Jewish-Gentile Romances: From Abie to Zohan in American Films with Dr. Lawrence Baron
From the silent era to the talkies, Jewish-Gentiles movie romances have provided plotlines to promote vastly different agendas: the Melting Pot ideal (Abie’s Irish Rose), traditional resistance to intermarriage (Tevye the Milkman), American support of Israel (Exodus), identity politics (The Way We Were). Multiculturalism (Keeping the Faith), and changing perceptions of Israel (You Don’t Mess with the Zohan).
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Professor Emeritus Lawrence Baron held the Nasatir Chair of Modern Jewish History at San Diego State University from 1988 until 2012 and directed its Jewish Studies Program until 2006. He received his Ph.D. in modern European cultural and intellectual history from the University of Wisconsin where he studied with George L. Mosse. He taught at St. Lawrence University from 1975 until 1988. He has authored and edited four books including The Modern Jewish Experience in World Cinema (Brandeis University Press: 2011) and Projecting the Holocaust into the Present: The Changing Focus of Contemporary Holocaust Cinema (Rowman and Littlefield: 2005). He served as the historian and as an interviewer for Sam and Pearl Oliner’s The Altruistic Personality: Rescuers of Jews in Nazi Europe. In 2006 he delivered the keynote address for Yad Vashem’s first conference devoted to Hollywood and the Holocaust. His contribution to Holocaust Studies was profiled in Fifty Key Thinkers on the Holocaust and Genocide (Routledge: 2010). In the fall Semester of 2015, he taught as the Ida King Distinguished Visiting Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the Richard Stockton University of New Jersey.