July 5, 2020

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.

Social Justice Committee Reports on JFS Giving Circle Project

Fall /Winter 2017

Through the generosity of our members, in late October we fulfilled the Fall/Winter Wish List of
our Jewish Family Services (JFS) Giving Circle family. As you know, our family consists of a
single mom, twin boys who are now two years old, and their four-year- old brother, who is on the
autistic spectrum. The family is enrolled in the Family Mentoring Program of Jewish Family
Services of Somerset, Warren, and Hunterdon Counties.

The JFS social worker said Mom was so grateful and excited when she delivered our donations,
which included clothes for her boys and herself, toys, art supplies, and two costume jackets for

Through our generosity, the family will have the necessities they need for the winter
season. The social worker said, “This summer was particularly difficult for the family, Mother
lost her job and was stressed not knowing how she would provide for her family. She
worked very hard and successfully to get another job that is better than her previous one.“

 As JFS shared in a “Thank You” letter, “Even though there have been difficult times, Brandeis
has been a reminder of kindness and generosity for the L.W. family. JFS appreciates  your
(Brandeis’s) consideration … in making this donation  through Jewish Family Services.”


A “Thank you” letter from Interfaith Hospitality Network

(On Tuesday, October 17, chapter members made dinner for the homeless who are in the Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) program. They were housed at the Middlebush Reformed Church (MRC) here in Somerset. This letter comes from church member Sallye Poff.)

I want to thank you and your wonderful ladies for the absolutely elegant banquet you all prepared for the IHN folks on Tuesday evening.  I only wish you could have seen how much they enjoyed it.  Christina, the intern, joined them for dinner and was delighted to be part of such a special evening meal.  It was so great of you all to volunteer your time and labor to us for MRC’s IHN week.  You know that it’s sometimes difficult to cover all the evenings needed, so you really helped us complete what we needed for the week.

Please convey our gratitude to the ladies and let them know how their delicious food was so completely utilized.  They took leftovers from dinner into the center the next day for everyone.  I spoke with Karen in the morning and she was just amazed at the quality and quantity of your offerings.  The muffins were a big hit, and I even left them a note for that morning so they would remember to take them.  They have been a good and very appreciative group, and we all hope and pray for good things to happen in their lives.

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