Eran Kaplan to Endow Goldman Chair in Israel Studies

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

SF State's Department of Jewish Studies has appointed Eran Kaplan the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Professor in Israel Studies. Currently an Israel Studies lecturer at Princeton University, Kaplan will join the SF State faculty in August as an associate professor of Jewish studies.

The author of "Jewish Radical Right: Revisionist Zionism and Its Ideological Legacy" and co-editor of "From Settlement to Statehood: The Origins of Israel 1882-1949," Kaplan's scholarly focus is in Zionist political ideology and post-Zionist thought as well as the history of Israel and Israeli culture. His current research focuses on the post-Zionist debates in their historical, social and cultural context. In addition to Princeton, he has taught at Boston University, University of Toronto and University of Cincinnati. "The addition of Dr. Kaplan to the Jewish studies faculty represents a quantum leap for the department, whose curriculum will now include a dedicated Israel studies component with courses taught by a specialist," said Fred Astren, chair of the Department of Jewish Studies. "His presence on campus will be a major contribution to student learning and will bring a new voice to on-campus conversations about Israel and the contemporary Middle East." At SF State, Kaplan will expand the department's existing expertise in Jewish literature, pre-modern Jewish history and American Jewish history, while also contributing to scholarly conversations across the University in such departments as political science, history, international relations and Middle East and Islamic studies.

"I'm very grateful for this opportunity to help build a thriving Israel studies program at SF State," said Kaplan. "I hope to show students how to move past the black and white of the issues involving Israel and invite them to apply what they learn to other global issues." Kaplan said that he is impressed by SF State's commitment to community service, the collegiality among faculty and the fertile and energetic campus environment.

Kaplan earned a baccalaureate in history and philosophy at Tel Aviv University and a Ph.D. in comparative history at Brandeis University. The endowed Richard and Rhoda Goldman Chair in Israel Studies was established with a $3.75 million gift from the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund in 2008. A portion of this supported the reorganization of Jewish Studies into a university department. In 1997 the Fund established the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Chair in Jewish Studies and Social Responsibility with a $1 million gift followed by an additional $500,000 gift last year to augment this endowment.

Since its establishment in 1951 by San Francisco philanthropists and civic leaders Richard and Rhoda Goldman, the Goldman Fund has contributed more than a half-billion dollars to a variety of charitable causes in San Francisco, as well as nationally and internationally. The Fund supports programs that focus on improving the quality of life in the San Francisco Bay Area, the environment and Jewish affairs. Founded as a program in 1993, the SF State Department of Jewish Studies is a unique, freestanding academic department devoted to the history, culture, contributions and religion of the Jewish people. It attracts a diverse group of students from many racial and ethnic backgrounds, including participants in the University's community outreach programs. The department offers a bachelors degree in modern Jewish studies, a minor in Jewish studies and a certificate in Jewish service learning.