Unfortunately, the end of World War II in Europe wasn't the end of antisemitism in America.

Framed portrait of Louis D. Brandeis“If we would guide by the light of reason, we must let our minds be bold.” — Louis D. Brandeis

The Allies’ victory over Nazi Germany was cause for celebration. But for Jews in America, the victory was bittersweet. Six million fellow Jews had been slaughtered. And the end of the war did not mean the end of antisemitism at home. American universities greeted Jewish applicants with closed doors rather than open arms. According to past Harvard President A. Lawrence Lowell, “Where Jews become numerous, they drive off other people.”

The times called for a radical undertaking, and a group of American Jewish clergy, academics, attorneys, and businessmen answered the call. In 1948, they founded Brandeis University. Infused with longstanding Jewish values rooted in their turbulent history, Brandeis was as much a movement as a university. It was the first and only non-sectarian university founded by the American Jewish community, established specifically to fight antisemitism, racism, and sexism.

Brandeis is also acclaimed for its academic excellence, a reflection of the Jews’ age-old reverence for learning.

No other university placed more emphasis on intellectual integrity and critical thinking, a key to success in whatever arena graduates choose to enter.

A hand holding a cellphone, on which reads the headline "Antisemitism is Rising at Colleges, and Jewish Students Are Facing HostilityThe unique combination of activism and scholarship explains the millions of dollars in external funding that Brandeis annually receives for research. It explains why Brandeis was invited into the leading association of research universities in the U.S. and Canada, the Association of American Universities, sooner than any other. It explains why just 13 years after its founding, Brandeis was granted a Phi Beta Kappa chapter (a distinction earned by fewer than ten percent of U.S. colleges and universities). Once again, it did so sooner than any other college or university.

As one might expect, Brandeis University’s success can in large part be credited to an exemplary faculty. From the beginning, seventy-five years ago, Brandeis welcomed students of all backgrounds and beliefs. It also welcomed, and continues to welcome, faculty of all backgrounds and beliefs. In 1948, Brandeis became a kind of homeland for Jewish scholars fleeing Europe. Among the eminent teachers and scholars, past and present, are internationally acclaimed composer and conductor, Leonard Bernstein; Pulitzer Prize winners David Hackett Fischer, Eileen McNamara, Yehudi Wyner, and Thomas Friedman; Nobel Prize winners Michael Rosbash, Jeffrey Hall, and alumnus Roderick MacKinnon; philosopher and political theorist Herbert Marcuse; historian and alumna Deborah Lipstadt; physicist Stanley Deser; astrophysicist John Wardle; Kavli Prize winner and alumna Eve Marder; and activist and scholar Pauli Murray. Former First Lady and social reformer Eleanor Roosevelt was an early trustee who played an important role in the decisions that shaped the university.

Nahum Saran with son, Jonathan, and other scholars

Nahum Sarna with son, Jonathan, and other esteemed scholars who pioneered Judaic Studies.

Unfortunately, we still haven’t seen the end of antisemitism in America, particularly on college campuses. But fortunately, there’s another thing we haven’t seen the end of: Brandeis University’s commitment to fight it.

View Full Print Ad