Vienna To Revive Jewish Intellectual Life

by B. Olidort - VIENNA, AUSTRIA

June 12, 2005

The first Jewish university to open in Continental Europe—the Lauder Business School, has installed a new director/rabbi to run the Jewish Heritage Center on its campus in Vienna.

Upon the invitation of Rabbi Jacob Biderman, director of Chabad of Vienna and representative of the Lauder Foundation in Austria, Rabbi Shaya Boaz has relocated from London, England, with his wife Sivan, to work with the School’s international student body.

“The Jewish Heritage Center was established to give Jewish students from Eastern Europe an equal opportunity, providing them with full scholarships, on campus residence and kosher meals,” explains Rabbi Boaz. The Center will also take responsibility for hosting Shabbat and Jewish holiday events, and a variety of programs to enhance the Jewish experience of the School’s students.

As the only Jewish university in Europe to offer combined graduate and undergraduate degrees in International Marketing and Management known as the “fachochshule” degree and recognized throughout the EU and the U.S., the Lauder Business School draws students from South America, Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Germany and other parts of Europe.

The “fachochsule” degree in business and applied sciences is generally awarded only to schools with a minimum of 1000, explains Rabbi Boaz. But Vienna’s Board of Higher Education chose to license the school to grant the degree even though it aims for a maximum enrollment of 240.

The school, founded on the vision and inspiration of philanthropist Ronald Lauder, is a new phenomenon in Austria. "It’s indicative that Vienna would like to encourage Jewish academic growth here,” says Rabbi Boaz. “The Mayor of Vienna donated the beautiful building and the grounds--formerly the dwelling of Maria Teresa, Austrian royalty,” he explains.

Vienna, once a hub of Jewish intellectual and creative vitality in which 20 out of 24 distinguished Austrians were Jewish, is hoping to replenish Jewish intellectual life where it had been entirely wiped out, says Boaz.

The four-year program demands an intensive, 36-hour week of study, and includes internship requirements and six hours a week of Judaic studies. The School is named for Ronald Lauder and the Lauder Foundation who donated five million Euros to restore the building. Bank Austria built the new quarters on the campus.

To learn more about the Lauder Business School, go to:

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