Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Supporting Foundation Announces $1.5 Million Gift to John Carroll University for Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies

The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Supporting Foundation is pleased to announce a $1.5 million gift to John Carroll University to establish an endowed chair in Jewish Studies in the Theology and Religious Studies Department.

The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Chair in Jewish Studies is also supported by a $1 million gift from The Milton and Tamar Maltz Family Foundation and a very generous lead gift from JCU alumna Norma Geller, an early advocate of the University’s efforts to create the opportunity.
John Carroll University is now poised to become a center for interreligious engagement around the three great Abrahamic traditions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, following the establishment of the Jack and Mary Jane Breen Chair in Catholic Systematic Theology in 2011, the Bediuzzaman Said Nursi Chair in Islamic Studies in 2003, and the Walter and Mary Tuohy Chair of lnterreligious Studies in 1966 – the first chair of ecumenism ever established at an American Jesuit college or university.

“We are so grateful to the Mandel Foundation, the Maltz Family Foundation, and Norma Geller for investing in the ‘Inspired Futures’ of John Carroll University’s students through the Jewish Studies endowment,” said Alan R. Miciak, Ph.D., president of John Carroll University. “As a Jesuit Catholic institution, we welcome people of all faiths and worldviews. Our proximity to and engagement with Cleveland’s Jewish community, combined with the strength of our Theology and Religious Studies department, provides a natural gathering spot for the interreligious scholarship and dialogue that is so vital in our region.”

The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Chair in Jewish Studies will support a full-time faculty member who will:

• Further develop the Jewish Studies curriculum
• Advance scholarship in Jewish Studies through research and publication
• Collaborate with the Theology and Religious Studies department, Campus Ministry, the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion (CSDI), and other campus partners to promote interreligious understanding and opportunity
• Develop both short- and long-term options for John Carroll students to visit and study in Israel
• Coordinate public lectures, panels, and other programming on subjects relating to Jewish Studies and contemporary issues of interest to the Jewish community
• Foster connections with local and regional Jewish communities by partnering with area synagogues and Jewish day schools
• Support new undergraduate and graduate programs in Jewish Studies and interfaith engagement

Dr. Jehuda Reinharz, President and CEO of the Mandel Foundation, added, “The Mandel brothers were committed to Jewish learning and understood the significance of interreligious engagement. Establishing an Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies will secure a permanent presence for the study of Jews, Judaism, and Israel at the University. Our hope is that this will foster conversations that move us beyond misunderstanding and towards a shared concern for the common good.”