American Jewish University's Brandeis-Bardin Institute is recognized as one of the most impactful institutions ever to appear on the landscape of American Jewish life.
If you were fortunate enough to have had this experience, or even if you have not, the recently published The Brandeis-Bardin Institute: A Living History is a must read. The story begins in the 1930's when the fortuitous connection between Dr. Shlomo Bardin and United States Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis led Dr. Bardin to create an innovative summer program whose purpose was to arouse a spark in college students that would awaken a positive attitude toward their Jewish culture and tradition.
It goes on to chronicle the evolution and dynamic history of the Institute from its humble beginnings through the creation of such notable programs as Camp Alonim for young children and House of the Book, a pioneer in adult Jewish education.
Each chapter follows in chronological order and is filled with vibrant and amusing historical photos, and intertwined in the narrative are contributions of artists, scholars, and supporters, all of whom felt deeply connected to the Institute.
This book is a labor of love born out of the dedication of four women whose lives were indelibly marked by their many decades of involvement with the Institute. To ensure that the institution's history would not be lost, they founded the Brandeis-Bardin History Project, and within it a committee to oversee the writing of the book. All four founders--Ms. Rita Chotiner, Ms. Elaine Gill, Ms. Mickey Wapner, and Ms. Betty Weiner--served on the committee and invited educator Dr. Bruce Powell, a longtime participant and scholar of Dr. Bardin's methodology, to join them.
The author, Jenna Leventhal, is the coordinator of research efforts at the Boston History and Innovation Collaborative. Her work in public history includes documenting histories of nonprofit organizations, developing museum exhibits, and producing historical documentaries.
Copies are available for purchase by calling 805.582.4450 or ajula.edu/bbihistory.