UCR to Celebrate Maimonides Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies

Michael Alexander to lecture on Jewish studies in the 21st century on Jan. 11

Michael Alexander

Michael S. Alexander holds the Maimonides Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies at UCR.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The University of California, Riverside will celebrate the establishment of the Maimonides Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies and the appointment of Michael S. Alexander, UCR associate professor of religious studies, as the inaugural chair with a lecture and reception on Jan. 11, 2016.

Alexander will discuss “Jewish Studies in the 21st Century” and address some recent trends in the study of Judaism and Jewry, such as LGBT religious and social leadership, Jews of color, insights of population genetics, genocide studies, and Jewry and innovation. A question-and-answer period will follow. The event is scheduled from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Alumni and Visitors Center, 3701 Canyon Crest Drive. The event is free and open to the public. Reservations are requested by Jan. 4 as seating is limited and may be made online. Parking is free in Lot 24.

The Maimonides Chair was established in 2014 with support from nearly three dozen individuals, foundations and organizations to fund research and other activities aimed at fostering better understanding of Judaism and the history and heritage of Jewish people. The chair is named for Moses Maimonides, a Spanish Sephardic Jew born in Córdoba, Spain, in 1135, who was a rabbi, scholar, philosopher, astronomer and physician in medieval Spain and Egypt. The chair also will support research and publication in Jewish studies, Israel studies, and related areas of religion and ethnicity

In addition to hosting a lecture series in Jewish studies, which typically brings several speakers to campus each year, the chair will also implement two new programs to encourage UCR student research and creative work.

The Jewry and Innovation Research Grant will support projects such as technical, scientific, medical, agricultural, economic, political, pedagogic, social, or cultural innovation. The Genocide Studies Prize will be awarded for work related to the understanding of genocide as defined by the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and United Nations General Assembly Resolution 260. Student research will be published on a forthcoming Jewish Studies website.

Alexander joined the UCR faculty in 2008. He holds a Ph.D. in religious studies from Yale University and a B.A. in Oriental studies from the University of Pennsylvania. He taught previously at the University of Oklahoma and Temple University, where he also served as director of the Feinstein Center for American Jewish History. At UCR he is affiliated with the Institute for the Study of Immigrant Religions.

The Jewish studies scholar received a National Jewish Book Award for his first book, “Jazz Age Jews” (Princeton University Press, 2001). Among his other publications are “Golda and the Court Jew: Golda Meir, Henry Kissinger, and the Personas They Denied,” in “Gender and Jewish History” (Indiana University Press, 2010), “The Meaning of American Jewish History” in Jewish Quarterly Review (Summer 2006), and “Exile and Alienation in America” in American Jewish History (June 2002). He is at work on a new book, “Paths of Joy: Adventures in Religion and Therapy.”

Media Contact


Tel: (951) 827-7847
E-mail: bettye.miller@ucr.edu
Twitter: bettyemiller

Additional Contacts

Michael Alexander
E-mail: michael.alexander@ucr.edu

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