The Interfaith Chaplaincy at Brandeis oversees the university's three chapels, which were dedicated on October 20, 1955. Designed by the architectural firm of Harrison and Abramovitz, these innovative structures were the first inter-denominational chapels (Jewish, Protestant, and Catholic) built on a U.S. college campus. They were designed to be equal in size and placed so as never to cast a shadow on one another.
The Jewish chapel (Berlin Chapel) was designed to resemble a sacred scroll and was named for Mendel and Leah Berlin. The two Christian chapels were intended to resemble the Bible. Bethlehem Chapel, the Catholic chapel, was named by Cardinal Richard Cushing, for the birthplace of Jesus. The Protestant chapel (Harlan Chapel) was named for Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, John Marshall Harlan, in recognizition of his dissent against "separate but equal" provisions in the law.
In 1956, the Three Chapels received the American Institute of Architects Award of Merit. Over the years, they have been used for religious services, weddings, funerals, and special University events such as the Helmsley Lecture Series.