Steven Windmueller, professor emeritus of Jewish communal service at the Jack H. Skirball Campus of Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion-Los Angeles, will be the featured speaker at the 6th annual Rabbi Hillel Cohn Lecture Series on the Contemporary Jewish Experience presented by the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Cal State San Bernardino on April 19.
“Reflections on a Revolution: Unpacking 21st Century American Judaism” is the title of Windmueller’s talk – which will look at the Jewish community as it undergoes a major religious, cultural and structural transformation. He will speak on the factors contributing to this new normal and how issues such as antisemitism, Israel and assimilation contribute to these major changes.
The talk, which will be at 6 p.m. at the CSUSB Santos Manuel Student Union North, is free and open to the public.
Windmueller’s research has been primarily on Jewish communal trends, antisemitism and Jewish political behavior. He is the author of numerous books and articles, which have appeared in a number of secular and Jewish publications. He was awarded a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Pennsylvania.
His books include “You Shall Not Stand Idly By: A Jewish Community Relations Workbook,” “Predictability to Chaos?? How American Jewish Leaders Reinvented their National Jewish Communal System,” “In this Time and In this Place: American Jewry 3.0” and “The Quest for Power: A Study in Jewish Political Behavior and Practice.”
He recently served as the editor on a volume for USC’s Casden Institute examining the “Impact of Donald Trump’s Presidency on American Jews,” and is now focused on producing a volume analyzing 21st century Jewish ideas.
Prior to coming to Hebrew Union College, Windmueller served on the staff of the American Jewish Committee (1969-1972), directed the Albany (N.Y.) Jewish Federation (1973-1985) and the JCRC (Jewish Community Relations Committee) of the Los Angeles Jewish Federation (1985-1995).
During his tenure at Hebrew Union College, Windmueller served for 10 years as the director of its School of Jewish Nonprofit Management and in 2005 was named to the deanship of the Los Angeles campus (2006-2010).
Currently, Windmueller is consulting with national agencies, federations, synagogues and foundations in connection with his current studies on virtual and privatized Judaism, the impact of COVID, and the broader social, economic and political trends reshaping American Jewish life.
Windmueller serves as a fellow of the Jerusalem Institute of Public Affairs and as a board member of the Pat Brown Institute at Cal State Los Angeles. For the past six years, he has been on the faculty of the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, teaching across the globe.
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.
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 and was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters in 2017.
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.