Beth Wenger Appointed Named Chair in History

Beth S. Wenger, professor of history and chair of the Department of History, has been appointed Moritz and Josephine Berg Professor. Dr. Wenger is a preeminent scholar of American Jewish history. She has applied her mastery of the methods of social and cultural history to produce monographs and edited and co-edited collections that explore the creation and evolution of American Jewish identity, politics, gender, and religious life. Her book New York Jews and the Great Depression received high and sustained praise, and was awarded the Salo Baron Prize in Jewish History. A more recent monograph, History Lessons: The Creation of American Jewish Heritage, explores American Jewish collective memory.

Dr. Wenger has also been a prolific public historian. She is one of four founding historians who helped to create the core exhibition at the National Museum of American Jewish History. She advised the PBS series The Jewish Americans, and wrote the companion volume to the series, which was named a National Jewish Book Award finalist. Dr. Wenger’s co-edited works also include Gender in Judaism and IslamRemembering the Lower East Side, and Encounters with the “Holy Land.” 

Dr. Wenger is a Fellow of the American Academy of Jewish Research and Chair of the Academic Advisory Council of New York’s Center for Jewish History. She is a Distinguished Lecturer of the Organization of American Historians and the Association for Jewish Studies, and she serves on the academic advisory boards of the American Jewish Historical Society, the Jewish Women’s Archive, and Penn’s Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies.

The Moritz and Josephine Berg chair was established by the Estate of Alfred A. Berg in 1951 to support a faculty member whose interests include Judaica. Alfred Berg’s gift fosters intellectual inquiry and introduces ethical and religious values in higher education.


[Dec. 2, 2016 Penn Arts & Sciences website]

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