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YIVO Receives Largest Single Gift in Its History:
Bequest of Mickey Ross Yields $4.5 Million

PRESS NEWS: For immediate release
Ella Levine, YIVO Director of Development
YIVO Institute for Jewish Research
15 West 16th Street - New York - NY - 10011
tel. (212) 294-6128

YIVO Receives Largest Single Gift in Its History:
Bequest of Mickey Ross Yields $4.5 Million

(New York City – January 7, 2010)
The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research is pleased to announce that it has received a gift of approximately $4.5 million from the estate of Michael (Mickey) Ross, an award-winning television writer who was first generation son of Jewish immigrant parents. The initial bequest will be supplemented by periodic residual payments from the estate. YIVO shares the estate with the National Yiddish Book Center and the Los Angeles Jewish Foundation.

"This bequest comes at a critical time for us," said Jonathan Brent, YIVO's new executive director and CEO. "It will bolster our endowment and help ensure that YIVO will continue its work of preserving the legacy of East European Jewish history and culture."

Michael (Mickey) Ross, born Isidore Rovinsky in 1919 in New York City, was an Emmy Award-winning writer and part of the team that created television shows like “All in the Family” (along with Norman Lear), “The Jeffersons,” and “Three’s Company” during the 1970s and 1980s. Other television shows he penned include “The Martha Raye Show” and “The Gary Moore Show” in the 1950s. Ross said of himself: "I was born of immigrant parents. I loved their attitude, their ways, their morals. I don't want to see that lost."

"This timely gift will enable us to plan more innovative programs and initiatives in the near future, including scholarly conferences on topics ranging from 'The History of the Shtetl' and 'The Jews and the Left', ‘Eastern European Jewish Emigration to America,’ to 'Sholem Aleichem and Other Early Twentieth Century Jewish Writers' and 'The History of YIVO'," Brent noted.

The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, founded in 1925 in what is now Vilnius, Lithuania, is dedicated to the study of the history and culture of Ashkenazic Jewry and its continuing influence in the Americas. Headquartered in New York City since 1940, today YIVO is a preeminent global resource center for East European Jewish Studies; Yiddish language, literature, and folklore; and the American Jewish immigrant experience. The YIVO Library holds over 385,000 volumes; the Archives holds more than 22 million archival pieces. YIVO offers a series of varied cultural events and lectures, Yiddish language classes, fellowships, scholarly publications, and research opportunities.

For more information on YIVO and our many activities, please visit us online at