Brandeis University Launches Jewish Philanthropy Program

Brandeis University is set to launch a graduate program in Jewish philanthropy and fund raising.

“Quality, sophisticated professionals” are needed because “fund raising is critical for an expanding American Jewish community,’ said Bernard Reisman, founding director of the Fisher-Bernstein Institute of Leadership Development in Jewish Philanthropy.

About 8 to 12 students are expected to enroll in the two-year master’s degree program, which will begin in September, he said.

Reisman said he expects that all graduates will take positions in Jewish communal organizations.

Irving Bernstein said the institute was founded in response to competition for leadership positions in Jewish organizations, and not out of concern about fund-raising trends.

“Very often people are thrown into responsibilities without being able to cope,” said Bernstein, for whom the institute was named.

The institute will also attempt to resolve the “dichotomy of the lay and professional” worlds of Jewish fund raising, said Bernstein. “Very often the two don’t work for mutual benefit.”

In addition to training graduate students in the fundamentals of fund raising and the Jewish community, the institute will host an annual conference on Jewish philanthropy, offer continuing education for lay and professional leaders and provide consulting services to Jewish organizations.

The institute was established with a major endowment from Max Fisher, a past chairman of United Jewish Appeal and past president of the Council of Jewish Federations.

Bernstein, a former executive vice chairman of UJA, will serve as an adviser for developing the institute’s curriculum.

The advisory committee of the institute will be co-chaired by Marvin Lender and Melvin Bloom.

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