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Brandeis alumna named Executive Director of Foundation to Combat Anti-Semitism

Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, named Dr. Rachel Fish, Ph.D. ’13 as Executive Director of the Foundation to Combat Anti-Semitism on Oct. 6, according to a JewishTimes article

The foundation’s purpose is to tackle rising anti-Semitism on social media and online as well as to campaign against prejudice, according to its website. It also aims to combat the “attempts to delegitimize the State of Israel,” said Kraft in a Jewish Telegraphic Agency article. The foundation is a platform to “galvanize the global fight against anti-Semitism, uniting all people of good conscience around this goal,” continued Kraft.

The foundation will focus on positively impacting attitudes of young people around the world, using social media to create and deliver educational campaigns, according to a Forward Article. 

Fish’s responsibilities at the foundation include fundraising, planning and internal operation. She will also be responsible for hiring and managing the foundation’s staff, who will have specializations in social media, education and effective response to anti-Semitic incidents and rhetoric, according to an article on the Patriot’s website

Kraft commented that he is “thrilled” to have Fish lead this “new and important effort,” adding that her “education, experience and most importantly, her commitment make her the right person for this role,” he said in the Jewish Journal article. “She is equipped to face the growing epidemic of anti-Semitism with tenacity and a proven track record of progress through a lifetime of work in this arena.” Fish stated that this role is “the culmination of academic pursuits and advocacy efforts,” which she welcomes as she has “sought to educate against ignorance and fight hatred” for her entire life, per a Jewish Journal article

Fish graduated from The George Washington University with a B.A. in Middle Eastern Studies and Judaic Studies in 2001. In 2003, she graduated with an M.A. in theological studies in contemporary thought in Judaism and Islam from Harvard University, and then attained her Ph.D. from Brandeis, according to her LinkedIn. She later worked as the Executive Director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies. During her time at Brandeis, she initiated educational workshops about the modern nation-state of Israel for public school high school educators. She was also a professor in the Hornstein Program for Jewish Professional Leadership at Brandeis where she taught the Myra Kraft Seminar in Israel Studies, as listed on her LinkedIn. Fish has also been named twice in the “Forward Fifty,” a list of the 50 most influential American Jewish leaders, according to an article on the Patriot’s website

Kraft established the Foundation to Combat Anti-Semitism earlier this year, during his acceptance of the Genesis Prize award in Jerusalem, according to a Jewish Telegraphic Agency article. The Genesis Prize, founded in 2012, is a one million dollar award that “celebrates Jewish talent and achievement by honoring individuals for their professional accomplishments, commitment to Jewish values, and contribution to improving the world,” according to the Genesis Prize website. It is meant to inspire Jewish pride, and strengthen the “bond between Israel and the Diaspora.”

Kraft is investing his million dollar prize, $20 million of his personal funds, a $5 million gift, as well as another $5 million gift from Roman Abramovich, the owner of the Chelsea Football Club, into the foundation, according to a Tower Magazine article. The creation of the foundation is his response to the growing rise in anti-Semitism in the U.S. and abroad, particularly with an increase of hateful rhetoric online and the use of social media to plan and commit hate crimes against the Jewish people, said the Jewish Times. Kraft commented that “in combating the scourge of anti-Semitism, my solemn ambition is to counter all forms of intolerance in the spirit of the ancient Jewish value of tikkun olam—to heal and repair the world,” according to a Jewish Times article.
The Kraft family has donated to Brandeis in the past, mainly supporting the Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program (MKTYP), named after Myra Kraft ’64 in 2013, Robert Kraft’s wife. They also helped to create the Robert and Myra Kraft and Jacob Hiatt fund that supports the research of a Brandeis professor—previously held by Professor Bernadette Brooten—and the Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program (MKTYP), according to an earlier Hoot article.

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