University of Florida Homepage

Director’s Message




Greetings to everyone! The 2018–2019 academic year marked several milestones. Jack Kugelmass stepped down after fifteen productive years as the Center’s director, and he is now enjoying a much-deserved research leave at the Frankel Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Michigan. The other milestones include two fine academic conferences that will soon be turned into books—“The Jewish 1950s,” (sponsored by the Bud Shorenstein Chair in American Jewish Culture) and “Jews and the Americas” (sponsored by the Alexander Grass Chair in Jewish Studies).

This will be a most exciting new academic year. Aside from our usual lineup of world-renowned speakers, from novelists to experts on Jewish politics and history, the Center is proud to host an academic conference in April titled: “Holocaust Memory: France and its Former Colonies” (sponsored by the Norman and Irma Braman Chair in Holocaust Studies) with participants from North America, France, and Israel. And of course, March 2020 will mark the 10th Annual Gainesville Jewish Film Festival at the Hippodrome.

In the meantime, our own faculty remains second to none. In recent months Mitchell Hart and Nina Caputo published On the Word of a Jew: Religion, Reliability, and the Dynamics of Trust; Tamir Sorek published Sport, Politics, and Society in the Middle East; and Kenneth Wald published The Foundations of American Jewish Liberalism. In addition, Gayle Zachmann produced the film Cojot, a riveting tale of a French Holocaust survivor whose postwar journey included the hunt for Klaus Barbie in Bolivia and the Israeli raid at Entebbe. Our graduate students are researching cutting-edge topics in the US, France, Germany, and Israel. And as always, our undergraduates continue to enroll in challenging courses here at UF, ranging from the Hebrew Bible, to the history of antisemitism, to the memory of the Holocaust, to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

As always, we depend on the interest of our community in Gainesville, the state of Florida, and beyond. We have a new, constantly-updated university webpage, and a new Facebook page that will keep everyone current with our programming and which will include streamed events. Check out these new features, keep in touch, and stay up to date with us in 2019–2020!

Norman J.W. Goda
Norman and Irma Braman Professor of Holocaust Studies
Director, Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Florida