Brandeis University has received a pledge of $15 million to create a center devoted to Israel's history, language, culture and society.
The gift was the largest ever from the 20-year-old Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation. Brandeis intends to raise an equal amount of money from other donors to create a $30 million endowment for the center by 2015.
The center, to be named the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, will educate graduate-level students about Israel, including its history, economy, educational system, language, culture and arts, sociology, demographics and politics.
Brandeis already has the Crown Center for Middle East Studies, along with endowed professorships in Israel Studies and modern Hebrew literature. Brandeis also co-sponsors (with Israel's Ben-Gurion University) the Israel Studies journal, which is published three times a year.
Charles Schusterman founded the Samson Investment Company, one of the 20 largest independent oil and gas companies in the country. The foundation named for Schusterman and his wife, based in Tulsa, Okla., reported having $94.2 million in assets in 2005.