Rachel B. Gross, a religious studies scholar who focuses on 20th and 21st century American Jews, is the featured speaker at the fifth annual Rabbi Hillel Cohn Endowed Lecture on the Contemporary Jewish Experience, to be presented virtually by Cal State San Bernardino’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences on May 9.

“Feeling Jewish: Nostalgia and American Jewish Religion” is the topic of the talk by Gross, who is an assistant professor and the John and Marcia Goldman Chair in American Jewish Studies in the Department of Jewish Studies at San Francisco State University.

The talk, which will be held at 6 p.m. via Zoom, is free, but space is limited. To RSVP, visit the The Rabbi Hillel Cohn Endowed Lecture on the Contemporary Jewish Experience.

Gross is the author of “Beyond the Synagogue: Jewish Nostalgia as Religious Practice,” which is a 2021 National Jewish Book Award finalist in American Jewish Studies and received an Honorable Mention for the 2021 Saul Viener Book Prize, given by the American Jewish Historical Society. She is currently working on a religious biography of the 20th century immigration writer, Mary Antin.

The Rabbi Hillel Cohn Endowed Lecture on the Contemporary Jewish Experience was established at Cal State San Bernardino in 2017 in recognition of Cohn’s many achievements as a religious and community leader. It was 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.