Wed. Jun 12th, 2024

     Earning his undergraduate degree at Kent State University, Dr. Jonathan Friedman studied history, political science, German, and Hebrew. He continued his education at the University of Maryland, College Park, and studied modern European history. Friedman finished his education with a doctorate from the University of Maryland, College Park, and studied modern European history, and modern German history, modern Jewish history. Teaching for a total of 17 years, ten of which were here at WCU, Friedman teaches, the Holocaust, Jewish history, and  19th and 20th Century Europe

     Friedman has six books published. His most recent publication is “The Routledge History of the Holocaust” (2011), and “Rainbow Jews: Gay and Jewish Identity in the Performing Arts” (2007). The latter evaluates the extent to which American and Israeli Jews in the performing arts have helped to shape welcoming discourses for the LGBTQ community.

   His best academic achievement was editing “The Routledge History of the Holocaust.” He explained, “Being able to be a part of a publication that included some of the most well-known scholars in the field of Holocaust history was an immense honor and responsibility for me.” He says his best life achievement is his family: his wife, Leslie, and daughters Maya (9) and Tess (2).

    Friedman’s current academic goal is to publish a book dealing with the history of social protest in contemporary music.

      “My research interests have been broadly centered on Jewish history and effaced voices in history, but in the past five years, I have focused on performance and the performing arts as a medium of empowerment for Jews and other minorities,” he said.

     His current non-academic goal is “to be the best dad I can be; and to get to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter again soon.”

     Friedman said what he loves most about teaching is, “the endless opportunities for creativity and connecting with students.” He said, “I try to make every class a total experience—with visuals, sound, discussions, primary documents—everything that I find interesting about history.” The one thing he loves most about WCU is “the students—they are the best.”

      His advice to students is, “be kind, be passionate, and do something important!”

     Rebekah Balmer is a fifth-year student majoring in women’s and gender studies and sociology. She can be reached at

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