Academy Award winning filmmaker Michael Berenbaum, a writer and scholar who oversaw the creation of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and later led a visual history project of survivor testimony with director Steven Spielberg, is the inaugural Fishman Holocaust Studies Scholar-in-Residence at FIU.
A professor of Jewish studies at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles and author or editor of 20 books and hundreds of scholarly articles, Berenbaum will lecture at FIU, as well as the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU (JMOF) and a Jewish day school in Boca Raton.
Miami physician Lawrence M. Fishman and his wife Suzanne R. Fishman donated $100,000 to the university’s Holocaust Studies Initiative to create the position and expand Holocaust education throughout South Florida.
“This gift will truly transform the Holocaust Studies Initiative,’’ said John F. Stack, founding dean of the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs, which oversees the Holocaust Studies Initiative, part of the Global Jewish Studies Program at FIU. “We are incredibly grateful to the Fishmans for their generosity and their confidence in FIU.’’
“This is an investment in our students, our faculty, and the university as it helps us prepare our graduates to be citizens of the world,” said Chief Executive Officer of the FIU Foundation, Inc. Howard R. Lipman. “It is an example of how donors can help us shape and create experiences that add new layers of enrichment and knowledge to our curriculum.”
Oren Stier, director of the Holocaust Studies Initiative and professor of religious studies at FIU, said Berenbaum, who has taught at Yale, Georgetown, George Washington, American and Wesleyan universities, is a perfect fit for the new position.
“I can think of no other scholar more worthy of inaugurating this program than Dr. Berenbaum, whose encyclopedic knowledge of the Holocaust is matched by his ability to communicate it appropriately to any audience,’’ Stier said.
As part of the scholar-in-residence program, the Fishmans requested that FIU partner with local high schools to expand Holocaust education in the community. This year, the program partnered with Katz Yeshiva High School in Boca Raton.
Berenbaum will give two lectures this month at FIU. Both are open to the public.
“Was FDR as bad for the Jews as some think he was?” – 2 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 12, Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU, 301 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Free with museum admission.
“Religion and the Holocaust in Contemporary Discourse’’ – 11 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 14, FIU’s MMC, DM 100. Free.
Berenbaum’s work in film and television has earned him two Academy Awards and numerous Emmy® Awards. In recent years, he served as a historical consultant on HBO’s Conspiracy, NBC’s Uprising and The History Channel’s The Holocaust: The Untold Story.
He is executive editor of the New Encyclopedia Judaica, which includes 22 volumes, six million words and 25,000 individual contributions to Jewish knowledge.
For more information, please call the Holocaust Studies Initiative at 786-972-3162.