June 7, 2023

Event: His & Hers 3-Hour AIA Boat Tour – June 14

Join BNC Gotham on a boat trip around Manhattan, led by an American Institute of Architects guide, who will educate us on landmarks, icons, architecture, and engineering masterpieces of the city. This three hour trip will be both educational and fun as we cruise in style in a vintage, 1920s-style yacht around the island. Drinks and small snacks will be provided and we will be free to walk around the deck to take in the views.

This trip leaves at 1:30 from Pier 62 at the Chelsea Piers and returns at 4:30

Event: Yeshiva University Museum Tour – April 25th

Join BNC Gotham on April 25th for a tour of the Yeshiva University Museum. This museum, in connection to the University, is a celebration of Jewish work and accomplishments throughout history and around the world. The collection of 10,000 artifacts, exhibitions, programs, and installations attempt to capture the cultural, intellectual and artistic achievements of the Jewish people spanning 5,00 years. Exhibits feature fine art, folk art, clothing, textiles, ceremonial and ritual objects, historically significant documents, letters, photographs, and other objects of quotidian and significant events.

The museum is composed of four galleries, an outdoor sculpture garden, a children’s studio workshop, and a discovery center. As a teaching museum, in concert with Yeshiva University, it provides unique opportunities and programs for research and learning.

Following our tour we will have lunch together at Serenata.

Please see the bulletin for more details and directions.

Event: Good Housekeeping Institute Tour – April 13th

Come explore the behind-the-scenes of Good Housekeeping on this tour of the Institute. Good Housekeeping, a health, life, and style magazine, is backed by the Good Housekeeping Institute where products are reviewed and tested. On our tour we will visit the labs, meet the experts, and learn about the testing and reviewing process.

Good Housekeeping was started in 1900 with the goal of providing it’s reader’s with the best information to create a happy healthy life. Before there were the food and safety regulations we enjoy today, there was Good Housekeeping. It was warning its readers about dangerous preservatives in food products and lead levels in children’s toys long before any legislation was in place. Truly a institution ahead of its time, Good Housekeeping went beyond product testing to advise readers on lifestyle and health choices, such exercise and diet instead of weight loss pills and installing seat belts in cars. The Institute’s findings helped create the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Food and Drug Administration, among other safety standards.

After the tour we will enjoy a lunch at a local restaurant together. Please see the Bulletin for further information.

Event: His & Hers NY Museum of Jewish Heritage Tour – March 22nd

Join us on this educational event on March 22nd. We will be touring the Core Exhibition of the NY Museum of Jewish Heritage in its entirety. Lead by a docent, we will explore the three floors the exhibit which includes Jewish Life a Century Ago, The War Against the Jews, and Jewish Renewal. The museum’s goal is to educate visitors of all background about Jewish heritage and life before, during, and after the Holocaust. Though it is a living memorial to the Holocaust, the museum makes a point of presenting life before and after,  proclaiming that the Jewish people are not defined solely by atrocity.

The museum covers from the 1880s to present day and features 800 artifacts and 2,000 photographs in the core exhibit alone. Other temporary exhibits will also be on view.

See the Bulletin for further details and directions.

Event: Alexander Hamilton US Custom House Tour – March 8th

BNC Gotham invites you to join us on this tour of the Alexander Hamilton US Custom House and the following luncheon. Come explore this beautiful, historic building and learn about its past as the duty collections point for the port of New York. Currently serving as the host of the National Museum of the American Indian on the first three floors, this seven story structure is a magnificent example of American Beaux Art design. Envisioned by Cass Gilbert, and completed in 1907, the building was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1972. The inside is just as stunning as the exterior, complete with columns, statues, marble, and hand painted murals. This trip includes a visit to the Collector’s Office with woodwork from Tiffany Studios. This event is a must for architect enthusiasts and history buffs.

Following the Custom House we will take lunch at a restaurant in the area.

Please see the bulletin for further details.

Thanks and the Nobel Prize

From December 6th to the 12th, Nobel laureates from around the world gathered in Sweden to receive their awards. During the week known as Nobel Week, winners attended dinners, ceremonies, and concerts in their honor. They met Swedish royalty, delivered lectures to be broadcast across the globe, and received their Nobel medals and diplomas as VIP guests of the Swedish government. Swept up in the excitement were Michael Rosbash and Jeff Hall, biologists from the Brandeis community.

