The president of Brandeis University, Ronald D. Liebowitz, sent an email to a student organization called the Brandeis Orthodox Organization on July 30—nearly a week after a contentious Brandeis University advertisement that many perceived as being disrespectful of Orthodox Judaism appeared in The New York Times Magazine.
I am aware that a recent advertisement in the New York Times insulted certain members of the Brandeis Orthodox Jewish community, Liebowitz wrote.
First and foremost, I would want to express my regret for any offense. Let me reassure you that neither Brandeis nor the advertising firm intended to imply that Orthodox Jews are not supported and welcomed in our country.
According to Liebowitz, he had meetings that week with the Hillel directors and the student organization.
I want to be clear that Brandeis is proud of its vibrant Orthodox community,” he continued.
We appreciate the depth and vitality you bring to campus; it is essential to the fabric of Jewish life at the university,” the statement reads.
The goal of the larger marketing effort was to “highlight Brandeis’ Jewish roots and values,” Liebowitz noted.
He finished by “again offering my apologies” and stated that “clearly, the execution of this ad missed the mark.”
According to Meshulam Ungar, a rising senior and former vice president of the Brandeis Orthodox Organization, “I believe the matter is closed, and the apology was accepted by the Brandeis Orthodox community.”
Ungar told JNS that Liebowitz’s letter to Brandeis’ Orthodox community had “heartened” him.
“I think the email was appropriate in terms of both tone and content. This apology is a perfect example of why Brandeis is still the best secular institution in the United States for Orthodox students to enroll in, he added.
We can cooperate with our leadership to sustain and enhance the Brandeis Orthodox community if they sincerely apologize to us.
The president of Brandeis Hillel’s student board and a rising senior, Eitan Marks, told JNS that he is appreciative of the “kind letter and apology.”