History

by CJS Admin

1988

Laurence Weinstein, president of the UW System Board of Regents, and history professor George Mosse meet with UW–Madison Chancellor Donna Shalala to discuss the establishment of a Jewish Studies program. At that time, UW–Madison was the only major American university without a program in Jewish Studies.

1989

January: A group of faculty interested in Jewish Students meets to discuss a draft statement prepared by Mosse. Professors Gilead Morahg (Hebrew and Semitic Studies) and Kenneth Sachs (History) agree to lead faculty group to carry idea forward.

February: A formal proposal for the establishment of a Center for Jewish Studies is delivered to Chancellor Shalala, with signatures of 21 faculty members from 13 departments.

March: The establishment of a Center for Jewish Studies is approved by Chancellor Shalala, the Academic Planning Committee, University Academic Council, David Ward (Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs) and Don Crawford (Dean of Letters and Science). However, it becomes clear that private funds are needed to establish the Center.

1990

Laurence Weinstein meets with Timothy Reilley, Senior Vice President of the UW Foundation. Weinstein agrees to endow the Frances and Laurence Weinstein Professorship in Jewish Studies, the Center’s first endowed chair.

1991

The Center is formally established in the fall semester, with Gilead Morahg as acting director.

1992

David Sorkin is named Weinstein professor and director of the Center.

1993

A Course Incentive Grant initiates the development of new Jewish Studies courses.

1994

The Center for Jewish Studies Board of Visitors meets for the first time.

An undergraduate Certificate in Jewish Studies is approved, with the first certificates awarded in 1995.

1996

“Russian Jewish Artists in a Century  of Change, 1890-1900,” an exhibition organized by The Jewish Museum in NYC, is presented at Elvehjem Museum of Art in conjunction with the Center for Jewish Studies.

1997

“Anonymous” professorship in American Jewish History endowed. In 2001, George Mosse is revealed as the donor, and the professorship is renamed the Mosse Professorship in American Jewish History.

1998

Professorship in Classical Judaism endowed by Burt and Geraldyn Belzer.

1999

Professor Daniel Pekarsky (School of Education) begins new program to train Jewish educators.

Professorship in Education and Jewish Studies is endowed by Michael and Judith Goodman.

2000

The Center for Jewish Studies is officially named the Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies.

Suzanne Rosenblith becomes the first Laurence Weinstein Distinguished Graduate Fellow.

UW Board of Regents approves the Jewish Studies major.

The inaugural CJS Adult Summer Institute, a brainchild of UW–Madison alumnus and Board member Larry Greenfield, takes place with the theme “Jewish Identity in Twentieth-Century Literature.” The Institute is later renamed the Greenfield Summer Institute, underwritten by Larry and Ros Greenfield.

2001

BA degree in Jewish Studies is offered to UW undergraduates, with an option of specializing in Jewish Studies and Education.

2002

Six UW students travel to Cuba with CJS director Bob Skloot.

Bud Meyerhoff endows professorship in Israel Studies.

Marv and Mildred Conney establish the Conney fund for the support of Jewish Arts.

2004

Bill and Marjorie Coleman establish Coleman Undergraduate Learning Enhancement Fund to provide students with unique learning opportunities outside of the classroom and create dialogue between students and professors.

A gift from Elizabeth Kahn Mellon, on behalf of the Kahn Family Trust, enables the Center to host visiting lecturers.

UW Press begins publishing books with Center’s imprint. The first title to appear, supported by gift from Fran Weinstein in memory of Laurence Weinstein, is Nils Roemer’s Jewish Scholarship and Culture in Nineteenth-Century Germany. In 2006, UW Press publishes: Refuge Denied: The St. Louis Passengers and the Holocaust, by Sarah A. Ogilvie and Scott Miller.

With funds from Arnie Paster and the Coleman Undergraduate Learning Enhancement Fund, Bob Skloot travels with eight UW students to the Jewish community of Cordoba, Argentina.

UW becomes first of Big Ten schools to reopen its Jerusalem study abroad program at Hebrew University.

Inaugural Conney Colloquium on Jewish Arts: “Experimental Jews: Protecting Jewish Identity in the New Millennium.” The one-day colloquium is expanded to a week-long conference in 2007.

2005

Coleman fund sponsors student trips to Izmir, Turkey, the UW Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and the Lower East Side.

2006

Establishment of two new student scholarships: the Lipton Graduate Student Research Scholarship (established by the Weinstein family) and the Mazursky Student Support Fund (established by Charles and Gayle Mazursky).

First Weinstein Family Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Jewish Studies awarded to Katje Vehlow (History).

Coleman fund sponsors student trip to the Lower East Side.

2007

First biennial Conney Project on Jewish Arts Conference: “ Practicing Jews: Art, Identity and Culture.”

First Summer Institute in Education and Jewish Studies runs concurrently with Greenfield Summer Institute. Organized by Goodman professor Simone Schweber, the Institute’s theme is “Teaching about Israel.”

2009

Henry Sapoznik comes to UW as Arts Institute Interdisciplinary Artist in Residence and brings KlezKamp Road Show to Madison.

2010

Establishment of the Mayrent Institute for Yiddish Culture with $1 million endowment from Sherry Mayrent and Carol Master; Henry Sapoznik hired as director of the Institute.

“What’s a Coastie?” panel features CJS and other UW scholars addressing regionalism at UW Madison.

2011

First Madison KlezKamp runs concurrently with Greenfield Summer Institute.

Establishment of student Yiddish Culture Club.

Establishment of Jewish Studies Graduate Student Organization.