Archive for the 'Deis' Category


“It’s always art that goes first.”

And the hits just keep on coming:

Rocked by a budget crisis, Brandeis University will close its Rose Art Museum and sell off a 6,000-object collection that includes work by such contemporary masters as Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and Nam June Paik.


…there is no precedent for selling an art collection of the Rose‘s stature. Internationally recognized, the collection is strong in American art of the 1960s and 1970s and includes works by Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Morris Louis, and Helen Frankenthaler.

President Reinharz grieves over selling off a campus “jewel.”

Yep, wow.

This is awful.

I’ve never been there, but I’ll be going now.  I always thought it was cool that Deis had a museum, and that I was just my uncultured self for never making it there.  My man has opened my eyes to art appreciation, meaning, I might not go there myself, but I get the travesty that is selling off a clearly-not-priceless collection of art to keep the university afloat.  What a luxury it was, having that museum as part of a university that is such an intellectually engaging place.

Ah well, one less thing to do for all the additional undergrads they’re planning on packing in to cover costs, after laying off one in every 10 faculty.

The good times, they are not with us.


More Madoff “Aftershock”

Waiting for me in my e-mail inbox, from Brandeis University President Jehuda Reinharz:

Let me outline for you the current challenges. While some saw signs of an impending global financial crisis last year, no one could have predicted the intensity of the recession, or the Madoff debacle, and the major blow it would deal to philanthropy. The Madoff aftershock produced a second wave of financial crisis felt acutely in Boston’s major not-for-profit institutions, as well as many other cities in the United States and abroad. While it was a relief to report that the university never invested money with Bernard Madoff, sadly, some of Brandeis’s most staunch and generous supporters suffered major losses. It is very hard to calculate the immediate and long-term effects on the university’s fundraising results.

I’ve never been a big nor frequent donor to Brandeis – and I won’t exactly be passing on windfall profits to them this year either.  However, I can step up the frequency a bit, with some small donations here and there.  Maybe it will help some undergrad buy that extra book she needs…or some beers to take the edge off during this crisis.  Assuming she’s a senior in college, of course…


Oy Vey

As soon as I heard about the Madoff fraud case, I thought, how will this affect Brandeis and the American Jewish community that supports it?  As I expected: POORLY.

The Palm Beach Jewish community is an epicenter of Brandeis philanthropic support.  Every spring my Brandeis quarterly journal arrives with photos of our Israeli president, Jehuda Reinharz, sporting a tan and beaming at the camera with his arms around elderly, multi-millionaire Jewish couples who have just gifted another round of millions for a new science center, student center, endowed chair, etc.

Just as I felt distantly personally involved in the 2000 Florida recount mess, this latest turmoil to roll through Palm Beach, FL leaves me cringing and worrying about my indirect benefactors.  And I need not envision only sunny skies and beautiful beaches as I fret: Boston’s non-profit organizations and institutions are also taking a substantial hit.


“I am remembered as a hairdo”

If you are a freedom fighter, proud Brandeisian, feminist, or any or all of the above, read this interview with Angela Davis NOW.

Excerpts after the jump.

Continue reading ‘“I am remembered as a hairdo”’



A more-conservative-than-Redstar reader emails to ask why I’m not covering Ahmadinejad’s visit to NYC.  My only guilt over ignoring this story is if by doing so I’m not living up to my legacy as a scholar trained by the American Jewish community (i.e., a Brandeis grad). 

As I wrote to her – and as regular readers can probably gather – foreign relations, foreign policy, and diplomacy are not issues I spend much time on here.  I simply cannot take the macho-heads-of-state-chest-bumping requirement of national politics, particularly as its come to pass under post-9/11 Bush in our so-called “War on Terror.” Indeed, the reason I don’t read the mainstream “progressive” (also, alleged, as far as I’m concerned) blogosphere more often, is because the predominantly male white authors expend an awful lot of hot air on the diplomatic disaster that passes for our foreign policy these days (though I was totally into Yglesias’s post on Olive Garden – who wasn’t, it turns out). 

I tried tonight to read the NYT coverage of Ahmedinejad’s talk at Columbia, but ended up closing the webpage in dismissal.  I remember at Deis when The Justice student newspaper sold ad space to Holocaust deniers, and the backlash that followed.  I just can’t take such charlatans seriously, even though I know that their statements cause very real pain for people.  And though I’m a card carrying member of the intelligentsia, I find obnoxious and smug the empty provocation of a cocooned place like Columbia allowing that guy to come and speak, which does little more than piss people off without providing much legitimate space for productive debate – not least because his sensationalist rhetoric and comparatively weak political power doesn’t give those of us looking to confront the “enemy” much to work with.  (Although, Andrew Sullivan – among others – takes on his denial of persecuting gay Iranians while scoffing at Columbia’s set up.)

Truth be told, if you want to hear me talk about Iran, you’d suffer a conversational mix of its politics from five to ten years ago and my desire to visit it because of its amazing art, history and hot men – all based on my dating an Iranian-American* in NYC on and off for a few months – before I moved into ranting about Bush and our current “mode” of international relations.  To save myself at this bedtime hour the ire that immediately flares up when I think about (or see or hear) Bush, I’ll let Ezra do the talking for me now:

“From [CBS’s Scott] Pelley’s interview with Ahmadinejad:

PELLEY: I asked President Bush what he would say to you if he were sitting in this chair. And he told me, quote, speaking to you, that you’ve made terrible choices for your people. You’ve isolated your nation. You’ve taken a nation of proud and honorable people and made your country the pariah of the world. These are President Bush’s words to you. What’s your reply to the president?

Wow. Pot, meet kettle.”

