Giving to the Michael and Elaine Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel

The Serling Institute offers a number of opportunities for targeted contributions and also welcomes discussion about creating new endowments. Our current priorities are to raise funds for the Farber Family Endowed Chair in Holocaust Studies and European Jewish History, to raise funds for the Waltzer Faculty Development Fund, and for the Jewish Studies Endowment. The Serling Visiting Israeli Scholar Fund to help partner with units on campus to bring in visiting Israeli scholars, thus extending our faculty resources and course offerings. We are also interested to expand scholarship and internship endowments for students who seek to study in Israel. Existing endowments are below. Gifts are also welcome as undesignated gifts — to Michigan State University’s Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel. For more information about giving to our Institute, please contact Christine Radtke, Sr. Director of Development,; 517.353.4725.

Farber Family Endowed Chair in Holocaust Studies and European Jewish History

The Audrey and William Farber Family Endowed Chair in Holocaust Studies and European Jewish History was established in 2015 with a lead gift from the Audrey and William Farber Family Foundation of Franklin, Michigan in the amount of $1.5 million and matching gifts totaling $500,000. Its first occupant, Dr. Amy Simon, was hired in 2016 to fill this position. She teaches in MSU’s renowned James Madison College and in the Department of History. This is also a new core position in the Serling Institute. This is one of only 20 such positions in the United States. In order to make this position viable for many generations to come, we are seeking additional support between $500,000 and $1 million. All funds for this position are invested in an endowment that generates approximately 5% per year to be used for salary, benefits and research support. In order to retain the current faculty holding this position, and enable her salary to keep up with promotions, we are asking your help to make sure that future generations of MSU students have the opportunity to learn from the lessons of the Holocaust. Interested donors with the capacity and passion to help can pay off a pledge of $10,000, $50,000, $100,000, $200,000 or any other amount over a three to five year period. Please contact us if this appeals to you.

Jewish Studies Discretionary (Gift) Fund

This fund enables the Serling Institute to hire staff assistance and pay for operating expenses

Jewish Studies Endowment

This fund allows the Serling Institute to host speakers and sponsor symposiums and conferences

James and Anna Hersh Scholarship for Student Internships in Israel

This fund, donated in loving memory of James and Anna Hersh by their children, supports Jewish Studies minors at Michigan State University wishing to intern in Israel. The James and Anna Hersh Scholarship for Student Internships in Israel currently offers $2,500 to qualified students for internships in Israel.

Michael and Elaine Serling and Friends Fund for Chair in Israel Studies 

Michael and Elaine Serling and friends created an endowed fund for a position in Israel Studies, which has been filled since 2006. The endowment is in Jewish Studies and the position is sited in James Madison College. The position is held by Associate Professor Yael Aronoff. We continue to raise additional money for this fund to cover all benefits as well as salary and to increase research and travel assistance to the occupant. We continue to raise additional money for this fund to cover the increased salary and benefits of the faculty as she was promoted to associate professor from assistant professor.

Michael and Elaine Serling Israeli Culture Fund

This fund supports programming at MSU on subjects related to Israeli history, politics, society, language, and culture.  With support from this fund, Jewish Studies offers an annual Modern Israel lecture, offers students and the community Israeli films and lectures, including an annual Israeli film festival and visiting film directors, and occasional visitor short courses on subjects related to Israel.

David and Sarah Rabin Fund for Holocaust Lecture

The late Professor Emeritus Al Rabin and Bea Rabin established this fund to honor their parents, David and Sarah Rabin, and to provide for an annual Holocaust lecture. The Rabin lecture serves as the centerpiece of annual Holocaust commemoration and study at Michigan State University. The Rabin lecture has been offered each spring for more than twenty years and has drawn some of the top scholars in Holocaust studies, including historians, literature scholars, filmmakers, and creative artists.

Stanley and Selma Hollander Fund for Jewish Arts and Music

This fund provided by Selma Hollander and in memory of Professor Emeritus Stanley Hollander supports programming annually related to the Jewish arts and music, including support for an annual lecture or performance.

Julie and Ed Levy Jr. Scholarship for Student Leaders Studying in Israel

This fund donated by industrialist Ed Levy Jr. supports student leaders at Michigan State University studying in Israel.  The Levy Scholarship currently offers $3000 for summer study, and $4500 for the semester or $6000 for academic year study to qualified students for study in Israel.

Ed and Dot Slade Scholarship for Study in Israel

This fund donated by alumnus Ed Slade supports students at Michigan State University with an athletic background for study in Israel. The Slade scholarship currently offers $1500 for summer study to qualified students for study in Israel.

Serling Visiting Israeli Scholar Endowment

This fund supports efforts by the Serling Institute to partner with other academic units at MSU to bring in visiting Israeli scholars to strengthen our faculty resources and expand course offerings in Jewish Studies.

Kenneth Waltzer Jewish Studies Faculty Professional Development and Enrichment Fund

This fund, when completed, will support faculty professional development in Jewish Studies, including travel to professional meetings, travel to archives, travel to do research and interviews, and participation in special programs.

Fund for Yiddish Language and Culture

Established by an anonymous donor, the Fund for Yiddish Language and Culture promotes knowledge and pleasure in the Yiddish language and culture. With support from the fund, Jewish Studies offers students and the community one or more programs on subjects related to Yiddish language and culture annually.

Additional Serling Institute Opportunities for new endowments that can be paid over 5 years:

Student Internship Fund (starting at $100,000/payable over 5 years).

This endowment will allow the Serling Institute to provide on campus internship opportunities for students in the Institute. The Serling Institute interns will assist with lectures (attending/recording), in the advertisement of events, and working with the program director on other endeavors of the Institute.


Israeli Visiting Professorship ($250,000/payable over 5 years). 

This endowment will allow the Serling Institute to bring scholars from Israel to MSU.  Visiting professors contribute to and enrich MSU’s intellectual and research endeavors and international projection.  Visiting professors – such as Alon Tal and Harry Yukela – come to MSU to teach, lecture and further research on Israeli topics. They also are able to make connections between MSU and Israeli universities, and be hubs for further collaborations between the broader MSU community and Israel. We are unable to fully pay for them from our current endowment for Visiting Scholars. This additional endowment would enable us to keep inviting them, as well as additional Israeli visitors in units across the university.


Directorship of the Serling Institute ($2,000,000 payable over 5 years)

Pays for salary and expenses for the Director of the Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel, which is crucial to its operations, vibrance, and growth. The Institute Director is charged with establishing goals and objectives for the Institute; facilitating a close interaction of faculty, students, and community members; strengthening and supporting undergraduate education at MSU through offering courses, the Institute minor, research, study abroad, and internship opportunities; recruiting visiting Israeli scholars to teach courses that count for Institute minor credit; and planning co-curricular events for students, faculty, and community members that engages the interdisciplinary study of the history, cultures, language(s), identities, and religion of the Jewish people.