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Yale Gets $1.6 Million in Gifts for Its New Judaic Studies Program

February 17, 1981
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Yale University has received $1.6 million in special gifts to support its new Judaic studies program, which is designed to cover the broad spectrum of Jewish history and culture, it was announced by the university. The gifts initiate a major campaign by a national development committee to raise more than $6 million for Judaic studies as an interdisciplinary program in the undergraduate College and the Graduate School.

Co-chairmen of the committee appointed by President A. Bartlett Giamatti are Geoffrey Hartman, Karl Young Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Yale, and William Horowitz, former chairman of the Connecticut State Board of Education and a retired Fellow of the Yale Corporation (University Board of Trustees).

The committee is composed of educators, clergy, business and professional leaders. The funds raised will provide endowment for faculty appointments on junior and senior levels, fellowships and other student support, strengthening of Yale’s Judaica collection, considered to be one of the finest in America, and for enhancing the Judaica series of scholarly publications of the Yale University Press, a university spokesman said.

An associated project is the establishment in the university library of an historical archive covering the 1933-1945 period in Europe in cooperation with the Holocaust Survivors Film, Inc., a New Haven community group which plans to deposit videotaped testimonies of Holocaust survivors in the archive.


According to the university, three gifts constitute the bulk of the $1.6 million received thus far: $1 million from an anonymous donor to endow a Professorship in the History of Judaism; $300,000 from Robert Weis to fund a teaching position in Biblical Studies. Weis, a graduate of Yale in 1941, is vice president, treasurer and director of Weis Markets, Inc., of Sunbury, Pennsylvania. He is also a member of the National Development Committee; $200,000 in a bequest from Mrs. Leo Links to support scholarships in Judaic Studies. The late Leo Links came to New Haven from Austria and attended Yale with scholarship aid, graduating in 1907.

Planning for the new program began in 1978 and the Judaic studies major for undergraduates officially began this past fall with a ceremony at which Elie Wiesel, the noted novelist and scholar, delivered the inaugural lecture.

The new program builds on considerable University resources: Scholars on the faculty; a rare and extensive Judaica collection; and some 40 courses related to Jewish culture and history available in various departments and the Divinity School. Having coordinated these resources, the new program is now moving ahead to an expanded teaching and research agenda, the university spokesman said.

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