Rosbash, currently a professor in Brandeis’ biology department, and Hall, a professor emeritus of biology, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Michael Young of Rockefeller University. While winning the most prestigious prize in the world and the various perks that come with it (such as a personal attaché, first-class trip to Sweden, and intellectual celebrity status) is exciting, it is far from the main reason for Rosbash and Hall’s work. Their discovery of the fundamental workings of the circadian rhythm have far reaching implications, especially in the medical world. The circadian rhythm, also known as the body clock, has connections to many bodily functions including sleep cycles, hormone balances, enzyme production, body temperature, and metabolism. This internal clock is also connected to several neurodegenerative diseases. Studies have linked chronic sleep disorders with higher levels of proteins associated with Alzheimer’s, while Parkinson’s is often marked by sleep disorders. Three quarters of patients with Parkinson’s disease have a sleep disorder and disordered sleeping may be an early indicator of the disease. It is necessary to understand the body’s underlying workings in order to develop targeted treatments. Foundational research like Rosbash and Hall’s is critical for advancing medical knowledge.

As the scientific and medical communities, and the world acknowledge the significance of Rosbash and Hall’s discovery, the two biologists recognize Brandeis University’s role in their research as a whole. Not only was Brandeis the place they met, but its collaborative, intellectual environment and financial support allowed them to perform critical research. In a time when pharmaceutical companies rely heavily on research coming out of universities; government funding for scientific research is more competitive than ever; and research in flashier, more profitable areas is more attractive; Brandeis provides a haven for an exploratory approach to the base questions, without which we can never fully answer the bigger questions. Brandeis University’s attention to foundational research and specialization in neuroscience fosters an environment of research and discovery for both faculty and students. Cognizant of the costs of research, the University provides financial support in the form of grants, fellowships, and scholarships, allowing minds like Roshash and Hall’s to stretch and push the limits of conventional science.

We must also recognize the role the Brandeis National Committee plays in Brandeis’ science. Through funding campaigns, and general support for the libraries and scientific journals, BNC members ensure Brandeis scientists have access to the resources and stability necessary to perform quality work. The Sustaining the Mind Fund for research in neuroscience and neurodegenerative diseases and scholarships in science specifically targets the needs of Brandeis’ science departments. Without the generous support of BNC members research into these diseases and progress towards their treatment and cure would be significantly slowed, and the future less secure. So in addition to congratulating Michael Rosbash and Jeffrey Hall on their Nobel Prize, the Brandeis community and the Brandeis National Committee would like to recognize the role our members play and extend our thanks for your support in this meaningful discovery.

Special Event: Professor Sarna at The Jewish Center, NYC – October 27th and 28th

Brandeis University invites you to a special event in New York City on October 27th and 28th. Join us at the Jewish Center’s Centennial Celebration that features Shabbat programming and The May and Samuel Rudin Lecture Series. The series’ speaker is Brandeis’ very own Dr. Jonathan Sarna, a professor in Brandeis’ Near Eastern and Judaic Studies department.

Friday Night Lecture and Oneg: The Immigration Clause that Changed American Orthodoxy

Shabbat Morning Public Lecture: 1917: The Year that Changed American Orthodoxy

Seudah Shlishit: A Historian’s Perspective on the Future of Modern Orthodoxy

Further details can be found on the Jewish Center’s website.

Brandeis News: Brandeis Professors Win Nobel Prize

Left to right: Michael Rosbash and Jeffrey C. Hall. Photo by Mark Lovett.

On October 2nd the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Michael Rosbash, Jeffrey Hall, and Michael Young for their research on circadian rhythms. This year’s award is especially exciting as Rosbash and Hall share a history of teaching and research in Brandeis’ biology department in addition to being the first long-term Brandeis faculty to win the Nobel Prize. Rosbash, whose research continues in the labs of the Carl J. Shapiro Science Center, is a current professor at Brandeis while Hall has retired to Maine. Young is currently on the faculty of Rockefeller University.

