Large grant for Jewish studies institute at Cal

The Jim Joseph Foundation announced this week that it will award up to $1.2 million over five years to the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israeli Law, Economy and Society.

The BIJLILES, as it is known, is a 2-year-old interdisciplinary initiative that is helping to expand Jewish and Israel studies offerings at U.C. Berkeley. The institute serves undergraduate and graduate students and focuses on two programs — one on Jewish law and civilization, the other on the multidisciplinary study of Israel.

The grant will support the institute’s goals of offering more programming and transitioning from a “startup” to a permanent institution at U.C. Berkeley.

In all, the Jim Joseph Foundation announced grants totaling $3.6 million. Other grantees include George Washington University, the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies North America, and the Institute of Southern Jewish Life.

The S.F.-based foundation seeks to foster compelling and effective Jewish learning experiences for young Jews in the United States.

“Each grantee is helping to create a future that includes vibrant Jewish living and learning in communities across the country,” said Al Levitt, president of the foundation, which has awarded more than $270 million since its founding in 2006.