McGill’s Dept. of Jewish Studies receives $1 million gift

Published: 5 June 2012

Transformative gift from the estate of Simon Flegg will help establish postdoctoral fellowships

McGill University and its Department of Jewish Studies have received a generous $1 million gift from the estate of Simon and Ethel Flegg. The gift will be used to support postdoctoral fellowships as well as an exciting education initiative in partnership with McGill Hillel.

Simon Flegg escaped Nazi Germany in 1938 and became a successful businessman in Canada. Together with his wife, Ethel, the Fleggs were dedicated supporters of the educational life in the Jewish community, focused on the preservation of its rich heritage and culture.

"The Faculty of Arts is grateful for the support of the Flegg estate in enhancing this intellectually dynamic department by permitting it to attract leading young scholars and strengthening its ties to the community through a partnership with Hillel.  It is a fitting gift as we approach the 45th anniversary of the Department of Jewish Studies," said Christopher Manfredi, Dean of the Faculty of Arts.

"This wonderful gift will have a significant impact on our department and on the field of Jewish studies”, said Eric Caplan, Chair of Jewish Studies and Director of the Jewish Teacher Training Program, “McGill will benefit from the presence of top notch, energetic, new scholars. Our students, both undergraduate and graduate, will be exposed to the work of these postdocs through the courses they will teach while we professors will have new colleagues to partner with, to learn from, and to mentor”.

The gift includes funding to support a new partnership with McGill Hillel, giving students the opportunity to further enrich their studies with parallel experiential learning opportunities offered through Hillel.

The Department of Jewish Studies, established in 1968, offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of Judaica. It is unique in Canada and has a stellar reputation for teaching and research. The Department also offers a teacher training program for Jewish schools, in collaboration with the Faculty of Education. Students have an opportunity to explore Jewish Studies within seven broad areas: Biblical Studies, East European Studies, Jewish History, Jewish Thought, Language and Literature, Modern Jewish Studies, and Rabbinic Studies.

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