March 10, 2016 — The School of Education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem will be named the Seymour Fox School of Education in honor of the School’s former head and an innovative leader whose impact has benefited education in Israel, the United States and around the world.
“Seymour was an esteemed leader and visionary educator,” said Hebrew University of Jerusalem President Professor Menahem Ben-Sasson. “In naming our School of Education in his honor, we wish to acknowledge the profound influence he had on our university, and his lifelong passion for education and the institutions he built.”
A dedication program will take place on Monday, March 14, 2016.
The university also announced the creation of the Fox Family Chair for Teacher Education at the Seymour Fox School of Education, which will be added to the recently established Morton L. Mandel Directorship of the Seymour Fox School of Education and the Marc Besen Family Chair.
David Fox, one of Seymour Fox’s sons, said: “My family is deeply humbled by this dedication in honor of our father. His commitment to education remains an inspiration for teachers, students and other leaders in Israel and the Jewish community around the world.”
Seymour Fox Biography
Seymour Fox served as the head of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s School of Education for 14 years, beginning in 1966. During his tenure, he demonstrated his creativity and entrepreneurial spirit by introducing new programs for early childhood education and curriculum writing, establishing the Melton Centre for Jewish Education and hosting visiting U.S. and European educational scholars at the School of Education. He believed in inspiring educators to creativity through a clear and intelligible vision. Indeed, many of Fox’s students have become leaders in Israeli and Jewish education worldwide.
Prior to his leadership role at Hebrew University, Fox attended the University of Chicago, where he obtained his Ph.D. He set out to study medicine, but switched to educational studies after coming under the influence of Jewish philosopher Simon Rawidowicz at the University’s College of Jewish Studies. In 1956, Fox was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and began his work with the Seminary’s Teachers Institute, where he later became dean.
In the years that followed, Fox was instrumental in developing and growing Camp Ramah, a network of Jewish summer camps in the United States, Canada and Israel, considered the “crown jewel” of the Conservative Movement. For thousands of Jewish youth, Camp Ramah has been a seminal experience in developing their commitment to Judaism and to leadership within the Jewish community.
Later in his career, Fox served as the first president of the largest foundation for Jewish education in the world, the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation – Israel, and founded with Mort Mandel the Mandel Leadership Institute. He also served as an adviser to Ministers of Education in Israel.
Fox passed away in 2006, at the age of 77. He was often described as a “larger than life” figure known for his energy, his powerful personality and his innovative thinking. His influence on Jewish education around the world has been called “inestimable,” in terms of the financial resources he raised, the institutions he founded, and the intellectual contributions of the general education and Judaica scholars he brought together to advance Jewish education.