Jewish studies awarded $3.75 million
March 3, 2008 3:50 PM
Nearly $4 million was awarded to SF State by the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund last week to hire an endowed chair for Jewish studies.
"As conflicts in the Middle East continue, it is vitally important to provide students with a deeper and more fully understanding of Israel,” said Richard N. Goldman, president and founder of the fund. “The purpose of this professorship is to accomplish this goal.”
The endowed chair will be the largest permanent position for Israel Studies in the CSU system. There are a total of 10 in the United States and four more overseas.
The fund has sponsored another endowed chair at SF State, professor Marc Dollinger, who specializes in Jewish studies and social responsibility.
“An endowment chair is when a philanthropist from the community makes a donation to a university to create a professorship,” Dollinger said. “It’s a way for the community and university to link and grow together.”
The $3.75 million will be split into two categories: $3,255,000 for the endowed chairs’ salary and $495,000 to eventually make Jewish studies a full-fledged department.
There will be a faculty search committee with five members, consisting of three Jewish studies professors, one humanities professor and one professor appointed by President Robert Corrigan. The committee will advertise the position in academic journals, have a variety of interviews, and decide upon a candidate in time to start the Fall 2009 semester.
Astren was one of the many professors who put together the Middle Eastern and Islamic studies minor that started in Fall 2007.
“The intent is to keep the Israel Studies separate,” said Amy Lyons, executive director of the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund. “I think when Israel is put in with the Middle East, it can get lost in the mix. By having it by itself it can maintain its own identity.”
Lyons said the Goldman family has an interest in Jewish studies and has been a long-time supporter of the state of Israel.
“Israel Studies is a legitimate field,” Lyons said. “There are other types of country studies and ethnic studies on campus, this will add to it.”
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