel (2002)
  • Second Hand Smoke: A Novel (2000)
  • Elijah Visible: Stories (1996)

  • Anthology: "Law Lit, From Atticus Finch to the Practice: A Collection of Great Writing About the Law," Editor, (The New Press 2007)


  1. ^ Forum on Law, Culture, & Society
  2. ^ Derek Parker Royal, An Interview With Thane Rosenbaum, Contemporary Literature 48 (2007): 1-28.
  3. ^ FLASH: The Fordham Law Archive of Scholarship & History, Faculty Scholarship
  4. ^ "Justice Delayed? The Impact of Time on the Trials of Gross Atrocities," The Robert Bernstein International Human Rights Symposium at Yale University, New Haven, CT, April 4, 2008; Yale Law School, The Myth of Moral Justice: A Conversation with Thane Rosenbaum, moderated by Dean Harold Hongju Koh, with the Reverend Jerry Streets and former dean Anthony Kronman, commentators, New Haven, CT, November 29, 2004; Yale Oral History Project, The Contribution of Oral Testimony to Holocaust and Genocide Studies: “Holocaust Literature: Freedom and Responsibility” (with Aharon Appelfeld and E.L. Doctorow), New Haven, CT, October 8, 2002
  5. ^ Princeton University, Celebrating Jewish-American Writers, Princeton, NJ, October 23, 2001
  6. ^ What’s So Bad About Holocaust Films?, UCLA Center for Jewish Studies and the UCLA/Mellon Program on the Holocaust in American & World Culture, March 5, 2009; Holocaust Fatigue: A Reading and Discussion, UCLA Center for Jewish Studies and the UCLA-Mellon Program on the Holocaust in American & World Culture, March 4, 2009; UCLA Center for Jewish Studies, conference: Golem: Between Magic and Metaphor, June 3, 2004
  7. ^ Goethe-Institut, Pen American Center, Joseph Roth and Berlin in the 1920s, New York, NY, January 14, 2003
  8. ^ Conference on Displaced Persons, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, January 17, 2000
  9. ^ A Conversation With President Bill Clinton at the Forum on Law, Culture, & Society
  10. ^ Elie Wiesel at the Forum Film Festival
  11. ^ A Conversation With Jeb Bush
  12. ^ The Talk Show Hosts Congressman Eric Cantor at the 92Y
  13. ^ The Talk Show Hosts Congressman Debbie Wasserman Schultz
  14. ^ The Talk Show Hosts Lawrence Summers at 92Y
  15. ^ Trials & Error at 92Y
  16. ^ Hamas's Civilian Death Strategy
  17. ^ The Dangerous Logic Used to Justify Killing Civilians
  18. ^ Non-Combatants and Gaza

External links[edit]