An Evolving Legacy for Israeli Society Wednesday, May 26, 2010
The Mogulof Family Chair in Social Policy is inaugurated
Robert Goldfarb, Milly Mogulof, David Mogulof, Mel Mogulof, Dan Mogulof and Beth Uffner
With three generations of Mogulofs in attendance, American Friends Melvin and Milly Mogulof of Berkeley, California, inaugurated a very special chair at Tel Aviv University's Bob Shapell School of Social Work on May 9, 2010.
The Mogulof Family Chair in Social Policy, created to advance social policy research and practice at TAU and promote sound welfare policies in Israeli society at large, will be the first chair established in the School of Social Work. Its inauguration was part of the university's annual Board of Governors international meeting program.
"It's a unique legacy for learning," says American Friends of Tel Aviv University's national chairman William Cohen, "and that makes it a very special chair for us. Mel and Milly have created a new paradigm in giving — they've funded half of this chair while they are young, so that its direction can be shaped by their expertise, then bequeathed the remainder after they're gone."
Family members at the well-attended ceremony included Milly and Mel's son Dan Mogulof, their grandson David, Milly's brother Robert Goldfarb, and their sister-in-law Beth Uffner. Students from the School of Social Work and Tel Aviv University faculty members packed the hall to hear Mel Mogulof speak about his passion for social policy.
Philanthropy informed by experience
Prof. Tammie Ronen with Milly and Mel Mogulof
Tammie Ronen, head of the School's Renata Adler Memorial Research Center for Child Welfare and Protection said social policy is a significant part of the Tel Aviv University curriculum. "We are happy to have the chance to know Melvin and Milly, who are also our colleagues," she said. "Both have degrees and abilities in the field of social work."
Mel's is from Brandeis University, and Milly's degree is from the University of Pennsylvania. Both Mogulofs are passionate about social change, evident throughout their careers in public service, and have published papers in the field.
A Fulbright scholar who has taught both at the National Institute for Social Work Training in London and at Hebrew University, Mel Mogulof is a long-time supporter of Israel's academic institutions and non-governmental organizations. As both an academic and an advisor in social work and social policy, he is deeply concerned about the future health of the Diaspora and looks to Israel to serve as the protector of Jewish identity for centuries to come.
"Good social policy is the glue that holds society together, and which helps care for those in the margin," he said at the ceremony. "A great number of graduates from this school will go on to work for the government, making Tel Aviv University a primary location for dealing with the marginalized in the Israeli community."
Mogulof has played a part in U.S. social policy as well — as a staff member of the President's Committee on Juvenile Delinquency under President Kennedy, West Coast Director of the Community Action Program and the West Coast Model Cities Program under President Johnson, and Director of the Social Programs Task Force under President Nixon's "President's Advisory Committee on Executive Organization." For five years, he was a Senior Research Associate at the Urban Institute, specializing in issues of regional governance, and is a past director of the East Bay Jewish Federation.
An auspicious launch
Prof. Noah Lewin-Epstein, dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at Tel Aviv University, noted that the inauguration of the Mogulof Family Chair corresponded to Israel's acceptance into the prestigious 31-member economic forum, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. "This gives Israel the stamp of approval as a developed country, yet we still need to match our social policies and services to those in Israel's high-tech industries and other fields."
Prof. Lewin-Epstein praised the Mogulofs as important scholars in their own right, and mentioned their deep commitment to Israeli institutions. "We hope to keep your spirit alive, and that we meet your expectations," he said.
Prof. Idit Weiss-Gal
Prof. Idit Weiss-Gal spoke about contemporary trends in the Israeli welfare state, which she explained has "roots in the pre-state period of the British mandate." She noted the significance of Israel's welfare state as a change agent, saying her role as an educator is to push every student to apply social policy practice in their work.
"This welfare state has been surprisingly resilient, yet one-fifth of all Israeli families live below the poverty line." With the new Mogulof Family Chair, she said, "we endeavor to understand the workings of a welfare state and apply this knowledge in Israel."
Prof. Rivka Savaya, head of the Bob Shapell School of Social Work, expressed her gratitude for the chair and noted the importance of the project to the school's curricula, and Rector Danny Leviathan looked back with admiration at Melvin's impressive career, numerous publications and books, and work in the real world. "We are proud to associate with you, Melvin and Milly," he said.