Head shot of Judy Glaser.
Judy (Yohay) Glaser

Judy (Yohay) Glaser ’59, P’85, P’88: A Lifetime of Dedication

Judy (Yohay) Glaser ’59, P’85, P’88, devoted much of her life to giving back to Brandeis, the university she almost didn’t attend.

To save the $1,700 she would need for freshman tuition, and room and board at Brandeis, her parents collected spare change in a pickle jar, but the nest egg fell short of what was required. Then Glaser received a $300 music scholarship, and the Bronx native headed to Waltham.

Money was still tight, though, so Glaser worked at the library, collected laundry from and delivered it back to 90 girls twice a week, babysat for the dean of admissions, sold Bermuda shorts and monogrammed blouses from her dorm room, and brought student business to a seamstress in exchange for a commission.

“She worked those jobs to be able to stay at school and graduated a semester early to save money. But those three and a half years she was there changed her whole world,” says Glaser’s daughter, Risa Glaser Grimaldi ’85.

After graduation, Glaser became a music teacher, then worked with her husband, Allan, to start a business consulting firm, Glaser Associates, eventually returning to law school in her 50s to become a business attorney.

In addition to Grimaldi, Judy and Allan were parents to Jodi Glaser Rutstein ’88 (whose husband, Eric ’85, also attended Brandeis) and a son, Adam.

Glaser “considered that all her successes in life came from her beginnings at Brandeis,” says Grimaldi. “That’s why she was so passionate about her work for Brandeis.”

She served Brandeis in many ways, including as vice president of the Alumni Association and chair of many of her reunion committees. She was a dedicated fundraiser, always sharing her personal story to garner support for the school she loved. 

A Brandeis Fellow and a President’s Councilor, and the 1991 recipient of the Alumni Association’s Service to the Association Award, Glaser was particularly known for her work on Long Island and in Boca Raton, Florida. She was the founder of the Long Island alumni chapter and served as its president for many years. She was also the longtime chair of Long Island’s alumni admissions council, where she initiated the annual send-off parties that welcomed incoming first-years for decades.

As a longtime member of the Brandeis National Committee, she was president of its Boca Raton Chapter and served on its National Executive Committee for many years.

Glaser lost a brave four-and-a-half-year battle with pancreatic cancer on Aug. 21.

“When my mom died, I got letters from people saying they remembered her as their first point of contact for Brandeis and sharing the significant impact that her enthusiasm about the school had on them,” Grimaldi says. “There were thousands of students who came to our home over the course of nearly 20 years.”

Through Faculty in the Field events, she developed a decades-long close friendship with Steve Whitfield, PhD’72, the Max Richter Professor Emeritus of American Civilization.

“Judy was like a force of nature but endowed with grace and kindness and generosity, too,” Whitfield says. “Her love of family was intense, but Brandeis is lucky that Judy had plenty of love left over for the rest of us.”

“To her, it was a lifetime passion to give back to the school that she considered gave her so much,” says Grimaldi. “My mom helped a lot of organizations in her life, but Brandeis was always No. 1 to her.”

— Abigail Klingbeil

Donations in Glaser’s memory can be made to the Brandeis National Committee’s Honoring Our History campaign, c/o Brandeis University, 415 South Street, MS126, Waltham, MA 02453, or online at giving.brandeis.edu/honoringourhistory. Memorial gifts can also be made to the Judith Yohay Glaser Scholarship Fund, which is maintained by her grandchildren Daniel and Rachel. For more information on how to donate to this fund, go to www.thejygscholarshipfund.com.

Morton and Barbara Mandel
Morton and Barbara Mandel

Morton, P’73, H’89, and Barbara Mandel, P’73, H’19: ‘An Invincible Couple’

Married 70 years, they forged a life together marked by incredible generosity. 

When Morton Mandel, P’73, H’89, and wife Barbara, P’73, H’19, died within a month of each other last autumn, their loss was felt profoundly by Brandeis, and by the scores of civic and cultural institutions across the world they aided through their philanthropy.

