On Wednesday, May 29, 2013, Hillel held its annual Renaissance Award Dinner honoring Senator Frank Lautenberg. The event was an enormous success, with more than 400 attendees, and raised more than $1.1 million for our important work with students at colleges and universities around the world.
About Hillel’s Renaissance Award
In tribute to U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.) for his contributions in business, politics, and public service, Hillel has presented him with the Renaissance Award at Hillel’s Renaissance Gala at the Pierre Hotel in New York City. Hillel’s Renaissance Award is presented annually to an individual whose bold vision and initiatives enrich the Jewish community and the world. Photos of the event can be found on flickr, and the full press release may be found here.
About Senator Frank Lautenberg
Born of poor, immigrant parents, Frank R. Lautenberg has truly lived the American dream, flourishing both in business and politics. After serving his country in the Army Signal Corps in Europe during WWII, he studied economics at Columbia University on the G.I. Bill. With this solid education, he joined the late Henry Taub and his brother Joe in the very early stages of the founding of America’s first payroll services company, Automatic Data Processing, and together they built one of the most successful companies in the world.
After achieving success in business, he sought to serve his country again, this time through politics. Now in his fifth term in the United States Senate, Senator Lautenberg’s long list of accomplishments includes: authoring a law allowing persecuted Soviet Jews and other religious minorities to come to the United States; blocking aid to nations that support terrorism; writing the law that prohibited gun sales to domestic abusers; and strengthening our nation’s drunk driving laws. One of his foremost accomplishments was writing the law that banned smoking on airplanes, which made people aware of the dangers of second hand smoke and started the smoke free revolution. He also wrote the law that banned smoking in all federally funded buildings that serve children. The Senator has long been a leader on protecting the environment and improving transportation. He also works tirelessly to improve access to health insurance, support military families, strengthen Amtrak, reverse global warming, and make college more affordable. Senator Lautenberg currently serves as Chairman of two Senate subcommittees: the Financial Services subcommittee of Appropriations and the Surface Transportation subcommittee of Commerce.
Senator Lautenberg resides in Cliffside Park, NJ. He and his wife, Bonnie, have six children and 13 grandchildren.
The Lautenberg Prize
In 2013, NCSJ: Advocates on Behalf of Jews in Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic States & Eurasia, established the Lautenberg Prize, which will be presented annually to organizations and individuals who work to strengthen Jewish identity within the Russian-speaking Jewish community in the United States. Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life is pleased to join with NCSJ in presenting the inaugural Lautenberg Prize to Genesis Philanthropy Group at the May 29 Hillel Renaissance Gala.
The prize was named in honor of U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, who authored the amendment carrying his name, which allowed Jews and other religious minorities from the former Soviet Union to immigrate to the United States.
For nearly a century, Hillel’s network of dedicated student leaders, professionals and volunteers has encouraged generations of young adults to celebrate Jewish learning and living, to pursue social justice (tikkun olam and tzedek) and connect to their peers and the global Jewish people.
Each year, Hillel provides 400,000 Jewish college students at 550 colleges and universities in North America and at 55 Hillels around the world with the opportunity to experience innovative and meaningful Jewish experiences. By participating in life-changing trips and campus initiatives, students learn to make a meaningful impact on the future of the Jewish people and the world while they grow intellectually, socially and spiritually. At the heart of the Hillel network is the Charles and Lynn Schusterman International Center, supporting local Hillels to ensure that we achieve our mission “to enrich the lives of Jewish students so they may enrich the Jewish people and the world.”
The future of the Jewish people rests on the next generation’s confidence in charting its own Jewish course. Hillel provides the foundation for this. To develop leaders on campus, we offer Jewish learning initiatives, social action activities, immersive travel experiences such as alternative breaks and Israel trips, and more. Hillels around the world facilitate student celebrations of Shabbat and Jewish holidays on and off campus. We help students build lifelong connections to their Jewish lives, to each other, and to global Jewish communities.