MemberLaurence Edwards

Laurence Edwards (Larry) served from 2003-2013 as Rabbi of Congregation Or Chadash, a congregation founded in the 1970s by members of the Jewish GLBT community. Past positions include Hillel Director and Jewish Chaplain at Dartmouth College (1975-1981) and at Cornell University (1981-1997). Since returning to Chicago in 1997, he has held positions at KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation (Director of Education), Congregation B’nai Abraham in Beloit, WI (Rabbi), American Jewish Committee (Interreligious Affairs), and Congregation Kol Ami (Education Rabbi). Most recently (2013-14) he served as Rabbi in Residence at Congregation Rodfei Zedek, where he is also a member. He received his A.B. degree in Humanities from the University of Chicago in 1970, was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1975, and completed a Ph.D. in Bible, Culture and Hermeneutics at Chicago Theological Seminary in 2005. Larry studied in Jerusalem in 1970-71, and has returned numerous times since, serving on the faculty of the Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel (most recently Summer, 2014), and staffing three trips for Christians. While a student in New York in the 1970s he was part of a group that eventually founded Breira, perhaps the first Jewish organization in North America to call for mutual recognition between Israel and the Palestinian People. Larry teaches courses at University of Illinois at Chicago, DePaul University, and the Hebrew Seminary (Skokie). From 2000-2005 he served as Book Review Editor of the CCAR Journal / Journal of Reform Judaism. His articles and book reviews have appeared in a variety of publications. He lives in Hyde Park with his wife, Susan Boone.

MemberMatthew Suriano

Matthew Suriano is an Associate Professor in the Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Maryland. His research focuses on the history and culture of ancient Israel through the integration of biblical literature, Northwest Semitic inscriptions, and the archaeology of the Levant. He received his PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. Research Interests Hebrew Bible; death, burial, and the afterlife; ancient inscriptions; kingship and royal historiography; the archaeology of the Levant.  

MemberLuna Najera

Areas of interest: Spanish and Latin American cultural studies (early modern and colonial); gender studies; second language acquisition; community engagement. Her journal articles have focused on early modern war, surveillance, gender, and other themes.  Born in Guatemala, she grew up in Los Angeles. She earned a Ph.D. in the Department of Romance Studies at Cornell University, and a B.A. from Hampshire College. Her faculty appointments have included Vassar College, Trinity College, University College Utrecht, and Radboud University (The Netherlands).

MemberJonathan Sarna

Jonathan D. Sarna is spending this year as a fellow of the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies.  Ordinarily he serves as University Professor and the Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University, where he chairs its Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program. He also is the past president of the Association for Jewish Studies and Chief Historian of the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia.  Author or editor of more than thirty books on American Jewish history and life, his American Judaism: A History won six awards including the 2004 “Everett Jewish Book of the Year Award” from the Jewish Book Council. Sarna is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Academy of Jewish Research. His most recent books are When General Grant Expelled the Jews and Lincoln & the Jews: A History (with Benjamin Shapell), which has just appeared in a Hebrew edition.