Letter from Founding Director

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The creation of the Center for Jewish Studies is the most exciting development I have witnessed in four decades of deep involvement in the program at Berkeley — and I am honored to serve as its founding director.

Our university has long been a national leader in Jewish Studies, especially notable for the innovative scholarship promoted in its graduate program. The Center for Jewish Studies will provide a strong new focus and a vivid presence for the many varied activities associated with Jewish Studies on our campus. It will oversee our Designated Emphasis in Jewish Studies for graduate students, and our undergraduate Minor in Jewish Studies, be home to our two annual endowed lecture series, will sponsor conferences and public lectures, offer a congenial setting for graduate student colloquia, and serve as an attractive meeting-place for the many visiting scholars in the field who come to Berkeley each year.

Until now, Jewish Studies has been a vigorous but not very visible entity on our campus, but the Center should change that. My colleagues and I share a strong sense of enthusiasm for this development that will give new coherence and energy to our program, and we are eager to work together for its success.

Robert Alter
Founding Director, Center for Jewish Studies