News Release

UM Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies Receives $1 Million Gift

MIAMI, January, 2013 —George Feldenkreis, member of the University of Miami Board of Trustees and prominent businessman, has made a $1 million gift to the UM Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies and the George Feldenkreis Judaic Studies Program in the College of Arts and Sciences. This significant Momentum2 campaign contribution builds on Feldenkreis's previous $2 million of support to both entities.

Founded in 2004 the Feldenkreis Judaic Studies Program is a broad, flexible, interdisciplinary program designed for undergraduates to gain an understanding of Jewish civilization and its diverse cultural experiences. The program, which is non-theological in orientation, is an academic exploration of the multi-faceted, socio-historical, 4,000-year record of the Jewish people. Courses highlight the variety of cultural, political, social, and religious experiences of Jews in different times and places, providing a strong foundation for advanced academic study, professional careers in a variety of fields, and a more complex and rich understanding of the world.

"My hope is that this additional gift will allow the Miller Center and the George Feldenkreis Program in Judaic Studies to continue to impart the wisdom and richness of Jewish culture and history and Jewish experiences through the ages,” Feldenkreis said.

Feldenkreis, chairman and CEO of Perry Ellis International, arrived in Miami from Havana, Cuba, in 1961, with his family and only $700. In 1967 he and his late brother founded Supreme International clothing company, which would evolve into Perry Ellis International in 1999. Feldenkreis strongly believes in philanthropy and feels that individuals who are financially successful have the obligation to support their community. The Feldenkreis family supports various organizations and groups, including the United Way, where Feldenkreis is a Million Dollar Roundtable member of United Way of Miami-Dade’s Tocqueville Society.

"We are, as always, very grateful to George Feldenkreis for his generosity and personal support of the Judaic Studies Program,” said Haim Shaked, director of the Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies. “Thanks to his ongoing personal commitment and keen interest in our academic work, we have been able to enrich the lives and academic experiences of more students and members of the UM and general communities than we ever thought possible.”

Feldenkreis, who joined the University of Miami Board of Trustees in 1997, has chaired its master planning committee and served on its executive committee. He also supports the College of Engineering, the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, and the Student-Athlete Scholarship Fund at UM.


UM Announces $1B
The Scharlin Patio of the Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies is graced by a quintet of imposing verdigris statues depicting Hasidic Jews. The center and the College of Arts and Sciences' Judaic Studies Program have received generous support from George Feldenkreis.