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The George Washington University to Bolster Israel Studies

A Professorship in Israel Studies, funded by a grant from The Morningstar Foundation, will be named after Rabbi Max Ticktin. (Ju
A Professorship in Israel Studies, funded by a grant from The Morningstar Foundation, will be named after Rabbi Max Ticktin. (Judy Licht)

Morningstar Foundation Grant Will Create Endowed Professorship Dedicated to Scholarship and Discourse of Modern Israel

September 22, 2015

Maralee Csellar: [email protected], 202-994-7564
Candace Smith: [email protected], 202-994-3566


WASHINGTON (Sept. 21, 2015)—A grant from The Morningstar Foundation, the family foundation of Susie and Michael Gelman, will help develop an Israel Studies component of the George Washington University’s Judaic Studies Program.

The grant will be used to establish and endow the Max Ticktin Professorship of Israel Studies in recognition of Rabbi Ticktin’s extraordinary contributions to GW, his scholarship related to Israel and his commitment to teaching.

As an assistant director of Hillel for more than a decade, Rabbi Ticktin recruited and helped train and guide a generation of Hillel directors. He continued to touch the lives of Jewish students after leaving Hillel for a career on the GW faculty. He recently retired from his post as a professor of Hebrew in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.   

"We are absolutely delighted to honor the legacy and impact on generations of students of our dear friend and beloved teacher, Max Ticktin, by establishing the Max Ticktin Professorship in Israel Studies. We are very excited to partner with the George Washington University in creating the cornerstone of what will be a significant academic enterprise that will strengthen the knowledge and understanding of the modern State of Israel, which is so important to Max and to our family," said Susie and Michael Gelman.

The professorship will promote the academic field of Israel studies by developing and engaging a strong community of scholars of Israel. The Ticktin Professor of Israel Studies will also train and mentor students to help foster a broad understanding of the history, politics, society and culture of modern Israel.

“It is no secret that Judaic studies is a vibrant field that offers much to our understanding of the modern and pre-modern worlds. GW's Judaic Studies Program has a strong foundation and curriculum taught by professors from a number of disciplines ranging across history, religion and classical languages,” said Ben Vinson, dean of the Columbian College of the Arts and Sciences (CCAS), the school that houses the Judaic Studies Program. “The addition of a dedicated professor who will advance the discourse and knowledge of the field will help us reach our goal of becoming one of the premier academic destinations for the study of Israel.”

Mrs. Gelman studied with Rabbi Ticktin for several years while taking non-degree classes in CCAS. Mr. Gelman was a founding partner of Gelman, Rosenberg & Freedman, a certified public accounting firm. For over thirty-five years, Susie and Michael Gelman have held numerous leadership positions in a wide variety of non-profit organizations in the Jewish and general communities locally, nationally and internationally.
In the heart of our nation’s capital with additional programs in Virginia, the George Washington University was created by an Act of Congress in 1821. Today, GW is the largest institution of higher education in the District of Columbia. The university offers comprehensive programs of undergraduate and graduate liberal arts study, as well as degree programs in medicine, public health, law, engineering, education, business and international affairs. Each year, GW enrolls a diverse population of undergraduate, graduate and professional students from across the country and around the world.