An interdisciplinary initiative aimed at expanding and diversifying Jewish and Israel studies at the University of California, Berkeley, will soon open.

Prof. Kenneth Bamberger, the director of the new Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israeli Law, Economy and Society, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that the program reflects “a flourishing of Jewish legal studies in US law schools and a national surge in the academic study of Israel.

“Funded by a $750,000 seed gift from The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, the institute is guided by 15 faculty member from across campus in diverse disciplines including economics, business, political science, history, sociology and Jewish studies,” Bamberger said. “The intent is to take lots of individual resources and create an institutional home to expand and broaden this course and issues on campus. The institute is a campus-wide institute; its home is in the law school, but it’s run with 15 faculties across campus including business, sociology and science.”

Bamberger said the initiative, which among other things will bring Israeli lecturers to teach at the university and hold conferences on Israel’s thriving IT sector, received an “overwhelmingly” positive response at the university, which is home to many pro-Palestinian student groups. Former Supreme Court justice Dalia Dorner will take part in a ceremony on April 6 marking the official opening of the institute.

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