Now, if we want to talk about keeping alive the history and lessons from the Holocaust, or protecting human rights and preventing hate crimes, I’m your woman.


*Based on these credentials, I’m actually an expert on international and cultural relations.


Trot trot to Boston

Slept in this morning for the first time in weeks, after an evening flight home from an intense two days in New Orleans. Slow to get working as I sit on my couch in a fleece and sweatpants.  Apparently I took the sweltering heat with me on Sunday morning and left it behind in the Gulf Coast.

As my mind and soul slowly recover from the whiplash of traveling back and forth between my peaceful New England life and my heated, urgent political organizing work down South, I’m welcomed home by some nostalgic chatter in the Boston blogs.  VA transplant Gift of Green offers a Top 10 list of MA things that stump the locals south of the Mason-Dixon line.  Some of my favorites: the fluffernutter sandwich (invented in Lynn, it seems, and actually I’ve never been a fan of fluff, but it was always in my aunt’s cabinets), the triple decker apartment building, home to generations of Redstar kin…and a bunch of other working-class and ethnic families in Boston, and radiators (though in my two-family house, we had floor vents that opened and shut, that I’d stand on to warm up at the end of a freezing winter school day).

Her list reminds me of my own regional “wha???” when I was down in New Orleans two weeks ago.  Dining with a table of Southern women, white and black, young and old, at a nouveau Southern restaurant (the local version of trumped up comfort food places here that charge $12 for mac ‘n cheese), I responded to a dish incl. turnip greens that the only time I ate turnip was at Thanksgiving, and it was mashed, like potatoes.  Well, me and my bland Irish palate were practically run out of town.  I told them about Whoopie Pies, another New England treat (thanks, Amish peeps??), they were intrigued, though ultimately heads were shaken in pity at the dishes I clearly considered cuisine.

While I head out for a needed long walk this afternoon, the M.A.S. is off to a MA Historical Commission meeting for some networking.   He has his car with him, as the High Holidays commandeer all the parking spaces around his apartment building that sits next door to a synagogue.  As Rosh Hashanah begins tonight, I proudly display my own multi-cultural “roots,” hanging up the pic of a Deis friend’s daughter that decorates the Jewish new year card I receive every year.

L’Shanah Tovah to all my M.O.T. friends and peeps!  May your new year be filled with the delicious happiness of Whoopie pies, fluffernutter, turnip greens and ice cream with jimmies!


Mint Green

According to BostonMaggie’s Levels of Boston Irishness, I’m mint green:

Mint Green: Moved out of the city as a kid. Either has a government job or knows someone who does, especially cops. Likes a pint, but around the age of 30 developed a taste for Jameson’s. MP3 player is full of Dropkick Murphys and The Saw Doctors. Drinks in suburban places with neon shamrocks in the window. Hopes to visit the Auld Sod someday,but is saving for Disney. Might know someone who can get you off jury duty.

I’d venture to say my mint green roots have grown substantially intertwined with the bright blue of Brandeis and the pinstriped New Yorkers I’ve met over the years. This would explain why Zero 7 and Jill Scott crowd out the modern Irish bands in the iPod.  (And let’s not overlook the reddish-yellow tint I’ve picked up from all the foreign spice consumption in my past!). 

As for the drinking, hopefully the Irish bars of Brighton Center will have to suffice. 

Though I’m pretty sure I’m related by degrees to folks who can get you off jury duty.


Honorary M.O.T.

My neighbors.


“that’s why they did that”

I’m up over at Foresight, taking on class and poverty conflicts in the classroom. 

More to come here on the reunion, gender, kids, and all that good stuff. 


Breaking News: VA Tech Massacre (We interrupt the regularly scheduled programming of the RP History Month)

I’m still processing today’s events at VA Tech.  Aren’t we all.  As a current full-time student at MIT, I walked across Harvard campus today for a class, trying to imagine how and where such a brutal event might unfold on either of these campuses I’ve come to know well.  VA Tech police and administration are already under fire for failing to notify the campus sufficiently of the initial two shootings (there’s two jobs  – university president and campus chief of police – that should open up within the year), and no doubt they’ll be living with the guilt and tortorous “what if’s” of their decisions today while we also question their ability to protect the 2,600 acre campus of 25,000 students (of which more than half are commuters).

I’ve been following the story since about 11 am, and I was struck how restrained the tone was as the news unfolded.  I couldn’t tell if that was the nature of breaking news via the internet, versus the intimate hysteria of watching video over and over on tv (until we’re numbed by the repetition).  Or if it was the suspended disbelief given no one was really sure what the f*** happened.  What f***ing chaos, occurring on a campus effectively the size of a small town, and early in the day.  Not unlike those first moments of confusion of 9/11, before word spread and we watched the second chapter of that atrocity unfold on television.  In the VA Tech microcosm, given the delay in alerting students about the apparent “domestic” dispute in the dorms, as the NY Times reported, “few students seemed to have any sense of urgency” as they went about their morning routines.  So horrible.  I remember what it was like to be at Brandeis, when about a dozen student and faculty died over the course of my four years there, including a junior killed in a bus bombing while studying abroad in Israel.  We came to believe there was a black cloud over our community.  I have no idea how VA Tech picks up the pieces from this.  To begin, they need to raze Norris Hall. 

Given the shooter blew his own head off, authorities have to resort to “[tracing] purchase records for two handguns found near the body.”  As The Financial Times is one of the first to report – while U.S. media races to supply us with endless video and first-person coverage of today’s horrors - we will see what this means for gun control laws in this country, if anything.   

My heart and mind goes out to the victims’ loved ones and members of the VA Tech community tonight.