US Jewish leader Schrayer remembered for vision, service

Schrayer chaired UJC's Israel Emergency Campaign in 2003 and had been a founding member and chair of UJC's National Young Leadership Cabinet.

schrayer 88 (photo credit:)
schrayer 88
(photo credit: )
Robert Schrayer, a much-loved and respected leader of the American and Illinois Jewish community, was laid to rest in Glencoe, Illinois on Sunday. He died last Thursday at the age of 75. Schrayer's involvement at the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago (JUF/JF) and the United Jewish Communities was extensive. He served as chair of UJC's National Emergency Campaign from 2000 to 2002 during the second intifada and was vice-president and regional chair of one of UJC's predecessor organizations, the United Jewish Appeal. Schrayer passed his leadership skills to his son, Skip, who succeeded him as JUF/JF's Annual Campaign chair in 2006, representing the third generation of Schrayers to lead the campaign. Schrayer chaired UJC's Israel Emergency Campaign in 2003 and had been a founding member and chair of UJC's National Young Leadership Cabinet. Internationally, he served as a member of the executive committee of the Jewish Agency for Israel and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. He traveled to Israel many times. "I learned of the passing of Robert Schrayer with a profound sense of loss and sorrow," Ambassador to the US Sallai Meridor said. "He was a close personal friend and a great supporter of the State of Israel. Robert's work with the United Jewish Communities and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago will live on long after his untimely and unfortunate death." Schrayer also served as vice president, director and member of the Executive Committee of the American Jewish Committee, was a member of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel and served on the Board of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). His communal and philanthropic leadership also included serving on the Board of Governors of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, president of the Chicago Chapter of Friends of Hebrew University and as vice president and member of the Executive Committee of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS). As a distinguished communal leader, Schrayer was honored with the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago's highest honor, the Julius Rosenwald Memorial Award. He was the first recipient to be honored with the UJA National Young Leadership Cabinet's Herbert Garon Award and the Chicago Federations' Young Leadership Award. The Chicago Chapter of the American Jewish Committee also honored him with the Human Rights Medallion Award. "Bob Schrayer was a source of great pride and inspiration to our Jewish community," said Steven B. Nasatir, president of the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago. "He was a powerhouse of vision and good deeds. He followed in the footsteps of his late father, Max R. Schrayer, who three times served as the General Campaign chairman. Bob is among only a handful of people to lead the JUF-JF Board twice - as president from 1979-81 and as chairman in 1998." "Among his many roles at UJC and in the federation system, Bob had a special interest in reaching the next generation," said Joe Kanfer, chair of the UJC Board of Trustees. "He saw the importance in passing on his Jewish values to our future leaders, just as his father had before him. This was evident in his work and in the fact that his own children are involved in Jewish communal life. Bob is a light unto the nations that will lead the way for generations to come." "Bob put his heart and soul into the federation system," added UJC president and CEO Howard Rieger. "He was a leader with vision who will be dearly missed by his colleagues, friends and by the many people worldwide who benefited from his tzedaka [charity]." The Schrayer family has lived in the Chicago Jewish community since before the Civil War. One of Bob's favorite Jewish mottos was "le'dor va'dor" - from generation to generation. He received the "Keter Shem Tov - The Crown of the Good Name" - from his parents and grandparents before him. He has now passed it on to his children and their children. The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago has established a Robert M. Schrayer Memorial Fund.