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Shalem College and The Asper Foundation Announce the Establishment of The Asper Center for Zionist Education

press release, Jan 3, 2022

 

The Asper Foundation, one of Canada’s largest private foundations and a leading force in Jewish and general philanthropy in both Canada and Israel, has partnered with Shalem College in Jerusalem to establish the multi-faceted Asper Center for Zionist Education. Designed to respond to both need and opportunity, the center will provide a scalable academic platform for meaningful engagement with Zionist thought and history.

In its initial phase, the center will comprise four components: an Asper Chair in Zionist Studies, to be held initially by the Agnon Prize-winning novelist and scholar of Hebrew literature Dr. Assaf Inbari; specially designed courses in Zionist history and thought; an English-language video series on Israeli history by Shalem Senior Vice President and public intellectual Dr. Daniel Gordis; and the “Israel Story,” a joint project of Shalem College and The Asper Foundation, currently in its fourth year. The project, which brings authors of foundational works of Hebrew literature to campus to explore aspects of the Israeli experience, has featured, among others, Israel Prize winner A.B. Yehoshua, Booker Prize winner David Grossman, Brenner Prize winner Meir Shalev, and Prime Minister’s Prize winner Sayed Kashua.

The Asper Chair and The Asper Center for Zionist Education will be launched with an inaugural lecture by Dr. Assaf Inbari on January 10 at Shalem College. The lecture will explore the fascinating role of the festival of Tu B’shvat in the thought of Israel’s founders.

Gail Asper, president and trustee of The Asper Foundation, said: “My mother and father and our entire family have always wanted all Jews, especially Israelis, to learn the story of their state in a compelling way that encourages questions, gives space for concerns but ultimately ensures engaged citizenship. The Israel Story program does that, and The Asper Center for Zionist Education at Shalem College will expand on that program’s impact dramatically.”

Russ Roberts, president of Shalem College, states: “We are honored to partner with The Asper Foundation in preparing a generation of leaders for Israel who are conversant in the ideas that animated their country’s history. Now, with the establishment of The Asper Center for Zionist Education, we can enhance our students’ educational experience further and extend the influence of the ideas developed within our community to the wider Israeli public and Jews around the world.”

THE ASPER FOUNDATION

Israel Asper, O.C., O.M., Q.C., L.L.D. (1932 – 2003) and Babs Asper (1933 – 2011) believed that philanthropy is a driving force behind positive change in people’s quality of life. For this reason, they formed The Asper Foundation in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in 1983 to build on their and the Asper family’s philanthropic objectives. The Asper Foundation develops major projects and provides general support to the Jewish community while also advancing the broader community in areas of culture, education, community development, and human rights on a local, national and international scale. 

 

SHALEM COLLEGE

Shalem College is an elite undergraduate institution of higher education established in Jerusalem in 2013. The first institution in Israel to offer a Core Curriculum in the great ideas of the Western and Jewish traditions, Shalem prepares a cadre of leading citizens dedicated to lives of influence and service, and to advancing the Jewish and democratic character of their state.

 
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.


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