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Fund endows Israel studies chair in S.F.

A San Francisco-based fund has given $3.75 million to endow a chair in Israel studies at San Francisco State University.

The Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund made the announcement Monday of the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Chair in Israel Studies, which will be the largest endowed chair in the California State University system, according to San Francisco State officials.

It also will be one of less than a dozen endowed faculty positions in Israel studies in the United States.

Israel studies, a relative newcomer in the academic world, provides a more Israel-centered academic focus than most Jewish studies departments.

“As conflicts in the Middle East continue, it is vitally important to provide students with a deeper and more fully developed understanding of Israel,” said Richard Goldman, the fund’s founder and president. “The purpose of this professorship is to accomplish that goal.”

Part of the endowment will help elevate the university’s Jewish studies program to departmental status, making it the first Jewish studies department in the California State University system.

Recruitment for the new position will begin this fall, and the appointee should join the faculty in August 2009.

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