Comedy writer/producer Michael Ross donated $4 million to endow an academic chair in Yiddish language and culture at UCLA.
The gift from Ross and his wife, Irene, will provide support for an “outstanding scholar of Yiddish culture,” the university’s Center for Jewish Studies announced. It also will provide for faculty and graduate student research, academic conferences and lectures for the public.
In April, City College of New York announced that Ross was donating $10 million to create a center for Jewish Studies. Ross is a graduate of the school.
Born Isidore Rovinsky, he grew up in a Yiddish-speaking home that he said was permeated by “the essence of Yiddishkeit.”
In the 1970s he was an Emmy Award-winning writer and executive producer for the groundbreaking and highly successful sitcoms “All in the Family,” “The Jeffersons” and “Three’s Company.”
Yiddish has been taught at the University of California, Los Angeles for 30 years.
The Ross gift “will allow us to move forward to our goal of becoming a center of international distinction in Jewish and Yiddish studies,” said David Myers, the director of the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies.