Azrieli Foundation gives US$18 million to Yeshiva University

From left, Rona Novick, dean of the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, Ari Berman, president of Yeshiva University, Sharon and Naomi Azrieli of the Azrieli Foundation and Herbert Dobrinsky, vice president for university affairs, pose for a photo at a ceremony in New York on Dec. 8.

The Azrieli Foundation, a Canadian non-profit, has donated US$18 million to Yeshiva University in New York.

The funds will support the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, which was established in 1983 through a major donation by the late Montreal architect and developer David Azrieli and his family, who are longtime supporters of the university. The donation will also fund undergraduate scholarships.

This latest donation was announced by Naomi Azrieli, chair and CEO of the Azrieli Foundation, at Yeshiva University’s 95th annual Hanukkah dinner and convocation on Dec. 8 in New York.

The university said it is one of the largest gifts focused on Jewish education it has ever received.

Since opening 36 years ago, the Azrieli school has educated over 800 students from around the world. Its graduates are teaching in hundreds of classrooms, camps and Jewish places of learning.

“Graduates have demonstrated leadership both in the classroom and through service to their communities, and are shaping the landscape of Jewish education across the globe. This gift will help provide opportunities for undergraduates and graduates to receive a world-class education based in foundational Torah values and will enable faculty to continue innovating and enhancing programs,” said Ari Berman, the president of Yeshiva University.

“This historic gift to Jewish education and Jewish educators is transformative for the future of our communities.”

The university presented the Azrieli family with its inaugural Legacy Award, in recognition of their 36 years of support and the Toronto-based Azrieli Foundation’s 30 years of philanthropy.

“We are honoured to receive this recognition, which would have meant so much to my father,” said Azrieli, who was joined by her sister, Sharon, a member of the foundation’s board of directors.

“He held a deep belief, which we share, in the redemptive power of education. He also felt that his support of education wasn’t charity, as it was giving back what education had given to him.” David Azrieli died in 2014.

Founded in 1886, Yeshiva University has more than 7,400 undergraduate and graduate students at its four New York campuses. It has three undergraduate schools and the Azrieli school is one of eight graduate and affiliated schools.