January 20, 2022

Honoring our History: Transforming Unique Collections Highlighting Social Justice

The Brandeis National Committee has existed to support Brandeis University in fulfilling its founding principles of access, inclusivity, and tolerance since 1948. In conjunction with President Ron Liebowitz’s Framework for Our Future, the Honoring our History campaign will support these founding principles by digitizing a selection of the Brandeis Library’s unique collections highlighting social justice.

These special collections, including the Leo Frank Trial Collection, the Helmut Hirsch Collectionthe Jewish Resistance Collectionthe Jewish Feminism Collectionthe Spitzer Family Papers, and the University Photography Collection, provide insight into the narratives of 20th century men and women living in a time of overt antisemitism, racism, and institutionalized sexism. These issues are problems that we still struggle to address today. The importance of providing global access to these narratives that highlight the fight for inclusivity and tolerance cannot be understated.

The digitization of the Brandeis Library’s unique collections is not as simple as making them available online. This campaign will support the entire process of digitization, which includes ensuring the discoverability of these narratives outside of the Brandeis community and enabling forms of digital scholarship that can be used in schools and in research internationally.  These unique collections, much like the narratives found within them, deserve to not only exist, but to be remembered, shared, and appreciated.

Congratulations Somerset chapter!

Dear Somerset chapter,

It is my honor to formally recognize your chapter for outstanding efforts in virtual programming. When the pandemic started and our in-person programs came to a pause, your chapter was swift in getting onboard with virtual programs and events. I want to congratulate you on your efforts in putting together these events! We hope to see many more virtual events from you in the future. Your chapter stands as an example to other chapters. Please find attached your special presidential commendation and share with your chapter board, you earned it!

Wish warm regards,

Madalyn Friedberg
National President, Brandeis National Committee

The new January-April, 2020 bulletin is here!

The bulletin for January-April, 2020 has just arrived.

To view it click here: January-April, 2020

From Immediate Chapter Past President Judy Dorfman, NEC Member

From October 9–11, I was honored to attend my first official National Executive Committee (NEC) meetings on the beautiful campus of Brandeis University. The NEC is tasked with recommending and providing policy for the chapters. All policy decisions must be approved by the university Board.

BNC is a fundraising arm of Brandeis University. Our project for this year is to raise $500,000 for the purchase of a 2-photon resonance microscope

which will allow its users to view brain activity in real time and take the next step in researching neurodegenerative diseases. We had a powerful presentation from Professor Steve Van Hooser, who will be in charge of its use. To date we have received pledges and funding of $250,000.  It is up to us to work more creatively and harder to raise the funds before the end of June 2019. Proceeds from all our chapter events this year will be earmarked for Magnify the Mind. Our chapter financial and membership goals will remain at the same level as last year.

We were treated to an exhibition on campus called “Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music,” which is currently on display.

Brandeis has always been concerned about the environment. Its newest residence hall, called the Skylight building,

is the “greenest” building on campus. From heating to lighting to accessibility to students with various limitations, it is a unique and environmentally conscious structure. We were able to visit it and learn about and better understand the principles on which it was built. Fascinating and illuminating!

National is very anxious to connect more closely with the local chapters. We are currently in the second year of a partnering project. Each NEC member is assigned a chapter with which to partner. It is hoped that through direct interaction, this mutually beneficial arrangement will help the local chapters function even better while giving the NEC an up-to-date assessment of their status and how we can serve them better. My partner chapter is in Rancho Bernardo, CA.

Much business was discussed and several delicious meals were eaten together with the dedicated and friendly BNC staff, remarkable student ambassadors, and my new colleagues on the NEC.


Left to right: Judy Kendall Levine from Gotham Chapter in NYC, Judy Dorfman, and Judy Levine from Phoenix Chapter.

Beth Bernstein exec director, Merle Carrus Board member & Madalyn Friedberg National President.

I am very honored to represent the Somerset chapter and the chapters of the state of NJ on the National level. Thank you for all the love and support you have shown me. I will continue to work hard to achieve the goals of BNC in this new position.

Judy Dorfman

Update on Giving Circle family



Our fall donations to our new Giving Circle family were delivered in two parts: before
school opened and after our October 15 “closing date.” All were received with much
appreciation. The clothing for the boys were a perfect fit. Following the delivery of the
early fall donations to facilitate “back to school needs” we received a warm “thank
you” letter from our family’s JFS social worker. (The letter has been edited to protect
the confidentiality of the family):

Dear Members of Brandeis National Committee, Somerset Chapter:
I wanted to express the deep gratitude we are feeling here at Jewish Family Service when you found
it in your heart to be a Giving Circle for M… and her family. M—— was so grateful when K—— (her
JFS family mentor), delivered your gifts to her. She received 3 bags of clothing and other donations.
She was able to provide her children with all the necessary school supplies.
M—— wasn’t able to write a card herself but asked us multiple times to send you pictures of the
boys’ first day of school. She was so thankful for your generous giving. M— and K—— have been
focusing their time ensuring that her boys are starting off in the right direction for them to have a
successful school year. With your help, they have new backpacks and they are ready to learn!
Warm Regards,
Young-In Shin, LSW
Family Mentor Program Coordinator

Thank you for making Family Day extra special!

A “thank you” letter from the Center for Great Expectations.
To read click here: “thank you” letter

“Good News and a Thank You” from Jewish Family Service


Good News and a Thank You

We received good news and a warm “thank you” from Jewish Family Service’s (JFS) social worker for the recent Spring and Summer support Somerset BNC members provided to our Giving Circle family, Lauren and her young boys.

JFS advised us that they are now able to close our Giving Circle family’s case, explaining Lauren has achieved “stability in employment, housing and child care. Her oldest son, ….will be enrolled in public school full time. The twins will be home for another year receiving early intervention services for their developmental delays. Lauren continues to take courses to complete her teaching certification. Life is not without daily challenges but we believe that Lauren is equipped.”

Lauren and the boys have been part of JFS’s Family Mentor Program for two years (although the program is designed to provide support for a year with goals of empowering and strengthening families.) JFS will stay in contact, but will be able to provide services to a waiting family. The Committee hopes to work with JFS in selecting another family to sponsor.

A Thank you letter from the Center for Great Expectations


A Thank you letter from the Director of Community Relations, Noreen:


Yet another Brandeis PhD wins Pulitzer Prize in History

Jack E. Davis, PhD’94, has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize in History for his 2017 book “The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea.” Davis is the third Brandeis PhD recipient to win a Pulitzer Prize in History since 2006.

In announcing the prizewinners on April 16, the Pulitzer Prize board described the “The Gulf” as “an important environmental history of the Gulf of Mexico that brings crucial attention to Earth’s 10th-largest body of water, one of the planet’s most diverse and productive marine ecosystems.”

Read more here: Pulitzer Prize in History for the book “The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea.”

BNC Microscope Campaign Announced

We are excited to announce that our new BNC campaign, Magnify the Mind, will officially launch on July 1, 2018.

The new campaign will further the advancement of neuroscience research through the purchase of a two-photon microscope. This new microscope will enable Brandeis researchers to observe brain activity in real time allowing our scientists to make new discoveries toward the treatment of brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, and autism.

We sincerely hope you will designate all your fundraising events and activities for this exciting campaign in FY19 to purchase a $500,000 resonant scanning two-photon microscope. Please share this at your board meetings, with chapter leaders and with incoming presidents.

New BNC campaign, Magnify the Mind

More details will be coming soon and please note the one-year campaign will launch on July 1st.

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