University of PennsylvaniaBeth Wenger

Beth S. Wenger is Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania where she serves Chair of the History Department. Wenger’s most recent book is a co-edited anthology (with Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet), titled Gender in Judaism and Islam: Common Lives, Uncommon Heritage (New York University Press, 2014).  She is also the author of History Lessons: The Creation of American Jewish Heritage (Princeton University Press, 2010).  Her other books include The Jewish Americans: Three Centuries of Jewish Voices in America (Doubleday, 2007), companion volume to the 2008 PBS series The Jewish Americans, which was named a National Jewish Book Award finalist, and New York Jews and the Great Depression: Uncertain Promise (Yale University Press, 1996), which was awarded the Salo Baron Prize in Jewish History from the American Academy of Jewish Research. At Penn, Wenger received the 2008 Richard Dunn Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Wenger’s other co-edited collections include Remembering the Lower East Side: American Jewish Reflections (with Hasia Diner and Jeffrey Shandler) as well as the museum catalogue for the exhibition that she co-curated (with Jaffrey Shandler), titled Encounters with the “Holy Land:” Place, Past, and Future in American Jewish Culture. That catalogue received honorable mention as one of the American Library Association’s Exhibition Catalogue Awards for Excellence.

She serves as historical consultant to the National Museum of American Jewish History and as Chair of the Academic Advisory Council of the Center for Jewish History.  She is former Chair of the Academic Council of the American Jewish Historical Society and former Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus of the Association for Jewish Studies. Wenger currently serves on the academic boards of the Jewish Women’s Archive and the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Jewish Research and serves as Distinguished Lecturer for the OAH [Organization of American Historians] as well as for the Association for Jewish Studies.

Wenger holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University, M.A.’s from Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. from Yale University.

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Lectures:

  • American Jewish Visions of ‘The Holy Land’
  • Budgets, Boycotts, and Babies: Jewish Women in the Great Depression
  • Civics Lessons: Jews and American National Holidays
  • Europe in American Jewish Imagination
  • In Search of American Jewish Heritage
  • Making American Jewish Men: Masculinity in the Immigrant Jewish World
  • Monuments and Markers: Jewish Heritage in Brick and Stone
  • Sculpting an American Jewish Hero: The Myths and Monuments of Haym Salomon
  • Soldiers, Symbols and Service: The Narratives of Jewish Patriotism
  • The Lower East Side in American Jewish Memory
  • The Politics of the Neighborhood: Jewish Political Culture in the Great Depression