Brandeis forms partnership with Robert K. Kraft Family and Foundation to Combat Antisemitism

Brandeis and the Robert K. Kraft Family and the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism (FCAS) have formed a partnership to address the rise of antisemitism across the country. The Robert Kraft Family-Brandeis Collaboration on Antisemitism is a comprehensive, multi-pronged collaboration to equip students, higher education leaders, and Jewish communal professionals with knowledge, resources, and tools to engage diverse communities in the critical work to address hate against Jews and other communities.

"The rise of antisemitism and hate targeting Jews across the country is a threat to the Jewish community’s survival and needs strong leadership to combat,” said Robert Kraft, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of The Kraft Group. “Through our Foundation to Combat Antisemitism, we are working to find innovative ways to educate and empower Jews and non-Jews to stand up to Jewish hate. Brandeis is the right partner for this important work, as its founding values are based in a commitment to create a better world.”

“We are grateful for this new partnership with Robert Kraft and his family, leaders in their commitment to combating antisemitism on university campuses and in society more generally,” said Brandeis President Ron Liebowitz. “Brandeis was founded by the American Jewish community nearly 75 years ago, in response to restrictive quotas placed on Jews in higher education. It has always been open to students of all backgrounds, and committed to the free exchange of ideas. For these reasons, the university has both an obligation and role to play in educating young people about the persistence of antisemitism and its impact on Jews and non-Jews alike. This initiative will help the university to do its part through a comprehensive approach to educate students, convene leaders in higher and K-12 education, and train future Jewish communal professionals about the impact of this millennia-old scourge.”

The partnership between FCAS and Brandeis is structured around three areas of action. They include:

A student-focused fellowship program which will provide paid semester-based and year-long fellowships to Brandeis undergraduate and graduate students, along with recent Brandeis alumni, to work at FCAS, where they will develop skills in research, communications, community partnerships, and other strategies to combat antisemitism and engage diverse communities in addressing hate. The work of the FCAS Fellows will be linked to curricular and co-curricular programs at Brandeis and housed in the university’s new Samuels Center for Community Partnerships and Civic Transformation (COMPACT).

A convening role in engaging leaders in higher education to provide approaches to address antisemitism on their campuses. Brandeis will host panels, conferences, workshops, and a speaker series, and will share the latest research on antisemitism and college life, including survey research, to help guide policy and responses to antisemitic incidents. Programs will include researchers and experts with practical and legal experience, and will address various manifestations of antisemitism. The program will also engage K-12 administrators and provide them with resources to share with their teachers so they may teach more effectively about antisemitism and respond in a timely fashion to incidents in their classroom.

Brandeis’ Hornstein (graduate) Jewish Professional Leadership Program will benefit
from the Kraft partnership by having new content on antisemitism introduced into its curriculum. The long-standing residential program anticipates adding significantly more students, many of whom will be known as Kraft Scholars, through a new online digital degree and certificate program. The curriculum, in the form of individual learning modules, will prepare future leaders to respond to crises related to antisemitic incidents and will be introduced in consultation with FCAS.

Antisemitism reached an all-time high in the United States in 2021, according to the Anti-Defamation League. There was an average of more than seven antisemitic incidents per day in 2021; a 34 percent increase from 2020.

Attacks against Jewish institutions, such as Jewish community centers and synagogues, were up by 61 percent, incidents at K-12 schools increased 106 percent, and incidents on college campuses increased 21 percent. Nearly one-third of Jewish students on college campuses said they personally experienced antisemitism directed at them, according to the ADL and Hillel International.

About FCAS
The Foundation to Combat Antisemitism was founded by Robert Kraft in 2019, after he received the Genesis Prize, a $1 million prize awarded to a Jewish individual who has achieved significant professional success. FCAS’ mission is to win the hearts and minds of non-Jews through powerful positive messaging and partnerships, motivating and equipping them to be defenders of and upstanders for Jews as they continue to face antisemitism.

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