British actor Ralph Fiennes has negotiated a $50,000 donation from Steven Spielberg for a visiting lectureship in modern Jewish studies at Cambridge University.
Fiennes, who starred in Schindler's List, the Oscar-winning American director's film about the Holocaust, was approached by his uncle, Cambridge divinity don Nicholas Lash, about the Cambridge faculty's need for a specialist in Judaism. Professor Lash, who says he spends "more time fundraising than researching", said: "They became quite good friends during the filming of Schindler's List."
The money will come from the Righteous Persons Foundation, set up by Mr Spielberg to distribute the profits of the film about Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist who saved the lives of 1,100 Jews. It will be used to attract top Jewish scholars to talk about the Holocaust. Professor Lash said: "The benefaction is important because it means that the Cambridge divinity faculty will have lecturers on all the important religions of the world."
In January, Sussex University received $100,000 from Mr Spielberg for a new centre of German-Jewish studies.