College

Campus Tour

  • Bel & Jack M. Ostrow Academic Library
  • Phoebe & Werner Frank Family Learning Center
  • Sondra & Marvin Smalley Family Sculpture Garden
  • Wendie’s Garden
  • Burton Sperber Jewish Community Library
  • Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame
  • Machal Exhibit

 

 A SELF-GUIDED TOUR OF American Jewish University

Your Address for Jewish Education, Art and Culture

The Talmud teaches that a “beautiful dwelling” increases a person’s self esteem, and what is true of a person is also true of an institution. All of us at American Jewish University are extremely proud of our campuses—the Familian Campus in Bel Air and our Brandeis-Bardin Campus in Simi Valley. Both campuses are located in very attractive surroundings, and their outer beauty complements the spirit of Jewish learning and cultural expression that lies within.

In order to enhance your experience of visiting AJU, we created this self-guided tour of our Familian Campus and selected ten venues on our site that you will not want to miss. Each one reflects our institutional commitment to Jewish civilization in all of its varied aspects.

We hope that your visit to AJU inspires you, and we also hope that you will consider what American Jewish University can contribute to your own life.

American Jewish University

Education for an Innovative Jewish Future

Borstein Gallery

Generously donated by Marjorie and Herman Platt, along with Lena and Jacob Borstein, the Platt/Borstein Gallery presents critically acclaimed exhibitions and educational programs within all realms of the visual arts. This gallery provides a valuable and necessary aesthetic component to the educational goals of American Jewish University. Featured artists, both Jewish and non-Jewish, share their creativity and their insight into current trends while also providing a historical perspective into our community life. Past exhibits have included the works of such noted artists as Max Finkelstein, David Hockney, Jim Dine and Frank Stella.

Bel & Jack M. Ostrow Academic Library

Opened in Fall 2012, the state-of-the-art Bel & Jack M. Ostrow Academic Library contains over 110,000 volumes, as well as a wide variety of online resources. It is designed to meet the needs of the University’s faculty and students, as well as scholars conducting research in all fields of Jewish culture and civilization. The Library’s holdings focus primarily on the fields of Bible, Nonprofit Management, Education, Hebrew and English Literature, Israel and Zionism, Jewish History and Archaeology, the Middle East, Philosophy, Rabbinic Literature, Theology, and Yiddish. The Library is home to both the Milken Collection in the Liberal Arts, which is comprised of acquisitions in the arts and humanities, and the Gindi Microfilm Collection.

Lowy-Winkler Rare Book Center

The Lowy-Winkler Family Rare Book Center, a gift of Peter and Janine Lowy, is home to the Maslan Bible Collection. This unusual assemblage of exceptional volumes includes approximately 4,000 Bibles, some dating back almost to the inception of the printing press. This collection also features bible translations representing most of the written languages of the world, as well as the Kalman-Friedman Collection of Italian Judaica.

Phoebe & Werner Frank Family Learning Center

The Phoebe & Werner Frank Family Learning Center is dedicated to the exploration of Jewish communities around the world. The inaugural exhibit focuses on the Jews of Central and Eastern Europe and includes an original German wimple, used to swaddle a Jewish baby boy at the time of his Brit Milah and later as a sash to bind the Torah Scrolls. The wallpaper in the Center echoes the original wallpaper found in the home of Werner Frank in Eppingen, Germany. Future exhibits will include a virtual tour of world synagogues and Jewish communities in the Near East, Asia and Africa.

Burton Sperber Jewish Community Library

The Burton Sperber Jewish Community Library is the successor to the Jewish Community Library formerly housed at the Los Angeles Jewish Federation. The collection features the very latest in Jewish themed fiction and non-fiction including books, audiotapes and DVDs. The Library includes a special children’s section offering a wide variety of titles both in English and in Hebrew. The Sperber Library regularly hosts events featuring noted Jewish authors as well as programs geared for children and families. Among the special features of the library is our collection of books on magic and Jewish magicians.

Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame

The Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame (SCJSHOF) honors men and women at all levels of sport who have played significant roles in shaping the sports history of Southern California. Currently, there are more than 250 outstanding sport personalities on the Hall of Fame Honor Roll. The SCJSHOF exhibit at American Jewish University highlights the achievements of several prominent sports figures including swimmers Mark Spitz and Lenny Krayzelburg, gymnast Mitch Gaylord, football great Lyle Alzado, pitcher Sandy Koufax and basketball star Danny Schayes.

Machal Exhibit

Volunteers in the Israeli War of Independence

This exhibit highlights the thousands of North American Jews and Christians who came to the aid of Israel in the months before its official birth and during the period immediately after its Declaration of Independence. During this time, North Americans sent financial aid and participated in smuggling arms and other war material in violation of embargoes.

