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AJU Receives $4.5 Million Donation from Harold and Amy Masor, Renames School in Their Honor

American Jewish University (AJU) Chairman of the Board Harold Masor and his wife, Amy, announced their $4.5 million donation to AJU at the gala event held on Sunday, June 2.
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June 12, 2024
From left, American Jewish University professor Rabbi Elliot Dorff, Congressman Brad Sherman, AJU professor Dr. Michael Berenbaum, and AJU President Jeffrey Herbst.

American Jewish University (AJU) Chairman of the Board Harold Masor and his wife, Amy, announced their $4.5 million donation to AJU at the gala event held on Sunday, June 2. In recognition of this generous donation, the School for Jewish Education and Leadership will be renamed the Masor School for Jewish Education and Leadership.

“I am passionate about supporting Jewish education and ensuring the continuity of the Jewish people,” Masor said. “Amy and I believe that providing an endowment to AJU’s School for Jewish Education and Leadership is crucial to the success of the school and, subsequently, the Jewish community at large.”

In a further display of dedication, the Masors are extending their philanthropic support with an additional $550,000 donation earmarked for enhancing Camp Alonim, AJU’s Jewish summer camp in Simi Valley. This generous gift will directly support the thousands of children who attend Camp Alonim, allowing them to foster a deep connection to their Jewish heritage.

“Masor and Amy’s involvement with major Jewish organizations exemplifies their dedication to making a lasting and positive impact on the broader Jewish community,” said AJU in a statement. 

During the event, AJU President Jeffrey Herbst stated that the name change is most appropriate given the Masors’ dedication to Jewish education and continuity.

“This is especially important because we know that the decision to belong to a synagogue is often directly related to early childhood Jewish education.“
– AJU President Jeffrey Herbst

“We express our deepest gratitude to Amy and Harold Masor for their transformative contributions,” said Herbst. “This generous donation will enable us to strengthen our contribution, expand our reach, improve educational programs and drive positive change for generations to come. Now generations of teachers will be able to benefit from Harold and Amy’s generosity to serve and inspire Jewish children and their families. This is especially important because we know that the decision to belong to a synagogue is often directly related to early childhood Jewish education.”

Guests enjoyed a festive brunch that included an omelet stand, bagels, lox and cream cheese, waffles, salads and drinks. Stand-up comedian Elon Gold hosted the event, garnering laughs primarily through his Israeli imitations, explaining the differences between Israelis and American Jews and joking about those who refer to Israelis as colonialists: “Jewish settlers? The only place where Jews ever settled was the Catskill Mountains.” He quipped about Gen Z: “They don’t know what Intifada is; they think it’s something you order at Taco Bell.

Comedian Elon Gold

“I’ve been to Israel twice over the past few months and was happy to perform for the soldiers and offer some comic relief,” Gold said. “At one of the performances, I thanked the soldiers for protecting our people and the commander said, ‘Sorry, wait, wait, wait, wait.’ In Hebrew, every word is repeated several times, not just once: No, no, no, come, come, come.” 

Violinist Niv Ashkenazi and bassoonist Leah Kohn also performed at the event.

Violinist Niv Ashkenazi and bassoonist Leah Kohn

Earlier this year, on February 20, AJU finalized the sale of its Familian Campus to Milken Community School, the private Jewish high school and middle school in Bel Air. The sale enabled AJU to pay off all of its debt and achieve greater financial strength.

AJU still maintains the 2,700-acre Brandeis Campus in Simi Valley where Camp Alonim is run as well as additional programs. Rabbinical school classes will continue at a building in the Pico-Robertson area. Since the purchase was completed, AJU relocated a significant portion of its library (120,000 volumes) to the Brandeis-Bardin Campus.

During the gala, the university honored two veteran scholars: Michael Berenbaum, professor of Jewish studies and a well-known Holocaust scholar and Rabbi Elliot Dorff, rector and professor of philosophy and expert on Jewish law.

Berenbaum, former president and CEO of the Foundation for the Visual History of Holocaust Survivors and Rabbi Dorff, who has taught at AJU since 1971, are longtime colleagues and friends. They introduced each other, showing their deep appreciation and admiration for one another. They then presented each other with the university’s certificates of appreciation.

“Not only will this certificate hang in our house, but it will also each hang in each other’s home,” said Berenbaum. “Because it’s a friendship. It’s brotherhood. It is an ongoing dialogue between researchers, friends, rabbis and teachers. We continue this dialogue every Shabbat. Elliot comes to the synagogue to talk to God. I come to the synagogue to talk to Elliot.”

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