The Lauder Friendship Gala 2013


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For twelve consecutive years, under the patronage of the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation in Romania, the Lauder Friendship Gala celebrated Jewish and Christian winter holidays, by simultaneously lighting Hanukah and Christmas lights.

This powerful symbolic moment, inspired by tradition, is a sign of frienship and mutual respect among people and faiths. It has been appreciated and attended by numerous personalities: premiers Benjamin Netanyahu and Adrian Nastase (2004), governor Mugur Isarescu (2011), US and Israel ambassadors to Romania, External Affairs ministers, Education ministers, and other high-ranking officials from governments, presidential administrations, and the Parliament, as well as numerous businessmen from Romania and Israel, top managements representatives from multinational companies, banks, and other organizations.

The Lauder Friendship Gala is a charitable event. The money raised is used to improve the quality of education at the Lauder-Reut Educational Complex.

This year, the lighting of the Hanukah and Christmas lights was officiated by the president of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania, Dr. Deputy Aurel Vainer, and by the Sector 3 mayor, Mr. Robert Negoita, together with the Lauder-Reut Educational Complex students.

The hosts for the evening were Mrs. Tova Ben Nun-Cherbis, president of the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation in Romania and of the Lauder-Reut Educational Complex, and Dr. Remus Borza, who talked about the mission and the values of the Lauder-Reut Educational Complex, and about the efforts and the triumphs of its quest for a high-quality, holistic education, but also about the necessity of continued attention for the new generation.

The Friendship Gala’s program was presented by the Lauder-Reut students and by a popular group of actors from the Jewish State Theater, led by Maia Morgenstern, who put on a unique show for the guests. 

At the end of the event, numerous students were recognized for exceptional results in national and international contest and were offered diplomas and books by mayor Robert Negoita and by school inspectors Mihaela Neacsu and Mirela Craiu.

Gala Reut 350Over 400 guests, parents, partners, and sponsors participated in the event, together with high-ranking officials: Romanian Prime-Minister Victor Ponta, cabinet members, businessmen, ambassadors from Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, Poland, Austria, South Africa, and Israel, as well as well-known businessmen and other personalities.

Prime-Minister Victor Ponta thanked the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation for the invitation, saying, “I want to congratulate you. I found out about the exceptional results obtained by students and teachers at Lauder. I wish that more children in Romania had the opportunities and means that Lauder students have.”

“I appreciate tradition very much. I know that Hanukah celebrates a 2.200 year-old event, when the Jewish people took back their temple, which makes me think of the Romanian legend of Manole. Unfortunately, in Romania, we ruin the things we built during the day at night, so perhaps we have a lot to learn from a cultural that is so old and so special, that it’s good to re-build things and hold onto what you have rebuilt. It’s a lesson that we should teach the young generation – so that they will apply it better than we have been able to”, said Ponta while attending the 12th edition of the Lauder Friendship Gala.

“The most important Jewish landmarks in Bucharest are in Sector 3, so I am proud to say that I have a very good relationship with the Jewish community in Romania. I hope that together we will be able to accomplish wonderful things, including more help for the Lauder-Reut Educational Complex, a school that brings us wonderful results every time. I wish you lots of luck, happy holidays, and God bless”, said Sector 3 mayor Rober Negoita.

5D3 8277Sector 3 mayor, Robert Negoita, reaffirmed his satisfaction regarding his relationship with the Lauder Foundation and with the Lauder-Redut Educational Complex, especially as it relates to the projects they are working on together – the scholarship program at the Lauder-Reut Educational Complex, for students in Sector 3, as well as the project for extending the Lauder-Reut school campus. Mayor Negoita added, “I have a very good relationship with the Jewish community and we do lots of good things together (…) I hope that we will continue to better this relationship and accomplish even more together.”

He expressed his belief that Romanians have a lot to learn from the Israeli education system, that they have to have more determination and passion for education.

“My work mainly involves infrastructural problems, buildings and the likes; these problems are my responsibility and I own up to it. I hope that in two, three years, Sector 3 will be a model school district in Romania, but not only in Romania” mentioned the Sector 3 mayor.

Deputy Dr. Aurel Vainer, the president of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania, thanked us for the invitation and congratulated the Foundation and the Lauder-Reut Educational Complex for the wonderful tradition of lighting the Hanukah and Christmas candles, at the appropriately-named event, the Friendship Gala:

“The Jewish people have been saluting the world for 2.200 years, when a miracle took place. I am glad that this special event is taking place tonight, in an beautiful, friendly, and multi-dimensional atmosphere.”