Jewish Education Gets $5.25 Million Boost from the Mandel Foundations

The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation has awarded a $5.25 million gift to Brandeis to fund a newly endowed faculty chair and strengthen the programming at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education. The foundation has a legacy of supporting Brandeis faculty and students, and encouraging the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge, particularly in the liberal arts and Jewish education.

The gift was announced during a ceremony to dedicate the auditorium at the Mandel Center for the Humanities in honor of Barbara Mandel, P’73, Morton’s wife and a Brandeis trustee since 2005. More than 100 members of the Brandeis community attended the event, including students, faculty, senior administrators and trustees.

“Barbara Mandel’s devotion to Brandeis, her distinguished service on the Board of Trustees and its executive committee, and her wide range of philanthropic experience are invaluable to the university,” President Frederick Lawrence says. “Her understanding of the value of the liberal arts and generous counsel to several presidents have helped make Brandeis an outstanding institution. She is a valued member of the Brandeis community.”

The latest Mandel Foundation gift to Brandeis establishes the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Professorship in Jewish Education Research, complementing two other similarly named chairs in Jewish education (held by professor Sharon Feiman-Nemser) and Jewish educational thought (held by professor Jon Levisohn) at the Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education.

Since its establishment at Brandeis in 2002, the Mandel Center has generated new knowledge and ideas, and designed innovative tools and frameworks that have helped transform the world of Jewish education. The center has pioneered research on the teaching and understanding of classical Jewish texts in a wide range of settings, as well as new models of professional education for Jewish educators.

“We are profoundly grateful for the ongoing support of the Mandel Foundation, and the warm and deep partnership that has characterized our relationship for more than a decade,” Feiman-Nemser says. “Looking ahead, we believe the new faculty chair reinforces Brandeis as the premier home for serious scholarship in Jewish education in the service of a more vibrant and dynamic Jewish future.”

In its three years of existence, the Mandel Foundation’s other major philanthropic focus at Brandeis, the Mandel Center for the Humanities, has quickly established itself as a hub of academic activity. The center has deepened humanities scholarship at Brandeis through new curricular and research activities while strengthening students’ knowledge and critical thinking across multiple disciplines.

mandel photo

Perry Traquina ’78, chair of the Board of Trustees; President Frederick Lawrence; Trustee Barbara Mandel, P’73; Morton Mandel, P’73; and Jehuda Reinharz, PhD’72, Brandeis president emeritus and president of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation, cut the ribbon at the dedication of the Mandel Center for the Humanities auditorium. (Photo by Mike Lovett)

Lopater Gift Greatly Expands University's Scholarship Reach

Thanks to one of the largest scholarship gifts in Brandeis history, generations of students will benefit from the generosity of Hans and Mavis Lopater.

Brandeis undergraduates with a declared interest in English, American literature, history, European cultural studies, social sciences, psychology or women’s studies will be eligible to receive need-based support through the newly established Hans and Mavis Lopater Scholarship Fund.

“The Lopaters were warm, kind people who identified strongly with the mission and history of Brandeis University,” says Nancy Winship, P’10, P’13, senior vice president of institutional advancement. “They cared deeply about our students, and they wanted to ensure that Brandeis would continue to educate the most promising students without regard to financial need.”

Hans, a Holocaust survivor who died in 2010, served as vice president of marketing research at Gillette for many years and worked as a corporate consultant.

“We are overwhelmed by the generosity of Hans and Mavis, and thrilled that their legacies will live on through the Lopater Scholars,” says Myles Weisenberg ’78, vice president of development.

Hans, a Brandeis Fellow, and Mavis generously supported the university for many years through gifts to the Annual Fund, the Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry and the music program. They were also charter members of the Sachar Legacy Society, composed of people who have included the university in their estate plans.

Nancy Winship, P’10, P’13
Nancy Winship, P’10, P’13

Promises Kept

President Frederick Lawrence is traveling the world for Brandeis.

He recently met with students, alumni, parents and friends in India, Korea and China as he works to enhance the university’s global presence and ensure that Brandeis continues to provide a world-class education for international students.

I often accompany the president on his travels, and I marvel at how deeply he connects with our alumni and friends. They appreciate his friendliness, authenticity, intellect and deep affection for Brandeis.

Alumni have enthusiastically responded to President Lawrence’s call for our graduates to become more involved stewards of Brandeis. More than ever before, alumni are participating in Reunions and Alumni Association events, connecting with fellow alumni in person and online, and making gifts to the university to help today’s students.

We will need the support of our alumni and friends as we implement Fulfilling the Promise: The Brandeis University Strategic Plan. Securing gifts for endowed faculty chairs as well as student scholarships and fellowships will be crucial to the success of the plan.

At no time during my 20 years as the university’s senior vice president of institutional advancement have I felt so confident about Brandeis’ future. With your help, I know that our best days are ahead of us.


