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Professor Benny Kraut Receives Award for Excellence in Teaching
Contact: Maria Terrone
Executive Director of Communications
(718) 997-5591
Maria Matteo
News Assistant
(718) 997-5590


FLUSHING, NY, October 22, 2004 -- Citing his “unyielding intellectual rigor combined with a deeply humane connection to the material,” Queens College President James Muyskens has proclaimed Prof. Benny Kraut the recipient of a 2004 President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

A Professor of History both at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, Prof. Kraut is director of the college’s academic Jewish Studies Program and its Center for Jewish Studies. Serving as a bridge between the academic program and the community, the center offers a wide array of extracurricular events, making it a preeminent Jewish intellectual and cultural resource for the New York metropolitan area.

“Teaching the Holocaust requires a special sensitivity in order to present its many-faceted lessons and history in a way that does not cause anger or prejudice, but instead, fosters understanding,” said President Muyskens in the award citation, given at the college on October 20. “With your extensive knowledge and expertise, you are able to guide your students through the academic and emotional challenges of those critical moments in history.”

In his remarks, Pres. Muyskens also recalled how Prof. Kraut guided two students through a critical moment in their own personal history: “You will always be fondly remembered for helping organize the wedding proposal of a young woman in your History of the Holocaust class. It was the last day of class, and you wrapped up the course by explaining that although horrible things can happen in the world, goodness and happiness will ultimately triumph. A moment later, with your foreknowledge, a young man walked in holding a rose and an engagement ring, and proposed to the young woman.”

Professor Benny Kraut

A resident of West Hempstead, Long Island, Prof. Kraut joined the Queens College faculty in 1998. He is Professor Emeritus of Judaic Studies at the University of Cincinnati, where he won two of that institution's most prestigious teaching awards and where he pioneered courses in Black/Jewish Relations and Religion and the Holocaust. He is also former book review editor of the scholarly journal American Jewish History and a member of the Academic Council of the American Jewish Historical Society. Prof. Kraut has published widely in the fields of modern and American Jewish history and Judaism, including the two books From Reform Judaism to Ethical Culture: The Religious Evolution of Felix Adler and German Jewish Orthodoxy in an Immigrant Synagogue, forty scholarly essays, and over 160 reviews.

Prof. Kraut and three other full-time faculty members received their awards at the Queens College Faculty-Staff Assembly. The President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching is awarded annually to recognize outstanding teaching in the classroom. Recipients are selected by a faculty committee appointed by the president which includes past winners of the award. Nominations for the award may be submitted by any member of the college community. Each award recipient receives $3,000.

Queens College of the City University of New York (CUNY) is dedicated to the idea that a first-rate education should be accessible to talented individuals of all backgrounds and financial means. Founded in 1937, the college offers an exceptional liberal arts curriculum, with over 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. Located on a beautiful 77-acre campus in Flushing, Queens College enjoys a national reputation for its liberal arts and sciences and professional programs. Consisted included in the Princeton Review The Best 357 Colleges, Queens College is rated among the nation’s top 10% colleges and offers exceptional students a range of honors programs.


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