Some 1,300 men and women from North America served in the fledgling Israeli armed forces in 1948-49. They were mostly World War II veterans who brought expertise to the Israeli Army, Navy and Air Force. They were known as Machal (the Hebrew acronym for Mitnadvei Chutz La’Aretz – “Volunteers from Outside Israel”). About half the North Americans served in the Israeli Air Force.

North Americans were part of the 3,500 men and women from all over the world who volunteered for the Israeli armed forces. Forty Americans and Canadians, including seven Christians, lost their lives in the struggle for Israeli independence.

David Alan Shapiro Memorial Synagogue Center

The David Alan Shapiro Memorial Synagogue Center, inspired by the life of David Alan Shapiro, is a facility for prayer and meditation, a place to celebrate lifecycle events, and a multipurpose location for classes and meetings. Designed by award winning architect Paul Murdoch, the synagogue includes the Gates of Passage stained glass windows. These windows, crafted by artists David and Michelle Plachte-Zuieback, express the fundamental motifs of Judaism: Creation, Revelation, Redemption and Immortality.

Sondra & Marvin Smalley Family Sculpture Garden

The Sondra & Marvin Smalley Family Sculpture Garden was dedicated in 1981. The garden contains a collection of museum-quality works of art, produced during the last half of the 20th Century by artists who achieved pre-eminence in the same period. This dynamic and growing collection provides an environment for students and visitors to reflect, study and converse as they enjoy the juxtaposition of nature and art. The garden epitomizes the University’s commitment to education as well as being a stimulus for an appreciation of the arts. Among the artists represented in the garden are George Rickey, Anthony Caro Aldo Casanova and Jenny Holzer.

Wendie’s Garden

Wendie Jo Sperber was a talented actress known for her starring role in the television series Bosom Buddies, as well as her film appearances in Back to the Future and Bachelor Party. Wendie’s Garden, dedicated in her memory by her parents Charlene and Burton Sperber, serves as a living symbol of her enthusiasm and zest for life. It forms the western boundary of AJU’s Familian Campus and is noteworthy for its unique succulents, offering an original contrast of colors and textures in an environmentally conscious array. The garden also includes inviting pergolas bedecked with colored wisteria that are available for small groups, classes or wedding ceremonies.

An inclusive
jewish environment

While the majority of our students are Jewish, we appreciate and value differences in observance, lifestyle, and thought. Here, everyone’s story and experiences add to the mosaic of our community. As we consider what it means to be human and part of a wider society, we employ an ethical framework informed by Jewish culture and philosophy to prepare all students for success both in civic life and their chosen profession.

  • L.A.’s vibrant Jewish life provides a wealth of opportunities to explore your relationship with Judaism, both on and off campus.
  • Whether observant or secular, we all enjoy celebrations that mark seasonal changes (Sukkot), major historical events like the establishment of the State of Israel (Yom Ha’atzmaut), and biblical legends (Purim).
  • Welcoming Shabbat dinners bring our community together in celebration of Jewish identity and rituals.

ADVISORS AND MENTORS
WHO KNOW YOU

Traveling down a road alone can be hard. But traveling with someone who knows that road well—who can tell you interesting places to stop or where there’s a sharp turn—is a very different experience. Since your academic and personal success is our highest priority, at AJU College you are assigned an academic advisor and a personal mentor from day one to guide you in making smart decisions for your future.

  • Traveling down a road alone can be hard. But traveling with someone who knows that road well—who can tell you interesting places to stop or where there’s a sharp turn—is a very different experience. Since your academic and personal success is our highest priority, at AJU College you are assigned an academic advisor and a personal mentor from day one to guide you in making smart decisions for your future.
  • Your faculty advisor helps with everything from choosing class schedules to recommending courses to help you reach the next phase of your story—whether that’s graduate school, law or medical school, or an entry-level position in your field.
  • All students are also assigned a personal mentor who helps guide you through the social and interpersonal aspects of your college experience.

learn by
serving others

By participating in community-based projects you gain perspective on the challenges facing our human family. Serving others broadens your horizons, engages your ideals, and cements within you the Jewish tradition of civic responsibility. These attributes combine to make you a fuller human being as you move forward on your chosen track.

  • All AJU College students take part in hands-on service projects, part of the Sid B. Levine Service Learning Program.
  • Students have led projects to raise awareness of social injustices like human trafficking, hunger, and gender inequality.
  • Faculty and students annually host middle school students for the Prejudice Awareness Summit, where such topics as bullying and discrimination are discussed and conflict-resolution skills are taught.
  • AJU College participates in the international service projects of the American Jewish World Service, which takes students on study-volunteer trips to El Salvador, Ghana, and India.