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Columbia's long and illustrious history as a leader in Israel and Jewish studies has contributed enormously to the explosion of those fields around the country. Many of our graduates have gone on to become preeminent professors in universities around the world – and to found Jewish Studies programs and institutes of their own. Gratifying as this is, it ensures that we cannot afford to rest on our laurels; we need to redouble our efforts and energies to maintain our preeminent position in the field.
Additionally, with interest in Jewish and Israel Studies reaching new heights in and out of the university, now is the time for the Institute to expand its efforts to serve as a home for intellectual conversation and education outside of the classroom as well as in, both for Columbia's undergraduate body and for its "broad community" – alumni and parents.
Columbia University is situated in the center of New York City, one of the largest Jewish Communities worldwide. As the academic hub of this strong community, over the next decade, we plan to build on the Institute's past successes to take bold steps to substantially increase the Institute's activities, reach, and profile. While we are currently within the top ten we would like to provide the tools to put Israel and Jewish Studies at Columbia University squarely within the top three programs in the United States. It is time to take stock and ensure that the university's new Institute of Israel and Jewish Studies can retain – and strengthen – its preeminence in the field.