Students at a UC Berkeley Hillel event in 2019.
Students at a UC Berkeley Hillel event in 2019.

Campus news: Funding boost for Berkeley Hillel, Israeli scholar at Stanford as visiting fellow

The Hillel center at UC Berkeley, helmed by Rabbi Adam Naftalin-Kelman, has just been given a seven-figure matching grant that will endow the executive director position.

Berkeley Hillel declined to specify the exact amount of the donation. It gives the on-campus Jewish organization a security that few other Hillels have, according to a press release from Berkeley Hillel and the L.A.-based Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation International. Fewer than 10 of the 200 Hillels with professional staff have an endowed director position.

Rabbi Adam Naftalin-Kelman
Rabbi Adam Naftalin-Kelman

“Endowed gifts are examples by funders of the importance in supporting organizations beyond the short term,” Naftalin-Kelman told J. in an email. “A gift like this ensures that Berkeley Hillel can plan longer term about addressing the most pressing issues facing UC Berkeley Jewish students.”

The Gilbert foundation at the same time made a similar grant to the Hillel at UCLA. It’s a matching grant, which means Berkeley Hillel will also be raising money.

“The matching endowed gift by the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation was made to inspire other donors to join them in investing in the future of Jewish life at Cal,” Naftalin-Kelman said. “We are in the process of securing those matching funds to sustain us for the next 100 years.”

Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert, noted art collectors, moved from the U.K. to California in 1949 after finding success in London’s fashion industry. Arthur then had a successful career as a property developer. Rosalinde died in 1995 and Arthur in 2001.

Their foundation focuses on areas that include Israel and Jewish life, and also supports academic projects at UC Berkeley and UCLA, including the position of the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Professor of Law at UC Berkeley currently held by Ken Bamberger. The foundation is an existing supporter of Berkeley Hillel.

Amichai Magen
Amichai Magen

In other campus-related news, Amichai Magen, a renowned Israeli scholar of democracy and diplomacy, has been named as the first visiting fellow in Israel Studies at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. His appointment will begin in the fall when he will teach courses and advise the institute on Israel-related programs.

“In developing and anchoring the program over the next three years, Amichai Magen will bring a brilliant scholarly mind, a great love of teaching and broad expertise on Israeli politics, society, public policy and regional relations,” Larry Diamond, a professor and senior fellow at the institute, said in a press release.

Magen is currently a professor at Reichman University in Herzliya, Israel, where he heads the master’s program in diplomacy and conflict studies and directs the Program on Democratic Resilience and Development at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy.

But Magen also has deep ties to Stanford — he graduated from Stanford Law and was a fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, a policy think tank.

The son of refugees from Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, Magen’s scholarship looks at democracy and the rule of law and examines how they’ve evolved, and where they’re vulnerable. He also has a book coming soon on governance failures and political violence.

Maya Mirsky
Maya Mirsky

Maya Mirsky is a J. Staff Writer based in Oakland.