Jehuda Reinharz was born in Haifa, Israel, in 1944. He received his high school education in Germany and immigrated to the United States as a teenager in 1961.
Prof. Reinharz earned concurrent bachelor’s degrees from Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He earned his master’s degree in medieval Jewish history from Harvard University in 1968 and his doctorate in modern Jewish history from Brandeis University in 1972.
Prof. Reinharz was the first professor of Jewish history at the University of Michigan from 1972 to 1982, where he established the program in Judaic Studies and became a full professor.
In 1982, he became the Richard Koret Professor of Modern Jewish History in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. Two years later, he was named Director of the Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry at Brandeis and eight years later founded the Jacob and Libby Goodman Institute for the Study of Zionism and Israel. From 1991 to 1994, Prof. Reinharz served as Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. In 1994, he became the seventh President of Brandeis University. In January 2011, Prof. Reinharz assumed the presidency of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation.
Prof. Reinharz is the author or co-author of more than one hundred articles and thirty-one books in various languages. His Jew in the Modern World (3rd edition 2011), co-edited with Paul Mendes-Flohr, is one of the most widely adopted college texts in modern Jewish history. His two-volume biography of Chaim Weizmann, the first President of Israel, has won many prizes in Israel and the United States and his book, co-authored with the late Ben Halpern, entitled Zionism and the Creation of a New Society, was published in 1998 and re-issued in a revised paperback edition in 2000. His three latest co-authored books (with Prof. Yaacov Shavit) are Darwin and His Kind (published in Hebrew in 2009); Glorious, Accursed Europe (published in 2010), which analyzes the relationship of Jews to Europe from the 18th century to the present; and The Scientific God, which deals with popular science in Eastern Europe in the second half of the 19th century (published in Hebrew in 2011). In 2013, Reinharz co-authored The Road to September 1939 (published in Hebrew) with Yaacov Shavit, as well as Die Sprache der Judenfeindschaft im 21.Jahrhundert, co-authored with Monika Schwarz-Friesel. He is now completing with Prof. Motti Golani of Tel Aviv University, the third and final volume of the biography of Chaim Weizmann.
Most recently, Prof. Reinharz co-wrote a book on the history of the donkey in literature (with Prof. Yaacov Shavit). The book, The Donkey: A Cultural History, was published in Hebrew (2014). On this subject, Prof. Reinharz has said: “No one has ever contemplated this history on a large scale… It’s probably the most ambitious topic Prof. Shavit and I have ever contemplated.”
Prof. Reinharz is the recipient of seven honorary doctorates, including one from the Weizmann Institute of Science. In 1992, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. In 1995, Prof. Reinharz was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 1999 he was elected a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In addition, he serves on a number of boards and advisory committees.
Jehuda Reinharz is married to Shulamit Reinharz, professor emerita of sociology at Brandeis University. They have two daughters, Yael and Naomi.