Nancy Winship, P’10, P’13
Senior Vice President of Institutional Advancement

Chris Burden, President Frederick Lawrence and Chris Bedford.
Chris Burden, President Frederick Lawrence and Chris Bedford.

Justice Brandeis Society

Dozens of alumni who are members of the Justice Brandeis Society, the university’s leadership giving circle, gathered at the New Museum in New York City to hear artist Chris Burden and Chris Bedford, the Henry and Lois Foster Director of the Rose Art Museum, discuss modern and contemporary art.

Ellis Landau ’65, P’91 (center), with Robin and Gary Jacobs, both ’66.
Ellis Landau ’65, P’91 (center), with Robin and Gary Jacobs, both ’66.

LA Friends of Brandeis

Trustees Leslie Aronzon ’84 and Michael Koss, P’96, hosted a dinner for the Los Angeles Friends of Brandeis at the Brentwood Country Club. President Frederick Lawrence moderated a discussion about developments in the Middle East with Shai Feldman, the Judy and Sidney Swartz Director of the Crown Center for Middle East Studies, and his Crown Center colleague, Khalil Shikaki.

Kraft TYP Renaming Celebration Draws All-Star Support

New England Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady joined the party to celebrate Brandeis’ newly renamed Myra (Hiatt) Kraft ’64 Transitional Year Program.

Brady, who grew close to the beloved Brandeis alumna during his long tenure with the National Football League team, made a surprise appearance at team owner Robert Kraft’s home to meet approximately 60 Kraft TYP students and alumni.

“I wish you the best of luck,” Brady, who was accompanied by 3-year-old son Benjamin, told the students. “[Myra] was an incredible woman, and you should be really proud to be [associated with her].”

Robert Kraft, a prominent Boston businessman, and his family made a $5 million gift last year to rename the pioneering college-access program for Myra, a dedicated Brandeis trustee and supporter, who died in 2011.

“She loved the school as a student. She loved the school as an alumna. She loved the school as a trustee,” says President Frederick Lawrence, who unveiled a portrait of Myra that now hangs in the Irving Enclave on campus.

Through her work with the Robert and Myra Kraft Family Foundation and as president of the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation, Myra sought to improve the lives of people at Brandeis, in Boston and Israel, and around the world. She had a particular interest in helping children.

“All of you are embarking on a very special program,” Robert Kraft told the students. “You’re in a great environment, and you will have a great opportunity to succeed. I’m so proud that all of you will bear my sweetheart’s name as Myra Kraft Scholars. You couldn’t find a better brand to be associated with.”

Kraft photo

Tom Brady (second from left, holding son Benjamin) joins Robert Kraft (far left) and President Lawrence
(third from left) at the party celebrating the rededicated Myra (Hiatt) Kraft ’64 Transitional Year Program. (Photo by Stewart Woodward)


Kraft photo

Jermaine Hamilton ’14, Daniel Kraft, President Frederick Lawrence and Robert Kraft with the portrait of Myra (Hiatt) Kraft ’64. (Photo by Stewart Woodward)

Frances Taylor Eizenstat ’65
Frances Taylor Eizenstat ’65

New Travel Grant Keeps Israel on Student Itineraries

Former Brandeis trustee Stuart E. Eizenstat made a $250,000 gift to establish the Frances Taylor Eizenstat ’65 Undergraduate Israel Travel Grant, to give students the chance to have the same life-changing experiences in Israel that his wife enjoyed as an undergraduate 50 years ago.

Through the endowed program, up to five Brandeis students a year will receive $2,500 stipends to fund their travel to Israel to study, pursue research or participate in internships. The university’s Schusterman Center for Israel Studies will administer the program.

“We thank Stu Eizenstat for this generous gift, which recognizes the significant role that Brandeis and a semester abroad in Israel played in Fran’s life,” says President Frederick Lawrence. “This travel grant program will provide students with opportunities for personal engagement, along with academic and professional growth.”

Fran, who died of complications from a stroke in February 2013, journeyed to Israel as a junior through Brandeis’ Hiatt Program. During her semester at Hebrew University, she developed a deep and abiding love of Israel that she transmitted to her family. She made repeated trips back to Israel, accompanied by Stu and their sons, Jay and Brian.

“This program represents a marriage of Brandeis and Israel, both of which were very important components of Fran’s life,” says Stu, who held a number of senior positions in the administrations of Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. “She loved the educational stimulation and Jewish values of Brandeis, and made lifelong friends while a student there. The semester abroad in Israel was one of the seminal events of her life.”

For more information or to make a gift in support of the Frances Taylor Eizenstat ’65 Undergraduate Israel Travel Grant, contact JoAnn Leavitt, assistant director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, at 781-736-2152 or