Rosbash and Hall met at Brandeis in the 1970s striking up a friendship over basketball. This friendship evolved into a working partnership in the biology labs researching circadian rhythms using fruit flies as a model organism. The work that won them the Nobel Prize was the discovery of molecular mechanisms that control the circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm, colloquially known as the biological clock or body clock, is the 24-hour physiological cycle that regulates certain internal processes. It plays a role in when we go to sleep, wake up, and feel hungry, as well as hormone balances and other brain activity. In 1984, Rosbash and Hall successfully sequenced the per gene which led to discovering its control over PER protein production. The per gene triggers the production of messenger RNA (mRNA) which carries information out of the cell nucleus. The information from the mRNA triggers PER protein production which peaks just before dawn and then declines until the protein is undetectable by night time. PER protein molecules then travel back into the nucleus, repress their own synthesis, and degrade. The decay causes the per gene to make mRNA, beginning the cycle over. The process was a mystery until Rosbash and Hall came along and connected the dots. Understanding the mechanisms behind the circadian rhythm has opened the door to a host of possible applications. Some mental illnesses, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and diabetes have been linked to issues with the circadian rhythm. Rosbash and Hall’s work could potentially lead to better treatments for these diseases as well as applications in plant science and environmental science.

Both men commented on Brandeis’ unusually collaborative atmosphere which allowed for such scientific innovation. The school’s small size and interdisciplinary values encourage interaction between departments resulting in collaborations drawing from many sources. Rosbash also acknowledged the hard work, creativity, and brains of Brandeis students in his work, undergraduate as well as graduate. Brandeis students of all levels often have the opportunity to work alongside professors on ground-breaking research, a chance students at many other schools only get at the graduate level. Rosbash, who regularly hires around 12 students a year, is known around the lab as a wonderful mentor with a knack for fostering talent.

The Brandeis National Committee would like to congratulate Michael Rosbash and Jeffrey Hall on their win, and warmly thank our members for your continued support of Brandeis, its libraries, sciences, and scholarships. Your support makes it possible for students to learn from the great minds of today, such as Rosbash and Hall, and work towards the solutions of the future.

Read more about the professors in Brandeis NOW.

Read the Nobel Prize press release.

Event: Book and Author Luncheon – October 30th

Mark it on your calendars! Join us on October 30th at the Yale Club for our Annual Book and Author Luncheon! This year we will be welcoming three authors to talk to us about three of their books, in which they examine different facets and the resiliency of human nature.

A.O. Scott, a New York Times film critic and writer for the New York Times Magazine and Book Review, explores the necessity and instinct to criticize in his book Better Living Through Criticism. In this book Scott reveals the nature of and motivations behind criticism as well as the role it plays in creativity. Through humor and cutting insight Scott takes us on a ride through the human psyche.

Lesley Stahl, award-winning TV journalist and co-editor of 60 Minutes, explores the trials and joys of grandmotherhood in Becoming Grandma: The Joys and Science of the New Grandparenting. Her book explores an incredibly personal journey that is sure to strike close to home for many of us. Through personal experience and interviews Stahl pinpoints the aspects of grandparents that are so transformative.

Min Jin Lee, prize-winning novelist and lawyer, takes us on a multi-generational ride in her novel Pachinko. In this book, through the story starting in Korea in the early 1900s, Lee paints a picture of human struggle, triumph, faith and identity as one family is swept along through the river of history. Through this saga, we see the grit and resiliency of mankind as we hold onto those important to us.

Help us welcome these authors in appreciation of their works while supporting Brandeis University. All proceeds from this event will go towards BNC. Invitations will be sent out soon and more details can be found in the Bulletin.

Event: Opening Membership Brunch – September 6

Come kick off the BNC year with us and bring a friend! Join us on September 6th for our “Brandeis and You” opening Membership Brunch. Reconnect with good friends and introduce the chapter to some new ones! Prospective members can come meet the chapter, learn about what we do for Brandeis University, learn about what programming we offer our members, and BNC’s history.

Our speaker for this brunch will be Rabbi Deborah R. Prinz about her book On the Chocolate Trail. In her book Prinz takes us around the globe examining the historically religious connections chocolate has to both Judaism and other religions. The book is an adventure through history, culture, countries, and beliefs, drawing from Prinz’s travels sure to enchant chocolate lovers from all walks of life.

Don’t forget to send in your reservation as soon as possible! More details can be found in the Bulletin.

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