BERLIN (JTA) —Â Berlin’s Jewish museum has selected as its new leader a non-Jewish scholar of Jewish studies.
Peter Schafer, a German academic who had previously led Princeton University‘s JudaicÂ studies program, will take the reins of theÂ Jewish MuseumÂ Berlin as ofÂ September 1, according to an announcement made Friday.
He will succeed W. Michael Blumenthal, a German-born Jewish former U.S. treasury secretary under President Carter.
Blumenthal was appointed in 1997 to be the director of the yet-to-open Jewish MuseumÂ Berlin. The museum opened to the public on Sept. 12, 2001 in a dramatic building designed by architect Daniel Libeskind. It reports having about 700,000 visitors annually.
Blumenthal, who turned 88 this year, Â said he had been consideringÂ passing the torch and that the right moment came whenÂ Schafer retired as an academic.Â Schafer had previously taught at German universities.
Germany’s culture minister, Monika Grutters, said Friday that she wasÂ “delighted that we have managed to gain… an internationally activeÂ and renowned expert in Jewish studies as the new director.”