New Jewish Studies Center at Cal

A new center for Jewish studies at UC Berkeley officially opened Wednesday with a lecture on campus. The launch will be staggered over several months.

Sather Gate at the University of California at Berkeley. Photo credit: Charles Burress
Sather Gate at the University of California at Berkeley. Photo credit: Charles Burress

By Sasha Lekach, Bay City News Service

A new center for Jewish studies is opening at the University of California at Berkeley this evening, Wednesday.

The center will offer graduate students an opportunity to research all aspects of Jewish culture for a Ph.D. program and continue interdisciplinary graduate and undergraduate programs already offered at the university.

A Jewish Studies minor is already offered at the school along with other existing programming, such as Hebrew language courses and Israeli studies.

The center will have a new office space at Dwinelle Hall opening on campus today. The university has pledged $1 million to build the program, and there is already more than $8 million in endowed funds for Jewish studies on campus.

That money will go toward three endowed chairs, a postdoctoral fellowship, graduate fellowships and two annual lectures, campus officials said.

The program will have a 12-member faculty from 10 departments already established on campus including comparative literature, Near Eastern Studies, history, sociology and other schools.

The launch of the center of will be staggered over the next few months, with an administrator coming in November and graduate students able to apply to programs later this semester.

The center's founding director Robert Alter will deliver an inaugural lecture for the center at 6 p.m. at the graduate School of Journalism at North Gate Hall on campus.

The event is open to the public.

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