31 May 2009

Los Angeles: UCLA Yiddish studies benefactor dies

The Los Angeles Times published the obituary of TV writer-producer Michael Ross, 89, who endowed a UCLA academic chair in Yiddish language and culture. He died May 26.
Born Isidore Rovinsky in 1919 in New York City, he grew up in a Yiddish-speaking household that he once said was permeated by "the essence of Yiddishkeit," or Jewish way of life.

After his wife died in 2000, he had no heirs and decided to give most of his fortune to Jewish causes.

Last year, Ross donated $4 million to UCLA to endow an academic chair in Yiddish language and culture. He gave an additional $10 million to his alma mater, the City College of New York, to create Jewish studies programs and establish another Yiddish chair.

David N. Myers, director of the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies, called the gift "nothing short of transformative," one that "allows us to do a number of really extraordinary things, beginning with the development of a first-rate program in Yiddish studies.
Since 1992, he had also donated to Cal State Northridge's Jewish studies program.

He explained his interest in Jewish culture: "I was born of immigrant parents. I loved their attitude, their ways, their morals. I don't want to see that lost."

He was involved in such shows as "All in the Family," "The Jeffersons" and "Three's Company."

Read more at the link above.

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