Jonathan D. Sarna (1955- ) is the Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History and Chair of the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program at Brandeis University, as well as Chief Historian of the new National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia.
Dubbed by the Forward newspaper in 2004 as one of America’s fifty most influential American Jews, he was Chief Historian for the 350th commemoration of the American Jewish community, and is recognized as a leading commentator on American Jewish history, religion and life. He is the only American Jewish historian ever elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Born in Philadelphia, and raised in New York and Boston, Dr. Sarna attended Brandeis University, the Boston Hebrew College, Merkaz HaRav Kook in Jerusalem, and Yale University, where he obtained his doctorate.
He has taught and lectured on four continents, has appeared in half-a-dozen documentary films, and is regularly quoted in newspapers across the world.
Sarna is perhaps the field’s most prolific scholar. He has published hundreds of scholarly articles, writes a column in the Forward entitled “Now and Then” (because, he says, he produces it “now and then”) and has written, edited or coedited more than thirty books, including, most recently, When General Grant Expelled the Jews..
He is probably best known for his acclaimed American Judaism: A History, winner of the Jewish Book Council’s “Jewish Book of the Year Award.” It has been praised as being “the single best description of American Judaism during its 350 years on American soil.”