Brandeis-Bardin Institute

Coordinates: 34°15′34″N 118°42′47″W / 34.25954°N 118.713166°W / 34.25954; -118.713166
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Brandeis-Bardin Campus of American Jewish University is a Jewish retreat located since 1947 in the northeastern Simi Hills, in the city of Simi Valley, California.[1] Formerly known as the Brandeis-Bardin Institute, it is used for nondenominational summer programs for children, teens, and young adults.[1]


The Brandeis-Bardin Institute was founded in 1941 by Shlomo Bardin (Bardinstein),[2][3][4][5] inspired by the ideals of the early Zionist movement and the ideas and financial support of Justice Louis Brandeis.[1] In the 1950s, BBI was known as Brandeis Camp Institute (BCI), with Shlomo Bardin as the Director. The institute branched out into a program for college-aged Jews, now called Brandeis Collegiate Institute, and a summer and winter camp for young people named Alonim.

In 1968 actor James Arness (of Gunsmoke) donated his entire Simi Hills ranch to the adjacent Brandeis Bardin Institute, making it, at 2,200 acres, the largest parcel of land owned by a Jewish institution outside the State of Israel.[1][6]

Founder Dr. Shlomo Bardin ran the Institute until 1976. He is buried on the grounds of the Brandeis Bardin Institute. Dennis Prager ran it from 1976 to 1983.[7] Joseph Wapner sat on the board.[8]

In March 2007, officials from both the Brandeis-Bardin Institute and the University of Judaism, a non-denominational institution of higher education offering undergraduate and graduate degrees along with a rabbinical studies program located in Bel Air, announced they would merge into a new organization called American Jewish University.[9][10][11][12][13]

In February 2022, American Jewish University planned to sell its 15600 Mulholland Drive, Bel Air location, keeping the 1101 Peppertree Lane, Simi Valley location.[14]


Notable people who got their start at the Brandeis-Bardin Institute include Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, the founder of Renewal Judaism; and Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

Rabbi Zvi Dershowitz directed the Brandeis-Bardin Institute in the early 1960s, before becoming director of Camp Ramah in California and rabbi at Sinai Temple. In the 1970s Rabbis Abraham Joshua Heschel and Mordecai Kaplan frequented the institute. Later Rabbi Joseph Telushkin would lead a weekly Torah discussion at the House of the Book on the campus, and Dennis Prager would be among the many leaders of the institute.[15]

Journalist Daniel Pearl, who was beheaded by Al Qaeda in Pakistan in 2002 (and about whom the Angelina Jolie film A Mighty Heart was made), and his family were long-time supporters of (and campers at) Brandeis.

Filming locations[edit]

The futuristic architecture of the campus's House of the Book, which was designed by architect Sidney Eisenshtat, has appeared as a location in several film and television projects:[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "American Jewish History of the Brandeis-Bardin Campus". Archived from the original on 2018-03-01. Retrieved 2017-06-08.
  2. ^ "Shlomo Bardin (Bardin, Shlomo, 1898-1976)". The Online Books Page. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  3. ^ "Dr. Shlomo Bardin Dead at 78". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 18 May 1976. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  4. ^ Bardin, Shlomo (October 1974). East of Eden Program.
  5. ^ "Dr. Shlomo Bardin, 77, Dies; Founded Brandeis Institute". The New York Times. 17 May 1976. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  6. ^ "House of the Book". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  7. ^ Karesh, Sara E.; Hurvitz, Mitchell M. (2006). Encyclopedia of Judaism. Facts On File. pp. 402–403. ISBN 978-0-8160-6982-8.
  8. ^ Hernandez, Marjorie (April 20, 2007). "Jewish University created: Brandeis–Bardin merges with Bel Air school". Ventura County Star. Archived from the original on August 7, 2011.
  9. ^ "2 Jewish educational institutes are merging". Los Angeles Times. 22 March 2007. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  10. ^ "MICHAEL DIAMOND Obituary (2016)". New York Times. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  11. ^ "Grant Directory". The Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  12. ^ "Brandeis-Bardin, University of Judiasm to merge efforts". Los Angeles Daily News. Los Angeles. 25 March 2007. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  13. ^ "American Jewish University in Los Angeles halts undergraduate admissions". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 8 October 2018. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  14. ^ "AJU to Sell Bel Air Campus". Los Angeles Business Journal. 21 February 2022. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  15. ^ Dennis Prager Biography
  16. ^ "Our Story | American Jewish University".

External links[edit]

34°15′34″N 118°42′47″W / 34.25954°N 118.713166°W / 34.25954; -118.713166