More grant money for Jewish studies institute at Berkeley

In addition to a previously reported $1.2 million, five-year grant from the S.F.-based Jim Joseph Foundation, U.C. Berkeley’s Institute for Jewish Law and Israeli Law, Economy and Society has received significant financial support from three other leading philanthropies.

The Los Angeles–based Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation has committed $750,000, while the Bay Area–based Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund and Koret Foundation have each given $450,000, according to, which notes that the grant periods range from three to five years.

The coordinated $2.85 million gift will support the 2-year-old interdisciplinary initiative that is helping to expand Jewish and Israel studies offerings at U.C. Berkeley. The institute’s two programs — one on Israel studies, one on Jewish law and thought — are coordinated by a faculty committee drawn from more than 10 departments and schools around campus.

The institute was founded in 2011 and since its inception has supported 20 undergraduate courses, conferences, lectures and roundtables; it also has brought visiting faculty and scholars to Cal.

Its 2013-14 program includes an international conference on water and the environment in Israel. Additionally, the institute will launch research collaborations between U.C. Berkeley and Israeli academics on areas ranging from environmental technologies to judicial behavior.

“This tremendous gift will support the institute’s goals of reaching more students and faculty, offering more programming, and transitioning from a ‘startup’ to a permanent institution at U.C. Berkeley,” said Kenneth Bamberger, a law professor and the institute’s faculty director. “We are extremely grateful for the vision and support of the four foundations.”