UK Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould greeted a large crowd Tuesday as he inaugurated the Wohl Legacy Room at the Jerusalem Great Synagogue. The ceremony took place in the presence of Ella Latchman, Trustee of the Wohl Charitable Foundation and sister of the late Maurice Wohl, and Martin Paisner, Chairman of the Maurice and Vivienne Wohl Philanthropic Foundation and Trustee of the Maurice Wohl Charitable Foundation.
Together with Professor David Latchman, chairman of the Maurice Wohl Charitable Foundation, the Ambassador highlighted the inspiration of the late Maurice and Vivienne Wohl to a new generation of philanthropists around the world. “Maurice and Vivienne Wohl continue to be an inspiration for others in their generosity, and in the flipside of their generosity, their remarkably modest lifestyle,” said Ambassador Gould.
He shared that he goes to the Wohl Rose Garden, located close to the Knesset building, when he has a moment to breathe between meetings.
“Maurice and Vivienne exemplified how strong the links are between the UK and Israel at all levels. It became clear as I traveled around the country the role the UK Jewish community has played and continues to play in building Israel. I was struck by the role philanthropy has played in Israel. It became clear to me that the Diaspora in the UK still has a worthwhile role,” he told the crowd.
Maurice Wohl Charitable Foundation chair David Latchman, nephew of Maurice and Vivienne and trustee of the Maurice and Vivienne Wohl Philanthropic Foundation, explained the vision behind the Wohl Legacy Room. “We want those who visit the Wohl Legacy Room to learn from it how Maurice and Vivienne lived their lives and to be inspired to think about how they, too, can give back and contribute to improving the world,” he said. “While some of the projects they supported were vast in scale and scope, they also helped many individuals with private donations. Charitable giving comes in all shapes and sizes. This is the message we hope will stay with people.”
The Wohls supported 150 projects in Israel, the United Kingdom and the former Soviet Union, in addition to numerous donations to individuals. They gave to Jewish and non-Jewish institutions, spanning culture, medicine, science, religion, and academia.
In Israel, Wohl projects include the Wohl Rose Garden near the Knesset and the Wohl Archeological Museum in Jerusalem’s Old City; the Wohl Amphitheatre in Tel Aviv’s HaYarkon Park; the Wohl Torah Center at Yeshivat HaKotel and the Wohl Torah Centre at Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav; the Wohl Convention Centre, Bar-Ilan University; and, wings, centers, and projects at Bikur Cholim, Hadassah, Shaarei Tzedek, Sourasky, Rambam and Schneider Hospitals, among others.
The Wohl Legacy Room is housed in the Jerusalem Great Synagogue, where the Wohls were founder members and where Maurice served as president. Designer Eliya Shapiro, whose work is featured in Israel’s major museums, combines recent photos and video footage with archival material spanning decades to inspire others to follow in the Wohls’ footsteps of tzedakah and community responsibility.
The Wohl Legacy Room is to be open to the public daily, 9 am - 12 noon.