UCR religious studies professor Michael Alexander has been named the first Maimonides Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies at UCR. The chair will support seminars, conferences, student fellowships, research and publications in areas regarding Judaism, Israel and related areas of race and ethnicity.

Alexander formerly served as the director of the Feinstein Center for American Jewish History, in addition to writing numerous publications, such as “Jazz Age Jews,” which won the National Jewish Book Award in 2001. The chair is named after Moses Maimonides a philosopher, physician and Sephardic Jew who lived in 12th century Cordoba Spain.

The chair was recently established in 2014 by over 30 individuals and organizations who created the chair with a $500,000 endowment. This is the third endowed chair in the department after the Sikh and Punjabi studies and the Holstein Family and Community Endowed Chair.

“Following the mission of UCR to encourage our diverse student population, the chair will take special care to help foster interdenominational and interethnic dialogue and understanding,” Alexander stated in a press release.