Journalism pioneer and award-winning editorial writer Jane Eisner will be the featured speaker at the fourth annual Rabbi Hillel Cohn Endowed Lecture on the Contemporary Jewish Experience held virtually by Cal State San Bernardino’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021.

Eisner, who was the first woman to serve as executive editor of the influential Jewish national news organization Forward, will give an illustrated lecture “From The Holocaust To Hate Groups: How American Media Covers Anti-Semitism.”

Eisner’s lecture was postponed from last April due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced the university to suspend all large gatherings, events and face-to-face classes on campus.

The lecture, which starts at 6 p.m. PST via Zoom, is free. Zoom link will be sent the week of the event. Please RSVP to

Eisner is an accomplished journalist, educator, non-profit leader and public speaker who is currently director of academic affairs at the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University, overseeing the Master of Arts program.

For more than a decade, she was the Forward’s editor-in-chief, the first woman to hold the position at America’s foremost national Jewish news organization.

Since Eisner joined the Forward in 2008, the publication dramatically expanded its digital reach, becoming the authoritative source of news, opinion, arts and culture in the Jewish world. The publication won numerous regional and national awards, and her editorials were repeatedly honored by the Society of Professional Journalists and other media organizations. She is known for her interviews of such notable figures as President Barack Obama, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and many others.

Prior to her work at the Forward, Eisner held executive editorial and news positions at The Philadelphia Inquirer for 25 years, including stints as editorial page editor, syndicated columnist, City Hall bureau chief and foreign correspondent. From 2006 to 2008, she served as vice president of the National Constitution Center, She has taught at Wesleyan University as the first Koeppel Fellow and at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is a senior fellow at Penn’s Program for Research and Religion in Urban Civil Society.

Eisner is the author of “Taking Back the Vote: Getting American Youth Involved in Our Democracy,” published in 2004 by Beacon Press. She is a regular contributor to The Washington Post’s Book World, and has written for Columbia Journalism Review, The Los Angeles Times, TIME, NPR, and other major news outlets.

She is chair of the board of the Student Press Law Center and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Refugee Employment Project.

Eisner is a graduate of Wesleyan University and Columbia Journalism School. She was a fellow of the Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center at Bryn Mawr College in its inaugural year and participated in the Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program in 2009. She is a frequent public speaker and moderator, and lives in New York City with her husband, Dr. Mark Berger.

The Rabbi Hillel Cohn Endowed Lecture on the Contemporary Jewish Experience was established at California State University, San Bernardino in 2017 in recognition of Rabbi Cohn’s many achievements as a religious and community leader. This is the first time in the history of the entire California State University system that a rabbi has been so honored.

Cohn has been active in many community organizations in the San Bernardino area, including the Institutional Review Board at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center and the Diocesan Health Care Committee of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Bernardino. He was the founding chairperson of the City of San Bernardino Human Relations Commission, and currently serves as a member of that commission.

Cohn also has produced and hosted “The Many Faces of San Bernardino: Dialogues on Diversity,” a regular half-hour program on KCSB (Channel 3). He was one of the founders of Inland Congregations United for Change and currently serves as a board member of The Community Foundation of Riverside and San Bernardino, Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties, The Unforgettables Foundation and The Brightest Star.

In 2014, Cohn was one of six inductees selected for the CSUSB College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Hall of Fame.

A native of Germany, Cohn was brought to the United States as an infant by his parents who were refugees from Nazism. Cohn grew up in the Pacific Northwest and Southern California and received a B.A. in political science from UCLA in 1959. He received rabbinical training at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles and Cincinnati, where he was ordained as a rabbi in 1963 and received a master’s degree. He earned a doctor of ministry degree from the Claremont School of Theology in 1984, specializing in ethics and communication. In 1988 he was awarded an honorary doctor of divinity degree by the Hebrew Union College.

For more information on the Rabbi Hillel Cohn Endowed Lecture on the Contemporary Jewish Experience, contact the CSUSB Office of Strategic Communication at (909) 537-5007.