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Jewish Studies Program Founder Alvin Rosenfeld Awarded IU Bloomington Provost's Medal

April 30, 2013

Lauren Robel presents Alvin Rosenfeld the Provost's Medal.

Indiana University Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel presented the Provost's Medal to Alvin Rosenfeld, a distinguished scholar of literature and Holocaust studies who established the university's Jewish Studies program and led it for decades. Rosenfeld has also taught HHC courses for many years.

Robel presented the medal at a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Robert A. and Sandra S. Borns Jewish Studies Program at IU Bloomington. Rosenfeld is the Irving M. Glazer Chair of Jewish Studies and a professor of English and Jewish studies in the College of Arts and Sciences.

He established the Jewish studies program in 1973, making IU one of the first public institutions to offer such a program, and directed the program for much of its existence. Its 40th anniversary celebration on April 21 featured a concert by Menahem Pressler and Friends at IU's Auer Hall.

"Through 30 years of dedicated and visionary leadership, he built an outstanding program, renowned not only for its academic rigor, but also for its supportive and inspiring intellectual environment," Robel said. "Professor Rosenfeld brought to the program an incredible depth of knowledge of Jewish history and literature. Moreover, he brought a sustained and informed understanding of the Jewish experience in America and around the world."

Rosenfeld also established the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism at Indiana University Bloomington in 2009 and serves as the institute's director.

His scholarly expertise includes Holocaust literature, American Jewish literature and literature of exile. He is the author or editor of nine books, including "The End of the Holocaust," "The Writer Uprooted: Contemporary Jewish Exile Literatures," "Imagining Hitler," "A Double Dying: Reflections on Holocaust Literature" and "Confronting the Holocaust: The Impact of Elie Wiesel." His next book, "Resurgent Antisemitism: Global Perspectives," will appear in June with IU Press.

He was appointed in 2002 by U.S. President George W. Bush to the governing council of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and presently serves as a member of the museum's Executive Council. He has a Ph.D. from Brown University and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

The Provost's Medal is cast in silver and depicts the Indiana University Bloomington Student Building, the tree of knowledge, and the Indiana landscape on one side, and the Showalter Fountain on the other. Originally called the Chancellor's Medallion, it was first given in 1997 to James P. Holland, an exemplary teacher and scholar in the Department of Biology. Renamed the Provost's Medal in 2006, it recognizes outstanding service that builds and enhances the impact of Indiana University.

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