Passing of Prof Michael Brown

Shalom Berger's picture

H-Judaic is greatly saddened to learn of the passing of Prof Michael Brown (1938-2022), Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar at the Israel and Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies at York University. 

Prof. Brown's JEW OR JUIF: JEWS, FRENCH CANADIANS, AND ANGLO-CANADIANS, 1759-1914 (1986) was a landmark volume in Canadian Jewish history.  Subsequently, he published in Canadian Jewish Studies and Jewish Education.  In 2022, when he received the Louis Rosenberg Canadian Jewish Studies Distinguished Service Award from the Association for Canadian Jewish Studies, the following biography was prepared:   "Michael Brown earned his BA from Harvard College (1960) and his MA from Columbia University (1963) before training for the rabbinate and earning his rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary (1968). He then earned his PhD from the State University of New York at Buffalo (1976). In 1968, while he was still completing his PhD, Michael Brown was recruited by York University to build a Jewish Studies program, ex nihilo.  At York, he developed and taught some two dozen courses to thousands of students over the course of his career at various levels of the curriculum. His published work on Jewish education, including Teaching Teachers (with Alex Pomson and Sydney Eisen, 2000), Creating the Jewish Future (with Bernard Lightman 1999 – translated into Russian in 2001), and Approaches to Antisemitism: Context and Curriculum (1994) are highly influential. In addition to serving as coordinator for York University’s Jewish Teacher Education Program, his leadership activities included his role as liaison between the Faculty of Education and the Holocaust Remembrance Committee of the Canadian Jewish Congress.  In addition to his books, Professor Brown has published some thirty-five book chapters, about half of which focused on Canadian Jewish subjects ranging from bi-nationalism and multiculturalism to antisemitism in the 1930s, from Jewish summer camping to Canadian Jewish women’s history, and from Jewish teacher education to Canadian Zionism. He also published twenty-two articles in refereed journals, again about half of which were on Canadian Jewish topics – on religion, politics, history, and education – in both English and Hebrew. With over thirty additional publications over and above his books, chapters, and peer-reviewed articles, Professor Brown’s output has been impressive. Worth highlighting here are his studies of Rabbi Stuart E. Rosenberg, Jews and Judaism in Canada’s Schools and Universities, the rise of Reform Judaism in Canada, the Hart Affair, aliyah from Canada, the diaspora Hebrew press, and the North American dimensions of key Zionist leaders, including Chaim Nahman Bialik, Vladimir Jabotinsky, and Golda Meir."

We extend deepest condolences to his children and grandchildren, his legion of students, and his many friends.

Many thanks to Rabbi Peretz Rodman for passing along this sad news.

Jonathan D. Sarna

Chair, H-Judaic 

Categories: Obituary
Keywords: Necrology