campus clock tower
UC Berkeley campus (Photo/file)

Substantial new grant for Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies

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The Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies at UC Berkeley has been awarded a matching grant of $1 million from a Los Angeles-based foundation, the first step toward a targeted $10 million endowment by 2024.

The grant is from the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, one of the original funders of the institute when it opened in 2011. The matching funds will seed a larger capital campaign, said the institute’s founding director, Kenneth Bamberger.

“It is a pretty extraordinary time on campus,” Bamberger said. “The chancellor is extremely supportive of Jewish and Israel studies.”

Part of the school of law at UC Berkeley, the institute is known for programs and lectures on diverse topics ranging from Arab-Israeli water conflicts to Jewish mysticism. They happen through its two core programs: the Program on Israel Studies and the Program on Jewish Law, Thought and Identity. It also sponsors visiting Israeli professors and holds campus community events such as the upcoming Feb. 21 “Judaism and the #MeToo Movement” talk by Rachel Adler of Hebrew Union College.

Besides the matching grant, the institute also got nearly a combined $2 million for operational expenses from the Koret Foundation and from the Jim Joseph Foundation, both based in the Bay Area.

Bamberger said he hopes the endowment campaign will make the need for constant fundraising less crucial, and will let the institute do even more — such as setting up a chair in Israel studies to make sure that students will always have options for study.