For the University of Judaism, the merger with Brandeis-Bardin will provide more outdoor recreational programs and more opportunities to expand and diversify educational opportunities, officials said. “It is a great opportunity to double the outreach to the Jewish community,” Yaeger said. “We now have two campuses and will be able to provide programs for the entire pluralistic Jewish community.” Robert Wexler, the University of Judaism’s president, will become chief executive officer of American Jewish University. Peter Lowy, chief executive of the Westfield Group, will serve as chairman of the American Jewish University’s board of directors. “We believe that the union of the University of Judaism and Brandeis-Bardin Institute will dramatically increase the ability of both institutions to serve the Jewish community,” said Linda Volpert Gross, chairwoman of the Brandeis-Bardin Institute. Brandeis-Bardin Institute was founded in 1941 by Supreme Court Justice Luis Brandeis and Shlomo Bardin to help young Jews make “the great ethical heritage of Judaism relevant to them.” The Brandeis-Bardin Institute moved to its Simi Valley site in 1947, the same year the University of Judaism was founded in Los Angeles. The University of Judaism was the brainchild of Mordecai Kaplan, who advocated the creation of an educational institution incorporating diverse elements of Jewish civilization and culture under one roof. In the early years, the University of Judaism and Brandeis-Bardin shared many faculty members. The Brandeis-Bardin Institute conducts a summer program called the Brandeis Collegiate Institute to inspire the thousands of young people who participate to become better leaders in their communities. And Brandeis-Bardin, in its rural setting, is home to Camp Alonim, which hosts visits from more than 1,000 children each summer. There are now a few hundred undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Judaism, and about 10,000 adult-education students in the department of continuing education. The new American Jewish University will be home to the Whizin Center for Continuing Education, one of the largest Jewish adult-education programs in the United States. The Whizin Center runs the annual Public Lecture Series at the Gibson Amphitheater in Universal City, which has featured speakers such as former President Bill Clinton and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. American Jewish University will expand its Fingerhut School of Jewish Education, which trains teachers and administrators. It will include the Lieber School of Graduate Studies, which prepares students for careers in management of nonprofit organizations, and it will initiate a new program to provide scholarships to professionals from the different ethnic communities of Los Angeles. The university’s College of Arts and Sciences grants undergraduate degrees in a variety of subjects, including political science, communications, literature, business and bioethics, a pre-medical program offered in partnership with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. [email protected] (805) 583-7602 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Brandeis-Bardin Institute in Simi Valley and the University of Judaism in Bel-Air are merging to form the American Jewish University, based on their shared commitments to Jewish education, culture and the creation of future Jewish leaders. Both institutions will be known officially as American Jewish University, said Brian Yaeger, a spokesman for the University of Judaism. The Simi Valley facility will be the Brandeis-Bardin Campus while the University of Judaism site on Mulholland Drive in Bel-Air will be the Familian Campus. “Adding a campus of a university to Simi Valley will provide increased cultural and educational opportunities for the larger community,” said Gary Brennglass, executive director of Brandeis-Bardin Institute. Brandeis-Bardin sits on a 2,900-acre site at the base of the Simi Hills, south of Tapo Canyon Road. Brennglass said officials at Brandeis do not expect any increase in traffic or any adverse effect on the Simi Valley population. “I think the only visible change you will see outside of our gates will be the change of the sign,” he said. The union of Brandeis and the University of Judaism will give Jews in the western San Fernando Valley and eastern Ventura County greater educational opportunities closer to home in a more idyllic setting, Yaeger said. The educational programs at Brandeis-Bardin Institute in Simi Valley have been focused in the past on young people, including thousands of children who attend camps there. Now there will be more programs designed for university students and adults.