On Sunday May 3rd, American Friends of Laniado Hospital in Netanya, Israel will pay tribute to Mr. Bruce Ratner, the Chairman of the JewishHeritage Museum in New York at its special dinner marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of survivors from death camps in Eastern Europe in 1945. For Mr. Ratner, one of New York’s most prominent developers, the milestone of the 70th anniversary is of enormous significance. He lost more than 100 members of his family in the Holocaust but he also has a deep connection to the Sanz-Klauzenberger Rebbe who founded the hospital.
Following the war, as most of the skeletal survivors rebuilt their shattered lives, Rabbi Halberstam set out to redeem a pledge he made as he lay dying from a gunshot wound after losing his wife and 11 children at the hands of the Nazis. Should he survive, the Rebbe vowed, he would build a hospital in Eretz Israel that would provide quality medical care for all.
Mr. Ratner’s connection to the Rebbe goes back to his grandfatherBernard (Dov-Ber) Spott after whom he isnamed.An article in the Golden Anniversary Journal of Shomrei Shabbos Synagogue of Cleveland, published c. 1955 and reprinted in the June, 1997 Cleveland Kol (publication of the Cleveland Jewish Genealogical Society, p. 187) says that Reb Dov Ber joined Shomrei Shabbos in1906 and served over the years as Secretary, Trustee and Baal Koreh for 25 years. He was a Sanzer chasid and as in fact born in Sanz.
On May 3rd, the American Friends of Laniado Hospital will mark the important milestone of 70 years since the liberation at its annual dinner with an “Evening of Commemoration” at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan, which is chaired by Mr. Ratner. Since opening its doors in 1976, Laniado Hospital – Sanz Medical Center has emerged as a modern and highly advanced medical center with expertise in almost all major medical disciplines. Its modern 430 bed comprehensive health care facility is the only hospital serving Netanya’s 350,000 residents as well as the rapidly growing city’s surrounding towns and villages.
In announcing the special tribute to Mr. Ratner, Dinner Chairman Attorney Neil Goldstein called it “a fitting recognition for a Jewish philanthropist who is deeply committed to perpetuating the lessons of the past as a means of securing a bright Jewish future.” He continued: “Mr. Ratner’s chairmanship of the Museum of Jewish Heritage is an example of his dedication to the education of future generations about the horrors of the Holocaust.”
In response, Mr. Ratner said that he “was honored to be recognized by such an important medical institution that was borne out of the pain and suffering of a revered rabbi.” He added: “My connection to Sanz through my grandfather only reinforces my genuine appreciation for this recognition.”Mr. Ratner was born in Cleveland, the son of Harry Ratowczer (later Americanized to Ratner), one of eight children to immigrate to the US from Poland. Four of his paternal uncles founded Forest City Enterprises in 1920; originally a construction materials company it eventually evolved into construction and then into real estate development. Ratner’s older brother is New York attorney Michael Ratner and his sister is Ellen Ratner, a news analyst for Fox News. Ratner graduated from Harvard College in 1967, and earned a Juris Doctor from Columbia University in 1970.After law school, he worked for the City of New York. Under Mayor Ed Koch he became consumer affairs commissioner where he went after corrupt merchants, repairmen and alarm companies. He then turned to developing real estate
The dinner is being dedicated to the completion of a new $8 million Birthing Center and Neonatal Center, the fifth building of the Laniado medical campus. The new center will include such specialties as neonatology, fertility and birthing facilities. Laniado is one of Israel’s leading hospitals in terms of the number of annual births which in 2014 numbered 7,723.
For more information on the special Evening of Commemoration, please call 212.944.2690.