NEW YORK (JTA) — The Jim Joseph Foundation will give Stanford University $12 million to renew its Jewish education studies department.
The funding for the California university’s School of Education will create a doctoral concentration in education and Jewish studies, and establish and endow a Jim Joseph professorship in education and Jewish studies.
The gift is the largest in the history of Stanford’s School of Education. Stanford had offered a concentration in Jewish education from 1992 to 2002.
The school and the foundation say the grant will allow Stanford to join New York University as one of only two research universities in the United States offering a doctoral program in Jewish education.
Stanford will admit two students per year for the first three years of the program. One student will be added per year afterward to reach a total of seven.
“Through this generous gift, Jim Joseph Foundation is helping to pioneer a new paradigm for thinking about the intersection of religion and education,” Sam Wineburg, the Margaret Jacks professor of education and history at Stanford, said in a news release from the foundation. “We’re putting our energy into the intersection of education and Jewish studies because Stanford has a record of success in this field and because there’s a need to produce more scholars with this background.
Wineburg said the impact of the foundation’s gift will be felt broadly.
"More children across the globe are educated in religious institutions than secular ones," he said. "However, we don’t yet know, and have not yet begun to properly study, what ramifications this may have for future generations.”
School of Education faculty at Stanford will collaborate with scholars at the school’s Taube Center of Jewish Studies to create the curriculum for the new concentration.
"The promise of this initiative is that it will accelerate the examination of new and important subject matters, strengthen students’ educational experience, and ultimately enable us to infuse the field with talented educators whose collective good work will positively impact the world of Jewish education,” said Jim Joseph’s executive director, Chip Edelsberg.