“Barbara and Mort were among the greatest Jewish philanthropists of our time, and their kindheartedness will be felt for many years all over the United States and Israel,” says Board of Trustees Chair Meyer Koplow ’72, P’02, P’05, who served with Mrs. Mandel on the university’s governing board.

Morton Mandel passed away on Oct. 16 at age 98. Barbara Mandel died on Nov. 21 at age 93.

They were “an invincible couple,” says Provost Lisa Lynch.

Philanthropy was a constant throughout their lives. Their family’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation has donated an estimated $1 billion worldwide to higher education and the arts and humanities, among other causes. Some $45 million has been given to Brandeis, where Mrs. Mandel was a trustee since 2005 and daughter Amy ’73 is an alumna.   

In 2010, the foundation’s largest gift to Brandeis, $22.5 million, created the Mandel Center for the Humanities, where the auditorium is named for Mrs. Mandel. Other gifts have established the Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education, endowed faculty chairs and supported graduate fellowships. 

“Mort Mandel was an extraordinary man,” President Ron Liebowitz said at his passing. “His legacy of transformational commitment to Brandeis, to the Jewish people, to Israel, to the arts and humanities, to health and medicine, and to leadership excellence will be felt around the world for years to come.”

When Mrs. Mandel passed away the following month, Liebowitz recalled her in similar terms. “She was a remarkable woman, a dedicated philanthropist and humanist who gave of her time and resources to improve the lives of others,” he said. 

Morton Mandel’s life was a rags-to-riches story. He was born in 1921 in Cleveland, Ohio, to Jewish immigrants who had fled pogroms in their native Poland. In 1940, he and two brothers scraped together $900 for an auto parts business they would build into a $3 billion multinational electronics firm, Premier Industrial Corp. 

When Mr. Mandel was young, his immigrant parents operated a dry-goods shop until his father was bedridden with multiple sclerosis, leaving his mother, Rose, to provide for the family by selling clothes out of suitcases on city streets. 

Mr. Mandel credited his mother with teaching him the “joy and obligation of helping others.” Although his family had little during the Depression, his mother would give a sandwich to a hungry man who showed up at the door or a few dollars to help a neighbor buy a dress for a child. 

Giving was Mr. Mandel’s watchword thereafter. In his 2012 book, “It’s All About Who You Hire, How They Lead ... and Other Essential Advice From a Self-Made Leader,” he wrote, “The world can be a dark and chaotic place. My life’s goal is to light as many candles as possible to brighten the prospects of the less fortunate in this world.”

Mr. Mandel “had a passion for projects that would improve the world, capture the imagination of children and adults, and deepen the noblest commitments of individuals and communities,” says Jon Levisohn, Brandeis’ Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Associate Professor of Jewish Educational Thought and director of the Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education.

Barbara (Abrams) Mandel was also one of Brandeis’ most dedicated supporters. In addition to serving as the Board of Trustees’ vice chair, she co-chaired the board’s Institutional Advancement Committee. 

A Cleveland native, Mrs. Mandel attended Radcliffe College and Flora Stone Mather College of Case Western Reserve University, from which she received a BA. Active as a leader in national and international organizations, she served as both Cleveland president and national president of the National Council of Jewish Women. 

In addition, Mrs. Mandel was honorary chair and deputy chair of the board of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which granted her an honorary degree, and was president of its American Friends organization. She served as national vice president of the United Jewish Appeal’s women’s division and as trustee chair for Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.

She received the Hannah G. Solomon Award from the National Council of Jewish Women and was inducted into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame.

“Barbara Mandel was a formidable woman of great honesty, integrity and generosity,” says Ramie Targoff, professor of English, co-chair of Italian studies and the Jehuda Reinharz Director of the Mandel Center for the Humanities. “She fought passionately for the things she cared about, and she cared about the things that mattered most: family, decency, learning. She was one of the great inspirations for our humanities center at Brandeis, and she will be sorely missed.”

In a tribute video Brandeis prepared for the Mandels on the occasion of their 70th wedding anniversary in 2019, Jehuda Reinharz, PhD’72, H’11, president emeritus of Brandeis and president of the Mandel Foundation, describes the couple as “role models for all of us.”

The Mandels leave three children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

— Mark Sullivan