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Key Funders Invest in the UC Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies to Establish a Permanent Presence for Students and Community

– by Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles

February 11th, 2019

The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation of Los Angeles has awarded the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies at UC Berkeley a $1 million matching grant toward the institute’s goal of building a $10 million endowment by 2024.

According to the Jan. 23 announcement of the grant, the Berkeley Institute’s endowment campaign has also received grants totaling nearly $2 million from the Koret Foundation and the Jim Joseph Foundation. 

“We’re issuing a challenge to other funders who care about proven campus models for engaging students around the study of Israel and Jewish identity in the modern world,”  Gilbert Foundation trustee Martin Blank Jr. said in the announcement. “This is an exciting endeavor, and we hope others join us in this cause.” 

The Berkeley Institute houses two programs: the Berkeley Program on Israel Studies and the Berkeley Program on Jewish Law, Thought and Identity. 

The institute, which was launched in 2011 and has a faculty of 22 members hailing from a variety of academic disciplines, allows students to integrate Israel studies throughout different campus departments, courses and programs; and to complement Jewish studies’ traditional focus on history and literature with a range of classes engaging Judaism from different vantage points. 

The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation supports a variety of academic programs at UC Berkeley and UCLA, including a monthly colloquium at the Berkeley Institute for presentations and discussions related to Israel and Judaism.

Dawne Bear Novicoff, chief operating officer of the Jim Joseph Foundation, said the Berkeley Institute has transformed the possibilities for Israel study at UC Berkeley.

“The strong desire for rigorous academic engagement with Israel at Berkeley is undisputed now,” Novicoff said. “Each year, the Institute offers even more to students, contributing to an Israel studies landscape that is completely transformed compared to what it was seven years ago. With its proven model, the Institute can work to ensure its future viability and long-term impact.”

Source: Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles

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