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February 03, 1989 - Image 46

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-02-03

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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ews have a lot of mis-
perceptions about their
history, Murray
Rosman believes. Most, he
says, tend to think that the
sum of Jewish history is blood
and tears. However, the scope
of Jewish history goes well
beyond that.
"When you investigate, you
see that there's more than
blood and tears, that there
are real achievements, not on-
ly in the cultural sphere —
that it's not only persecutions
in the past, although there
certainly was persecution."
Jewish achievements can be
seen at Beit Hatefutsot — The
Museum of the Diaspora — in
Israel. "When you go to a •
place like Beit Hatefutsot in
Israel, which is really a
museum of Jewish history,
it's a very upbeat place,"
Rosman says. "I think that
shows something. There's
something in Jewish history
that you can be proud of and
learn from and it's not only
the story of persecution."
Prof. Rosman, senior lec-
turer in the department of
Jewish history at Bar-Ilan
University in Ramat Gan,
Israel, will seek to clarify
what he calls misperceptions
about Jewish history when he
lectures this spring as the
fourth Bargman scholar-in-
residence of the Midrasha-
College of Jewish Studies.



(The lecture series is nam-
ed for the late Theodore and
Mina Bargman, longtime
Jewish communal leaders
and philanthropists. The
childless couple left a fund to
benefit Jewish causes, among
them the Midrasha scholar-
in-residence program. Their
involvements included the
Allied Jewish Campaign,
Jewish Vocational Service,
Jewish Community Center,
Hadassah, Congregation
Shaarey Zedek, Jewish Fami-
ly Service, Jewish Welfare
Federation, Sinai Hospital
and Temple Beth El, among
others.)
A native of Chicago, Ill.,
Rosman will spend a
semester in Detroit, beginn-
ing next week and running
through July, giving public
lectures, teaching graduate
courses and conducting
classes for teens. Rosman,
whose in-laws reside in
Detroit, was selected due to
his "versatility in terms of his
background in history," ex-
plains Renee Wohl, instructor
and curriculum writer for the
Midrasha.
Rosman chose Jewish
history with a concentration
on Polish Jewry as his special-
ty because of his desire to go
into some aspect of Jewish
communal service and the
fact he was attracted to
history in general.
He also found studying
history helped him unders-
tand his place as a Jew in the

modern world. "In order to
understand your own life,
your own times, you have to
put them in context. So for
me, it's important to unders-
tand my own history, and I
think it's important for other
people."
But, Rosman cautions,
there is a danger that Jewish
historians face, "that their
commitment to Jewish life,
the Jewish community, the --
Jewish religion can interfere
with their commitment to the
canons of scholarship," he ex-
plains. "My goal is to live a
life of passionate commitment
with dispassionate scholar-
ship, but it's an ideal that's
not always easy to attain."
He avoids that danger by
trying "to be honest and
recognize my biases, and then
trying to look at things from
other points of view and
challenge my interpretation
of documents and sources to
see if it's me talking or the
source talking," he asserts.
"I'm always trying to balance
the demands of scholarship
with my personal com-
mitments; it's something
that's always been on my
mind."
Rosman's career as a Jewish
history specialist has its roots
at the Jewish Theological
Seminary, from which he
earned bachelor's, master's
and doctoral degrees. He also
holds a bachelor's degree
from Columbia University.
He has been an adjunct lec-

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