Philanthropic leader Irving Schneider, a founding board member of The Jewish Week and major sponsor of the Schneider Children’s Hospitals here and in Israel, died in Palm Beach, Fla., on Nov. 23. He was 93.
Schneider was chairman and chief operating officer of the real estate concern Helmsley-Spear, Inc., where he worked for more than 50 years. He was a major donor to numerous causes, including Brandeis University — where he was a trustee from 1970-1994 and served as vice chair from 1971-‘83 and 1987-‘93 — and UJA-Federation of New York, which he served as a life trustee.
“In addition to being a longtime generous donor to UJA-Federation, Irving Schneider played a far broader role,” the charity’s executive vice president and CEO, John Ruskay, told The Jewish Week on Tuesday.
“He was central in mobilizing the New York Jewish community and the American Jewish community to stand with the people of Israel to solidify its commitment. He knew how important it was to the Jewish present and the Jewish future.”
Ruskay noted that at the launch of Operation Exodus in the late 1980s, which brought 700,000 Soviet Jews to Israel and 130,000 to New York, Schneider was one of 20 philanthropists who made multimillion-dollar commitments to fund the historic program.
“He did it with his dollars, his leadership and his recognition of the import of Israel to the Jewish people,” said Ruskay.
Peter Wang, president of the board of directors of The Jewish Week, noted that Schneider was one of nine local Jewish leaders to respond to the urgings of Rabbi Emanuel Rackman and businessman Robert Arnow in the mid-1970s to help establish a high-quality Jewish newspaper in New York.
“He was a leader in so many walks of life, from business to the field of health to the informational needs of our community,” said Wang.
Schneider was also a member of the board of governors of the Jewish Agency and a trustee of Tel Aviv University and the Museum of Jewish Heritage-Living Memorial to the Holocaust in Manhattan.
Born in Brooklyn, he graduated from Boys High School and received his degree from the City College of New York in 1939, according to Brandeis University, which awarded him an honorary doctorate of humane letters in 1983.
He served as a first lieutenant in the Army Air Corps during World War II.
Schneider is survived by his daughters, Mindy and Lynn, and four grandchildren, Jeremiah, Max, Katie and Jake. His wife Helen died in 2001.
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