A Bit of Brandeis History

I just came across this article on the founding of Brandeis University, from the perspective of the Jewish community. Interesting!

Some things I learned:

During the time that Brandeis was getting off the ground, Antisemitism in academia was declining, so

Brandeis’s founders thus argued that the university would enable America’s Jews to repay the country for the freedom and economic opportunity had provided them. According to Abram L. Sachar, the university’s first president and guiding light during its first quarter of a century, Brandeis was to be “a corporate gift of Jews to higher education.” Brandeis’s founders were bolstered by their confidence in the reconciliation of Jewishness and Americanness….

There’s a bunch of problems with dining today: Aramark gouges us, meal plans are transparent rip-offs, and it refuses to recognize worker’s efforts to unionize. Thus, it’s interesting to read about a previous food fight back in the day:

Although future Brandeis commencements were not held on Saturday, the obscurity of Brandeis’s Jewish identity remained. It became a bone of contention during the 1987-88 school year when the school’s administration suggested that the cuisine in the two main student dining rooms be “inter¬≠nationalized” by serving pork and shellfish. This proposal stemmed from the university’s effort to raise itself into the ranks of the nation’s most prestigious institutions. This, it believed, required attracting a more diverse student body, which, in turn, depended on diluting Brandeis’s image as a Jewish institution.

That whole controversy (and the issues surrounding it) toppled Jehuda’s predecessor.