Toronto: Fund created for Jewish studies

Thanks to professor Hindy Najman, the University of Toronto Centre for Jewish Studies is expanding to the tune of $36 million. The money will be raised with two campaigns and the help of Ken Tanenbaum.

Last month the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and the university agreed on a $15-million endowment fund at the Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto for the new centre. The university has also taken on its own ambitious goal of raising $18 million.

The fund is said to be a larger campaign for the faculty of arts and science. It will be used for eight new faculty positions at the Centre for Jewish Studies, which will be filled within the next three years.

The Jewish Studies Centre has been around since 1967 and is heavily supported by the Tanenbaum family. Ken Tanenbaum, a third-generation philanthropist, immediately felt captivated by Najman’s vision for the future of Jewish studies at U of T. The Tanenbaums will be giving a $5-million gift to support this dream.

The $15-million fund and $3-million from the Tanenbaums will be used to support students financially, fund new programs for the university and community and carry day-to-day operations.

Today there are 65 faculty members and 2,300 enrolled students in Jewish Studies courses. (Interestingly, about 60% of those students are not Jewish).

According to The Canadian Jewish News, Tanenbaum said that U of T, with its student population of 72,000, is “a beacon of multiculturalism and pluralism… We believe that this collaborative model has great potential to build understanding across the university…”

This is a great step for Toronto Jewish community as it continues to solidify its growing presence.