The Center for Jewish Studies at UWM has moved to the newly renovated Greene Memorial Museum building and is now the Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies. The historic campus building was remodeled with the help of a $2 million donation from the Baye Foundation in 2009. At the time, the gift was the largest the foundation had ever made, as well as the single largest gift ever made to the College of Letters and Science, which houses the center.
The Center for Jewish Studies, formerly located in a two-room suite in Curtin Hall, was created in 1997 and supports a multidisciplinary undergraduate major and minor in Jewish Studies. Students receive instruction in Jewish history, art, religion and literature, and Hebrew. The center also offers conferences, workshops and free public lectures featuring nationally known scholars.
The restored building at 3367 N. Downer Ave. that is now home to the center was designed by noted Milwaukee architect Alexander C. Eschweiler in 1913, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Until 1992, it housed a small geology museum. After the museum’s collection of rocks and minerals was relocated to a display in UWM’s Lapham Hall, the building was used for storage.
The center was renamed for the parents of Pearl Berkowitz, trustee of the Baye Foundation. At the time the donation was announced, Berkowitz said her parents set an example through their support for Jewish learning, and noted the opportunities the Stahl Center would provide for future generations of students, teachers and the community.