Academic Achievements

Over the past year, our Gratz students, faculty, and alumni have engaged in a variety of scholarly pursuits.

Student Spotlight

Shelley Alexander, a student in the Education Leadership Ed.D. program, co-authored the article, "Struggles and Successes in Constructivist Jewish Early Childhood Classrooms," with Meir Muller and Chaya Gorsetman in the Journal of Jewish Education.  The article was published online on September 26, 2018, pages 284-311.

David G. Cotter, a student in the Holocaust and Genocide Studies Ph.D. program, presented a paper on the Kielce Pogrom of 1946 for the Society of Military History at the Northern Great Plains History Conference in September 2018. The panel title was "The Postwar Era: To the Victors Go the headaches. David is the Deputy Director of the Department of Military History, Command and General Staff College in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.

Jessica Evers,  a student in the Holocaust and Genocide Studies Ph.D. program, is writing a chapter for the 2019 publication of A Cultural History of Genocide in the Era of Total War, Vol. 6 (1914-1945), by Bloomsbury Press. Her chapter, Representations of Genocide, focuses on various forms of literature, art, music, and film from the Armenian Genocide, the Holodomor, and the Holocaust.

Elizabeth Christy, a student in the Master's in Nonprofit Management program, and her colleague, Maryanne Zaugg, presented at the US Green Build Council (USGBC) Gala in Los Angeles on December 6, 2018. Their nonprofit organization, Eco Urban Gardens was awarded a $20,000 grant from USGBC to increase sustainable agriculture and landscaping practices in the Los Angeles area. The funds will be used to support their inner city sustainable gardening program. Elizabeth's courses at Gratz in grant writing and social media helped pave the way for this accomplishment.

Mark Hancock, a student in the Holocaust and Genocide Studies Ph.D. program, was in Munich, Germany in November 2018 to participate in and support the History Channel's new TV documentary called "Total Control." The film "explores the question of how easily people can be blinded and seduced by fanatics, autocrats and populists." Mark is interviewed within the film, was interviewed by the German news magazine Jetzt, and participated in the discussion panel at the Seriencamp Film Festival following the world premiere of the film. An original student in the infamous classroom experiment in fascism called "The Wave" and Associate Producer of the Wave documentary film called "Lesson Plan," Mark then travelled to Salzburg, Austria to present the Wave class experience at a high school, and also to the University of Copenhagen for a public screening of "Lesson Plan."  Mark’s documentary “Lesson Plan” currently streams free online for Amazon Prime members.

Barbara Krasner, a student in the Holocaust and Genocide Studies Ph.D. program, was selected to join the NJ Working Group on Holocaust Research, sponsored by the College of St. Elizabeth and Drew University. She presented her research on "The Reliability of Children's Memory: A Case Study of the MS St. Louis, 1939," in November 2018 at the second meeting of the working group. Barbara also published a new poetry chapbook, Pounding Cobblestone, which is now available from Kelsay Books/Aldrich Press. Her middle grades Holocaust novel in verse, 37 Days, earned an author's incentive award from PJ Our Way, a book club for Jewish families. The novel is based on her interviews with MS St. Louis survivors and archival research. Her short story, "The Last Survivor," which originally appeared in Lilith's featured blog, has been anthologized in Everywhere Stories, Volume 3, by Press 53. It imagines the last Holocaust survivor returning to her home in Prague.

Katy S. Matello, a student in the Holocaust and Genocide Studies M.A. program, was selected to participate in the 2018 Auschwitz Jewish Center Fellows Program.  Along with nine other graduate students, Katy travelled to Poland to study the Holocaust and related topics for three weeks in the summer of 2018. The program is sponsored by the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City and the Auschwitz Jewish Center in Oswiecim, Poland. In October 2018, Katy gave a research presentation titled, "Eugenics, Euthanasia, Experiments: Ethics as a Legacy of the Holocaust," at the Georgia Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference in Athens, GA. In November 2018, Katy co-facilitated a "How to Teach the Holocaust" seminar for pre-service teachers and presented her own research lesson, "Using Holocaust Art to Teach about Life in the Ghettos and Concentration Camps,” at the Museum of History and Holocaust Education. This lesson was originally created as the research component for the Holocaust Art course at Gratz College.

Marcus Steiner, a student in the Holocaust and Genocide Studies Ph.D. program, began his work in January 2019 as the Program Coordinator for the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Terre Haute, Indiana. In this role, Marcus is in charge of all museum programming, designing exhibits, and public events.  He also supervises the museum’s Youth Board and helps to oversee the implementation of the Dimensions in Testimony exhibit secured in partnership with the Shoah Foundation. CANDLES is one of only a handful of organizations that will have the exhibit.

Faculty and Staff Spotlight

Dr. Ruth Sandberg, Leonard and Ethel Landau Professor of Rabbinics and Director, MA in Interfaith Leadership, will be moderating a session for the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Council of Centers of Jewish-Christian Relations (CCJR), for which she serves as a member of the Board of Directors. Her session, “The Land/State of Israel in Christian Theology," will be co-led by Dr. Philip Cunningham of St. Joseph's University and Dr. Peter Pettit of Muhlenberg College.

Alumni Spotlight

Two Gratz alumni received honorary doctorates from The Jewish Theological Seminary at the November 2018 Academic Convocation: Michael Schatz (JCHS, ‘85, MAJEd, ‘02, Ed.D. ‘15) and Sheryl Rosenberg Klein (JCHS ‘72, MAJEd ‘90). In attendance for the ceremony was Gratz President Dr. Paul Finkelman, Gratz Professor Emeritus Dr. Saul Wachs, Barbara Rosenau (JCHS, ‘75), and David F. Tilman (Hon. Doctorate, ‘16), Hazzan Emeritus of Beth Sholom Congregation.

—  JANUARY 2019