My main area of interest is Holocaust Studies, and more generally Jewish Cultural Studies, with a special emphasis on the contemporary period and all aspects of present-day Jewish life and thought. My ongoing current research concerns Holocaust memory and representation, with a particular focus on the material and visual culture of the Holocaust: I've published two books in this area: Committed to Memory: Cultural Mediations of the Holocaust (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2003), which addresses the roles the contemporary media and modes of cultural mediation play in shaping consciousness of the legacy of the Holocaust, especially in the form of its institutionalized memory, and Holocaust Icons: Symbolizing the Shoah in History and Memory (Rutgers University Press, 2015), which deals with the historical and memorial contexts of several fundamental images and ideas associated with the Holocaust. For this project I was on leave from January through August 2004 as a fellow at the Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Other major research interests are Holocaust education and Holocaust testimony, as well as South African Judaism, the latter growing out of my experiences living and teaching in Cape Town for three years from 1996-98. I also have an interest in Religion and Violence, and in 2006 I published a co-edited collection of essays on Religion, Violence, Memory, and Place (Indiana University Press). I have published academic journal articles in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Prooftexts, Jewish Social Studies, and Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and chapters in a number of edited collections. While I am responsible for teaching classes in all areas of Jewish Studies from the rabbinic period onwards, my present teaching leans toward the modern period: current courses include The Holocaust, Judaism after the Holocaust, Holocaust Memorials, Holocaust Cinema, Jewish Mysticism, Judaism, Introduction to Jewish Cultures, and, more generally, courses such as Violence and the Sacred and Intro to the Study of Religion. I have taught in the greater Miami community as well, with lectures and adult education courses at local synagogues and museums. I am the Director of the FIU Holocaust & Genocide Studies Program, which sponsors lectures and other outreach events, supports faculty research and course development, and co-presents FIU's annual Holocaust & Genocide Awareness Week in late January, and I also direct the Jewish Studies Certificate. I served as Graduate Program Director in the department of Religious Studies from 2007-2016. In 2020-21 I served on a Florida Department of Education expert group writing new statewide standards for Holocaust education, and I regularly lead one- and multi-day workshops to educators on teaching the Holocaust.
Holocaust testimony, Jewish memory, Holocaust education, and the material and visual culture of the Holocaust and its representation and remembrance