College of Humanities

Michael Ross, generous supporter of the Jewish Studies Program at CSUN, dies but will not be forgotten.

Michael Ross

Michael Ross

Michael “Mickey” Ross will be known to American cultural history as the writer of “All in the Family,”a popular sitcom that revolutionized TV in the 1970s by humorously but realistically depicting the prejudices and social practices of the day. He also wrote and produced “The Jeffersons,” which focused on an upper middle-class African-American family, and “Three’s Company,” a farcical depiction of three roommates that spoofed American sexual mores.

But at CSUN, Mickey Ross will be remembered as the Jewish Studies Program’s generous supporter. In 1992, when Mickey heard of the drastic cuts that imperiled the fledgling Jewish Studies Program, he stepped forward with financial assistance. For the next two years, his gifts paid the salaries of part-time instructors who were teaching vital courses. When that financial crisis was over, Mickey continued to provide assistance that was used for guest speakers, student scholarships, pedagogical tools such as maps and slides, and library resources. Having secure funding allowed the Jewish Studies Program to develop new courses and reach out to the community.

Mickey was a gracious, witty, and intelligent man. Born in 1919 in New York City, he grew up in a Yiddish-speaking household that he once said was permeated by “the essence of Yiddishkeit” – the Jewish way of life. Mickey was not a religious man, but he had a strong sense of ethical values. He was proud of Jewish culture and was especially fond of Yiddish literature. He endowed UCLA and NYU with professorships in Yiddish language and literature. Mickey was quite informed about politics and community needs, and he gave generously to friends and to SOVA, the food pantry of the Los Angeles Jewish community. He and his wife Irene were devoted to their pet cats and had many loyal friends from diverse backgrounds.

The Jewish Studies Program at CSUN was blessed by Mickey’s generosity and respect. As the beneficiary of low-cost public higher education himself, he knew how important it is for the promotion of cultural sensitivity, creativity, and the economic health of society.

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