Chancellor Kim Wilcox created the Maimonides Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies in the summer of 2015 for the purpose of assuring the presence of Jewish Studies on the UCR campus in perpetuity. The chair was created with the support of a team of university benefactors including Pamela and Mark Rubin, Andrea and Moshe Silagi, and Cheryl and Robert Fey. Professor Michael Alexander was inducted as the first chair in the winter of 2016.
The endowment of a chair in Jewish Studies demonstrates UC Riverside’s commitment to Jewish thought and culture in the life of the university. Named for Rabbi Moses Maimonides, a Spanish Sephardic Jew born in Cordoba, Spain, in 1135, the Maimonides Chair was established in 2015 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.
Michael Alexander, associate professor of religious studies and the first scholar appointed to the chair, told supporters at the Alumni and Visitors Center that he was “humbled to have been chosen by my colleagues to represent the long and complicated sets of traditions carried forward by Jews. These Jewish perspectives are somehow both world-weary and yet simultaneously idealistic. The group has been around a long time and has seen a lot. The endowing of a chair in Jewish Studies says of these people, ‘Please, come with your experiences, come with your wisdom and with your mistakes, and offer your views in our 21st century conversation.”
- Read Professor Alexander's inaugural speech: "Jewish Studies in the 21st Century"
- Read the UCR Today story about the ceremony
- Read an interview with Professor Michael Alexander