Dr. Dean P. Bell

Spertus Institute President & CEO


  • Medieval Jewish History
  • Early Modern Jewish History
  • Antisemitism Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
  • Introduction to Jewish Studies
  • Jewish Studies for the Communal Professional
  • Jewish Historiography


  • PhD, University of California, Berkeley, CA
  • MA, University of California, Berkeley, CA
  • BA, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL


Dr. Dean P. Bell is the ninth President and CEO of Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, where he also holds a faculty appointment as Professor of History.

He has served on the faculty of institutions including DePaul University, Northwestern University, Hebrew Theological College, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of California, Berkeley.

A leading voice for the advancement of Jewish higher education, Dr. Bell has served as President, Vice-President, and Secretary-Treasurer of the Midwest Jewish Studies Association and has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Association for Jewish Studies.

A historian by training, he is widely published in the areas of medieval and early modern Jewish history as well as early modern cultural responses to disaster. His book Plague in the Early Modern World: A Documentary History (Routledge) was published in late 2019, uncannily just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. He served as an expert on pandemic history for a range of media and organizations during the height of the COVID-19 crisis.

His current research and publications focus on explorations of vulnerability, resilience, and religious leadership.


  • The Routledge Handbook of Judaism in the 21st Century, 1st Edition, edited with Dr. Keren E. Fraiman (Routledge)
  • Interreligious Resilience: Interreligious Leadership in a Pluralistic World, co-written with Dr. Michael S. Hogue (Bloomsbury)
  • Plague in the Early Modern World: A Documentary History (Routledge)
  • The Routledge Handbook of Jewish History and Historiography (Routledge)
  • The Bloomsbury Companion to Jewish Studies (Bloomsbury)
  • Jews in the Early Modern World (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers)
  • Jewish Identity in Early Modern Germany: Memory, Power and Community (Routledge)
  • Jews, Judaism and the Reformation in Sixteenth-Century Germany, edited with Stephen G. Burnett (Brill)
  • Sacred Communities: Jewish and Christian Identities in Fifteenth-Century Germany (Brill)