Rosenbaum, Jonathan

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ROSENBAUM, JONATHAN (1947– ), U.S. scholar, administrator and rabbi; president of Gratz College from 1998. A graduate of the University of Michigan where he received his B.A. summa cum laude in 1968 and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, Rosenbaum then earned rabbinical ordination and an M.A. at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati (1972) and a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilization from Harvard University working with Professor Frank M. Cross, Jr. on "A Typology of Aramaic Lapidary Script from the Seventh to the Fourth Centuries, b.c.e." (1978). He taught in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Nebraska and then went to the University of Hartford, where he was the Maurice Greenberg Professor of Judaic Studies, professor of history, and director, Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies, University of Hartford, from 1986 to 1998. He conceived and helped guide the Henry Luce Forum in Abrahamic Religions, a national program jointly sponsored by the University of Hartford and Hartford Seminary that is devoted to advancing scholarship concerning and mutual understanding among American Jews, Christians, and Muslims. In addition, Rosenbaum conceived and oversaw an awards program that recognizes the best teachers of Holocaust studies in New England.

He also taught in the graduate school at the University of Connecticut and at its law school as well as the Hartford Theological Seminary.

A rarity in the contemporary Jewish world, he has served as a rabbi in Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox Congregations. During his student years at huc, he held a student rabbi position at Congregation Israel (Reform), Galesburg, il, from 1970 to 1972. While at Harvard he was assistant rabbi, Temple Israel (Conservative), Swampscott, ma, (1972–76), and then a part-time rabbi of Congregation Israel (Conservative), Danville, il (1976–84). And finally as his commitment to Jewish law deepened he was rabbi (mara' de-atra) at Congregation Agudas Achim, a mainstream, century-old Orthodox congregation in West Hartford, ct, from 1994 to 1998.

Among the awards he received were doctor of divinity, honoris causa, by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, in March 1997, and doctor of Hebrew Letters, honoris causa, from the Jewish Theological Seminary in November 1998.

Among his works are Making a Life, Building a Community: A History of the Jews of Hartford (co-authored with David G. Dalin, 1997) and a special issue of the Journal of Jewish Communal Service (78:4, 2002) devoted to Philadelphia Jewry that he co-edited with Dr. Ernest M. Kahn.

From 1995 to 1998 Rosenbaum served as a deputy director of the Ein Gedi Archaeological Expedition in Israel, an excavation co-sponsored by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of Hartford. At Ein Gedi he oversaw the excavation's academic program including two courses in archaeology and Near Eastern history. He also organized and chaired "Paleographical Studies in the Ancient Near East," a scholarly section of the national meeting sponsored by the Society of Biblical Literature.

An administrator-scholar, at Gratz he instituted new programs, expanded the faculty and staff, renovated the academic plant, and balanced the budget. He renewed a distinguished institute and refashioned its mission in a changing academic climate. Prior to that at the University of Hartford he initiated the Greenberg Center and established a major in Judaic Studies along with a minor. He also expanded the full-time faculty to six and three adjunct faculty. All the while, he continued with his teaching and writing.

[Michael Berenbaum (2nd ed.)]