Barbara Mandel, philanthropist, major Hebrew University supporter, social justice advocate and wife of 70 years to businessman and philanthropist Morton Mandel, died at her Palm Beach. Fla., home on November 21, 2019. She was 93.
Barbara served as honorary chairman of Hebrew University, as deputy chairman of the executive committee, and as co-chairman of its international fundraising campaign. She also served as the president of American Friends of Hebrew University.
A month earlier, on October 16, her husband Morton passed away at age 98.
CFHU attendees of the Board of Governors meetings have fond memories of the Mandels’ participation there.
In addition to the several charitable foundations that the Mandels created and funded, they were generous donors to several universities.
The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School for Advanced Studies in the Humanities was inaugurated in 2015 on HU’s Mount Scopus campus. At the same time, the new Barbara Mandel Auditorium was opened in recognition of her work as Honorary Chair of the Board of Governors of Hebrew University.
The Mandel School for Advanced Studies in the Humanities is home to the Mandel-Scholion Center, as well as to honours programs, advanced degree students and fellows in the humanities, senior researchers and recipients of major research grants. It has become the center of a dynamic and creative academic community in the Faculty of Humanities, contributing to the advancement of the humanities at Hebrew University, in Israeli society, and internationally. The Mandel Foundation approved an $18 million grant for the building to house the new school, as well as a grant of $2.5 million for programs. The Mandel Foundation was established by Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel of Cleveland, Ohio in 1953.
Spanning almost eight decades, Morton Mandel’s business career and subsequent philanthropic endeavors supported a range of social leadership, educational and Jewish community initiatives worldwide. There were three things about him that stood out: great modesty, constant striving for excellence and maybe most important of all – leadership in education, which contributed to many education systems and higher education.
Barbara Mandel was described as a “force of nature,” working tirelessly and effectively for causes that interested her. Her last trip to Israel was in October to attend her husband’s memorial service in Jerusalem and to attend a board meeting at Hebrew University. She received honorary degrees from Hebrew University and Brandeis University. The focus of her philanthropy included leadership education programs, higher education, human services and the arts.