Ronald S. Lauder Foundation Celebrates 30 Years of Jewish Education and Community Building in Eastern and Central Europe


Leading voices in academia, philanthropy and diplomacy come together to celebrate the Foundation's work to revitalize European Jewry


NEW YORK, Nov. 9, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- On November 7th, Ronald S. Lauder hosted an academic symposium and evening celebration to mark the 30th anniversary of the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation, the leading organization working to revitalize the European Jewish community. Since its founding in 1987, the Ronald S. Lauder foundation has worked to rebuild Jewish life in Central and Eastern Europe through the creation of Jewish Day Schools, summer camps and youth clubs.

"In 1987, I created the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation because I was deeply concerned that we were losing a generation of Jewish children in Eastern and Central Europe," said Ronald S. Lauder. "Thirty years later, the Foundation's educational and community programming has rebuilt two generations of Jewish culture—one person at a time. Had we not created the foundation when we did, I fear that Jewish life as we know it would be non-existent throughout Central and Eastern Europe. I'm proud of the work we've accomplished so far, and look forward to a future of growth, expansion and success."

"I've seen first-hand how the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation's efforts have rebuilt Jewish communities where the destruction of the Holocaust was followed by the oppression of Communist rule," said Rabbi Josh Spinner, Executive Vice President and CEO of the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation. "Our work to bring Jewish life to communities across Europe has strengthened communities from Budapest to Berlin and connected two generations of Jews back to their faith and their people."

The anniversary ceremonies began with a symposium at the Neue Galerie on the future of Jewish education in the Diaspora. The symposium, "Underwriting the Future: Reflections on Thirty Years of Experience with Jewish Schools in Europe," began with remarks from Ronald S. Lauder on his work and philanthropy. Next, Dr. George Ban presented a history of the Foundation and Rabbi Josh Spinner discussed the importance of learning from each other. After two sets of small-group discussions, Richard D. Parsons delivered closing remarks explaining why the Ronald S. Lauder foundation is different and unique.

The evening celebration of the Foundation's 30th Anniversary took place at the Jewish Museum. This event also featured inspiring speeches from Israeli Minister of Education and Minister of Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett, and Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Additionally, youth from across Central and Eastern Europe spoke about the ways in which the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation has impacted their lives, from the classroom to the synagogue. A highlight of the evening was the singing of "Hatikvah," the Israeli national anthem, in which each stanza was sung by the Jewish children of a different Lauder school.

Established in 1987 with the mission of preserving and revitalizing Jewish life across Europe through education, the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation is the industry leader in driving communal impact through education. Over the past 30 years, the Foundation has touched the lives of over 35,000 children and their families through a variety of programming that includes kindergartens, youth centers, summer camps, institutions of higher education, rabbinical training and e-learning centers. The Ronald S. Lauder Foundation currently operates 12 schools in 10 countries in Eastern and Central Europe.

Avi Small

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