“All Together Separate”: How the Study Evolved

Ethnicity_v6By Leonard Saxe and Theodore Sasson

Our focus in “All Together Separate: Race, Ethnicity, and Religion on the Brandeis campus” was a single campus. It happens to be our home institution and, as the report acknowledges, has a unique history as the first and only nonsectarian Jewish-sponsored university in the country. Conducting research about one’s own environment has advantages and disadvantages. The obvious advantage is that we have abundant contextual information. But it is also a disadvantage—in Bayesian statistical terms, we have “priors.” In developing, analyzing, and reporting the study we tried to use our contextual information to create a more nuanced study, while also working hard to be as objective as possible.

A number of unanticipated findings shaped the report. First, the concern of our respondents, across racial and ethnic groups, about race and diversity issues on campus had not been fully appreciated. The negotiated end to recent student protests (#FordHall2015) did not settle the issues and, instead, seems to have brought them to the fore. A second significant finding was the notable increase in the diversity of Brandeis’s student population. Nearly half are now students of color and a large number are international students. Brandeis, which in the 1970s had an undergraduate student population of mostly Jewish students, now has a student body with about one third identifying as Jewish.

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A Fond Farewell


From l-r: Ariel Stein, Sarah Meyer, Viktoria Bedo

It’s time to bid a fond farewell to three research specialists, Ariel Stein, Sarah Meyer, and Viktoria Bedo, who are moving on to new adventures. Before they depart, we want to tell you a little more about them and what they have been up to.

Ariel Stein grew up in the Orthodox community of Baltimore, MD. He studied psychology and Jewish studies at the University of Pennsylvania. A former research specialist and college classmate of Ariel’s, Dina Bleckman, mentioned her work at CMJS and suggested he apply. While at CMJS, Ariel worked on a number of projects, in particular those focusing on program evaluation, Israel education, and young adults. Ariel notes he has gained professional skills in a number of areas: study and survey design, analysis, and interviewing. In addition to his work here, Ariel is also the co-creator and editor-in-chief of the Jewish Literary Journal. Ariel is moving with his fiancée to Los Angeles.

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