For devoting his life to the study of Jewish history and culture and teaching it to the next generation, Professor of English and the Irving M. Glazer Chair of Jewish Studies, Alvin Rosenfeld, has been added to The Algemeiner's "J100," honoring 100 people worldwide that positively influence Jewish life. Rosenfeld founded the Borns Jewish Studies Program and is Director of the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism (ISCA) at Indiana University.
Faculty spotlight: Alvin Rosenfeld
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"Alvin embodies the phrase 'Never Again' and has devoted his life's work to combating antisemitic and anti-Israel actions locally and globally," wrote Emily Berman Pevnick (’10) about Rosenfeld.
“This honorific is a testament not only to Alvin’s scholarly achievements, but also to his convening students, scholars, and activists at IU and beyond to expand and innovate the field of Jewish studies, and fight back against post-Holocaust antisemitism,” said Rick Van Kooten, Executive Dean of the College and a professor of physics.
"I'll be forever grateful to IU for allowing me the latitude to develop in new ways," Rosenfeld said. "Serious study of the Holocaust was one of those ways. I never expected, however, to also have to focus on post-Holocaust antisemitism—largely because I thought the scandal of the Holocaust was so great that most people would be ashamed to voice antisemitic sentiments, let alone carry out brutal attacks against Jews. I was simply wrong."
Rosenfeld has authored numerous scholarly and critical books and articles on American poetry, Jewish writers, and the literature of the Holocaust. He founded the Borns Jewish Studies Program and served as its director for 30 years. Rosenfeld’s recent scholarship addresses contemporary antisemitism, a subject he has spoken about throughout America, Europe, Israel, India, and Russia. He is the editor of a series of books on Jewish Literature and Culture published by Indiana University Press (IUP), as well as editor of IUP’s book series, “Studies in Antisemitism.”
Earlier this year Rosenfeld was honored as a Hoosier Jewish Legend in the Indiana Jewish Historical Society's Hall of Fame, and he has been honored with IU’s Distinguished Service Award and with the Provost’s Medal “in recognition of sustained academic excellence, vision, and leadership resulting in lasting and widespread impact.” In 2019, Rosenfeld received the President’s Medal, IU’s highest award, “in recognition of sustained excellence in service, achievement, and leadership.”
In addition, on January 28, 2024—coinciding with International Holocaust Remembrance Day—Rosenfeld will be a featured participant in a day-long symposium held at the Center for Jewish History (CJH) in New York City, titled, “Assessing Antisemitism: Contemporary Challenges.” The event is co-sponsored by CJH and the ISCA at IU. It will examine major challenges that scholars and professional practitioners face in understanding and combating present-day anti-Jewish hostility in the United States, Europe, and Israel.