Deborah E. Lipstadt to Receive Sherut L’Am Award from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Deborah E. Lipstadt to Receive Sherut L’Am Award from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Deborah LipstadtDeborah E. Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University, received the Sherut L’Am Award from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion at Graduation in Cincinnati on May 31, 2019.  The Sherut L’Am Award, which recognizes exceptional service to the College-Institute or to the Jewish People, was presented to Lipstadt in recognition of her achievements as one of the nation's foremost experts on Holocaust denial and modern antisemitism.

Lipstadt’s latest book, Antisemitism: Here and Now, addresses the issues of resurgent antisemitism, as witnessed in the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA, and the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA; she defines antisemitism and the different types of antisemities, contextualizes their actions, and provides frameworks for real-life responses. She published The Eichmann Trial on the 50th anniversary of this milestone legal proceeding in Israel’s history which sparked the world’s delayed awakening to the magnitude of the Holocaust, to address its enduring legacy, the significance of survivor testimony, and the understanding of justice after atrocity. Her book History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier is the story of her libel trial in London against David Irving, who sued her for calling him a Holocaust denier and rightwing extremist. The book won the 2006 National Jewish Book Award and was adapted into a feature film starring actress Rachel Weisz as Lipstadt. Her book Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory is the first full length study of those who attempt to deny the Holocaust. In her book Beyond Belief: The American Press and the Coming of the Holocaust, she examines how the American press covered the news of the persecution of European Jewry between the years 1933 and 1945 and addresses the question "what did the American public know and when did they know it?"

At Emory University, she was the creator and founding director of its Institute for Jewish Studies (1998-2008). She directs the website known as HDOT [Holocaust Denial on Trial/] which, in addition to cataloging legal and evidentiary materials from David Irving v. Penguin Books and Deborah Lipstadt, contains answers to frequent claims made by deniers. This section, Myths and Facts, received a grant from the Conference for Material Claims against Germany for the translation of the site into Arabic, Farsi, Russian, and Turkish. The site is frequently accessed in cities throughout Iran. Its seventh most visited country is Saudi Arabia.

Lipstadt was an historical consultant to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and helped design the section of the Museum dedicated to the American Response to the Holocaust. She was appointed by President Clinton to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council on which she served two terms. She was a member of the Executive Committee of the Council and chaired the Educational Committee and Academic Committee of the Holocaust Museum. She has been called upon by members of the United States Congress to consult on political responses to Holocaust denial. From 1996 through 1999 she served as a member of the United States State Department Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad. In this capacity she, together with a small group of leaders and scholars, advised Secretary of State Madeline Albright on matters of religious persecution abroad. In 2005 she was asked by President George W. Bush to be part of a small delegation that represented the White House at the 60th anniversary commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz.

She received her B.A. from City College of New York (1969) and her M.A. (1972) and Ph.D. (1976) from Brandeis University. Lipstadt was elected to the American Academy of Jewish Research in 2006 and received the Jewish Council for Public Affairs’ highest honor, the Albert D. Chernin Award, for her work exemplifying the social justice imperatives of Judaism, Jewish history, and the protection of the Bill of Rights, particularly the First Amendment. She serves as a non-fiction judge for the Sami Rohr Book Prize.  She has received numerous teaching awards, including Emory's student government association's award for being the teacher most likely to motivate students to learn about new and unfamiliar topics and the Emory Williams Award, for her courses on modern Jewish and Holocaust studies. She has received Honorary Doctorates from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Ohio Wesleyan, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Yeshiva University, Bar Ilan University, and Jewish Theological Seminary.

Read more about 2019 Graduation and Ordination in Cincinnati, Los Angeles, and New York.

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates leaders to serve North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, museums, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding.