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2009.02.05 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: wtownley@unomaha.edu

New UNO Center to Focus on Judaism, Israel

Omaha - A new center on Judaism and Israel studies has opened at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO).

The Natan and Hannah Schwalb Center for Israel and Jewish Studies, housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, will offer a variety of courses and bring renowned scholars from Israel and around the world to UNO beginning later this year.

In addition to UNO students, faculty and staff, the center will also be accessible to the Omaha community. It is hoped that the center will also provide expertise to interpret world events as they impact Jews, Israel and the Middle East.

“UNO is joining other prestigious universities with centers that focus on Israel and Judaism. It is exciting to be part of the new Schwalb Center, and I hope that students will take the opportunity to benefit from the center's offering,” said Dr. Guy Matalon, UNO Religious Studies. “Without the vision and support of Natan and Hannah, this would not have taken place. Thanks to the Schwalbs and other valuable donors, UNO can provide excellent learning possibilities for our students, faculty and the community at large.”

Natan and Hannah Schwalb of Omaha helped fund the center’s development at UNO. Natan is a UNO graduate; he and his wife have been longtime supporters of UNO projects.

“The creation of this center brings together American and Israeli scholars to research, discuss and teach about Israel and Judaic history, politics, culture and society,” said UNO Chancellor John Christensen. “We are pleased to provide this latest step forward in our mission to prepare our students to face the challenges of a new global era.”

Core components of the center will include coursework, professorships, visiting professors, analysis, a lecture series, as well as Israel travel scholarships and travel grants.

Additional partners include UNO’s Religious Studies and History Departments; UNO’s Bethsaida Excavation Project; the Jewish Federation of Omaha; the Center for Jewish Education; the Dorothy K. and Meyer S. Kripke Jewish Federation Library; the Sokolof Grandchildren Charitable Foundation; and the University of Nebraska Foundation.

The Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education approved the new center on Jan. 22.

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UNO is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The celebration recognizes the partnership among the City of Omaha, its citizens and UNO to build a vibrant and dynamic community. The centennial theme is “UNO: Central To Our City Since 1908.” This theme acknowledges the past contributions of UNO to the community and sets the stage for great things to come.

UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908. For Centennial information, go to http://www.unomaha.edu/100/.

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