Gerald Sorin, scholar of American and Jewish Studies, to deliver Third Annual Rabbi Hillel Cohn Endowed Lecture on the Contemporary Jewish Experience

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– Gerald Sorin, the Distinguished Professor of American and Jewish Studies and the director of the Louis and Mildred Resnick Institute for the Study of Modern Jewish Lifeat the State University of New York, New Paltz, will be the featured speaker at the Third Annual Rabbi Hillel Cohn Endowed Lecture on the Contemporary Jewish Experience.

He will present “Remnants of Jewish Life in Post-Holocaust Europe: A Personal Journey,” over two nights in March:

  • Monday, March 4, at the Riverside Art Museum, 3425 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside; and
  • Tuesday, March 5, at the Cal State San Bernardino Palm Desert Campus Indian Wells Theater, 37500 Cook St., Palm Desert.

At both events, the reception will be at 5 p.m., followed by the lecture at 6 p.m.

The event is free, but space is limited. Please RSVP by March 1 to (909) 537-5004 or

Sorin, who holds degrees from Columbia College, Wayne State University and Columbia University, has taught history at the State University of New York, New Paltz since 1965. He has also taught in the Netherlands at the University of Utrecht’s School of Journalism, and at the University of Nijmegen, where he held the John Adams Distinguished Chair in American Studies as a Fulbright Professor.

In addition to teaching, Sorin is a published author whose books include “The Prophetic Minority: American Jewish Immigrant Radicals, 1880–1920;” “The Nurturing Neighborhood: The Brownsville Boys Club and Jewish Community in Urban America, 1940–1990;” “A Time for Building: The Third Migration, 1880–1920;” “Tradition Transformed: The Jewish Experience in America and Irving Howe: A Life of Passionate Dissent,” winner of the National Jewish Book Award in 2002. Sorin has also published numerous essays and reviews on aspects of ethnic identity and acculturation.

He is the former chairman of the history department (1986-1996) at SUNY, New Paltz, and continues there, since 1983, as director of the Jewish Studies Program. In 1989 he founded and continues to direct the Louis and Mildred Resnick Institute for the Study of Modern Jewish Life. And in 1994 he was awarded the State University of New York’s highest rank – Distinguished University Professor.

The Rabbi Hillel Cohn Endowed Lecture on the Contemporary Jewish Experience was established at California State University, San Bernardino in 2017 in recognition of Rabbi Cohn’s many achievements as a religious and community leader. This is the first time in the history of the entire California State University system that a rabbi has been so honored.

Cohn has been active in many community organizations in the San Bernardino area, including the Institutional Review Board at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center and the Diocesan Health Care Committee of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Bernardino. He was the founding chairperson of the City of San Bernardino Human Relations Commission, and currently serves as a member of that commission.

Cohn also has produced and hosted “The Many Faces of San Bernardino: Dialogues on Diversity,” a regular half-hour program on KCSB (Channel 3). He was one of the founders of Inland Congregations United for Change and currently serves as a board member of The Community Foundation of Riverside and San Bernardino, Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties, The Unforgettables Foundation and The Brightest Star.

In 2014, Cohn was one of six inductees selected for the CSUSB College of Social and Behavioral College’s Hall of Fame.

A native of Germany, Cohn was brought to the United States as an infant by his parents who were refugees from Nazism. Cohn grew up in the Pacific Northwest and Southern California and received a B.A. in political science from UCLA in 1959. He received rabbinical training at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles and Cincinnati, where he was ordained as a rabbi in 1963 and received a master’s degree. He earned a doctor of ministry degree from the Claremont School of Theology in 1984, specializing in ethics and communication. In 1988 he was awarded an honorary doctor of divinity degree by the Hebrew Union College.

For more information on the Rabbi Hillel Cohn Endowed Lecture on the Contemporary Jewish Experience, contact the CSUSB Office of Strategic Communication at (909) 537-5007 and visit

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