Audrey and Zygi Wilf will receive the Chief Visionaries award at the annual Rutgers Hillel dinner on May 28.
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May 08, 2008
A $2 million lead gift by the Wilf family to the capital campaign funding a new Rutgers Hillel student center will be announced on May 28 at the organization’s annual dinner.
At the Celebration of Our Future dinner, Audrey and Zygi Wilf of Springfield and Jane and Mark Wilf of Livingston will be honored with the Chief Visionaries award.
Zygi Wilf is the endowment foundation chair of the Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey and former president of the federation. Mark Wilf is also former president of the federation.
Hillel’s capital and endowment campaign, which is chaired by both Wilf couples, is seeking to raise $15 million to build a new headquarters at George Street and Bishop Place to replace Hillel’s cramped College Avenue site.
It has so far brought in about $5 million toward the three-story, 35,000- square-foot facility, according to Hillel executive director Andrew Getraer.
The new site overlooking the Raritan River will feature a large dining area, kosher cafe, classrooms, offices, an Israel resource center, computer lab, exhibit gallery, social lounge, and prayer space for all denominations.
“This is very early on in our campaign so we’re very encouraged by the response,” said Getraer. “We purchased the land in December, culminating a five-year search. We are excited about its size and visibility.”
“We are trying to teach by example,” said Mark and Jane Wilf of the $2 million gift they and Audrey and Zygi Wilf made toward a new building for Rutgers Hillel. They also are recipients of the Chief Visionaries award.
Getraer said it was significant that the Wilf family does not have a connection to Rutgers. Last month Jane and Mark Wilf, a 1984 alumnus of Princeton University, gave $5 million to Princeton to build a new dormitory and establish a fund to support programming in the Center for Jewish Life there.
“None of them are graduates of Rutgers and none of their children are alums, but they appreciate that Rutgers is our state university and Rutgers Hillel serves some 5,000 Jewish students, which makes it a very significant institution in engaging our future leaders and participants in Jewish life,” he said.
“We are trying to teach by example,” Jane and Mark Wilf said in a statement. “We want our children to understand and appreciate their past. We hope they will grow up knowing that it is every Jew’s responsibility to work for the betterment of their community.”
Getraer said Hillel would like to raise about 75 percent of the money before breaking ground, which he expects will be about a year from now. The student agency is in the process of interviewing architectural firms and has narrowed the search to six firms. A decision is anticipated by the dinner, after which Getraer said Hillel will enter the design phase of the project.
The Wilf family, principals in a widespread family real estate business, support a wide variety of Jewish causes and institutions, including Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem. They have made significant contributions to Yeshiva University; its main campus in Manhattan was renamed the Wilf campus in 2002.
Richard Corman will receive the Rabbi Julius Funk Alumni award.
They will be introduced at the Rutgers Hillel dinner by YU president Richard Joel, who previously served as president and international director of Hillel.
Richard Corman of Westfield, chief operating officer of the Manhattan Jewish Experience and former executive director of the Jewish Community Center of Central New Jersey in Scotch Plains, will receive the Rabbi Julius Funk Alumni award.
Corman is former student president of Rutgers Hillel and the immediate past president of the Rutgers Hillel board of directors. He is the parent of two recent Rutgers graduates.
Rising Stars awards will also be given to four student leaders: Michelle Rosenberg of West Orange, Covey Schnipper of Fair Lawn, Eytan Morgenstern of Montgomery, Ala., and Jillian Schlanger of New City, NY.
Rutgers Hillel will hold its annual dinner, A Celebration of Our Future, on Wednesday, May 28, at 7 p.m. at the Douglass College Center, New Brunswick. Dinner couvert is $180. Dietary laws will be observed. To RSVP, go on-line or call 732-545-2407.
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