The Center for Jewish History, home of the country’s largest and most comprehensive archives of the modern Jewish experience, announced today that David N. Myers, the Sady and Ludwig Kahn Professor of Jewish History in the UCLA History Department, was named as the organization’s new President and Chief Executive Officer. Myers is a distinguished and wide-ranging historian of modern Jewry who has taught at UCLA for the past 25 years. He will assume his new duties at the Center on July 1st. He has previously served in various administrative capacities, including director of the university’s Center for Jewish Studies and chair of its History Department.
“UCLA has been the center of my academic life and I am forever in debt to my many colleagues and students for their collaboration and support,” said Professor Myers. “At this point in my career, I am excited to embark on a new professional journey by heading one of the global centers for the study of Jewish history.”
“We are thrilled that David will be leading our organization, taking it to new heights,” said Bruce Slovin, Founder of the Center for Jewish History and Co-Chair of the Center’s Board of Directors. “With David’s arrival, the future of the Center and our partnering organizations has never looked brighter further cementing its unique position as the preeminent independent Jewish historical institution in this country.”
Professor Myers added: "Each of the five partners at the Center is a truly distinguished entity in its own right. Having often worked in their archives, I know what treasures they contain. Working collaboratively, the partners, along with the Center's extraordinary professional staff and its dedicated board of directors, provide something much greater than the sum of the parts: a Library of Congress of the Jewish historical experience.”
“The combination of the Center’s extraordinary physical space and its ability to expand digital access to the riches of the holdings makes it an indispensable resource for people of all faiths and ethnicities,” Myers added.
Professor Myers observed that history is the connective tissue of the Jewish people. “Jews,” he noted, “have created a great world civilization by maintaining a strong connection to their history. Now the task has fallen upon modern scholarship, in all its rigor, to shed light on the Jewish past. And the Center for Jewish History has a critical role to play in that scholarly project. Indeed, imprinted on the documents in the combined collections is the very DNA of the Jewish people.”
The announcement of Myers’s appointment was hailed by a number of his fellow scholars. “The breadth of David’s scholarly work, which embraces all of the different institutions within the Center, coupled with his understanding of ideas and their power, make him the very embodiment of what the Center should be,” said Jonathan D. Sarna, Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis Universityand Chief Historian of the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. “With Myers as president, the Center will hone its cultural message and be able to realize its full potential.”
During the coming academic year, Professor Myers will also serve as the inaugural director of the Luskin Center for History and Policy at UCLA, where he remains a member of the faculty.
David Ellenson, Director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University and Chancellor Emeritus and former President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, said that, “It is energizing for the academic world and the larger community that such a preeminent scholar, teacher, writer and editor of the modern Jewish experience will now guide the leading repository and archive of Jewish history and organizations in North America.”
The Center also announced that Joel J. Levy will be stepping down from his position as President and CEO, but will continue to serve as a consultant in the coming months. “The board and staff,” Slovin stated, “are deeply appreciative of Joel’s years of service and dedication and look forward to tapping his expertise in the future.”
Read more about David N. Myers here.
The Center for Jewish History in New York City is a central resource for scholars and researchers of Jewish history. The Center’s experts are leaders in unlocking archival material for a wide audience through the latest practices in digitization, library science, and public education. Containing one of the world’s foremost research collections, the Center offers fellowships, a wide array of exhibitions, symposia, conferences and lectures. More information on current programs and exhibits, including 500 Years of Treasures from Oxford, can be found at http://www.cjh.org.
David P Rosenberg
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