University President Ron Liebowitz announced that the university would be collaborating with the Kraft Group Foundation to Combat Antisemitism (FCAS)—an organization that creates new solutions to end hatred towards Judaism and Jewish people. The collaboration is structured into three key components, according to an email sent by Liebowitz to community members.
“I’m grateful that an organization as committed to fighting antisemitism as the Kraft Group’s FCAS is joining us in this critical work. FCAS will provide fellowships and post-graduate opportunities for our students and alumni, along with expertise and material support,” reads the email to community members.
FCAS launched its first public-facing initiative in August 2020 called Together Beat Hate (TBH), according to their website. The movement was intended to encourage “young people of all backgrounds to join the fight against all forms of hatred,” according to the website.
The three areas of action that Liebowitz sighted were: a student-focused fellowship program, a convening role with leaders in higher education and a low-residency master’s degree and graduate program in antisemitism training.
The Samuels Center for Community Partnerships and Civic Transformation (COMPACT)—a collaboration between scholars, activists, students, practitioners and community partners to which launched earlier this calendar year—will be sponsoring the student-focused fellowship program. According to Liebowitz, the second action to address antisemitism in higher education settings will be to have leaders in higher education equipped with knowledge on how to address antisemitism in these spaces. The third action will be housed at the university’s Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program, according to Liebowitz. Here is where the master’s degree and graduate certificate program in antisemitism training will be sponsored.
“When we recognize our shared humanity and feel a sense of collective responsibility for one another, we can together beat hate,” reads the foundation’s website.
Liebowitz noted in his email the rising number of antisemitic incidents in the United States. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) logged 2,717 incidents of antisemitic behavior—including assault, harassment and vandalism—nationwide in 2021. This statistic showed a 34% rise in antisemitic behavior in the U.S, according to the ADL page statistics. On college campuses alone the percentage of antisemitic behavior was up 21%, according to the statistics.
May 2021 is when the surge of antisemitic behavior began in the U.S. According to the ADL, this corresponded with a conflict between Israel and Hamas. “There was a staggering 148 percent increase in reports of antisemitic incidents that month when compared in May 2020,” according to their page. Several spikes in violent behavior occurred over the course of 2021.
“As an institution that was founded as a reaction to restrictive quotas placed on Jews, and with values rooted in the Jewish commitment to repair the world, Brandeis has a responsibility to work to create an atmosphere in which Jewish students, across American higher education, can thrive, and not hide their identities, but instead, celebrate them,” wrote Liebowitz.
Liebowitz invited community members to be a part of the collaboration process, and urged students to be on the lookout for updates for how they can become involved on campus.