update deskSchools & Higher Education

Vandals remove Perelman donor’s name from Drexel University Jewish center 

“Our policy of zero tolerance for antisemitism and all acts of intimidation, harassment and hatred remains in place,” said Drexel University president John Fry.

Raymond G. Perelman Center for Jewish Life at Drexel University. Credit: Courtesy of Drexel University.
Raymond G. Perelman Center for Jewish Life at Drexel University. Credit: Courtesy of Drexel University.

Vandals recently removed the name of a major Jewish philanthropist who donated $6 million to a Jewish student center at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

The act of erasing Raymond G. Perelman off of the Raymond G. Perelman Center for Jewish Life happened while the academic institution was closed last week, marking the end of the winter term.

His name still shows slightly on the red brick wall at the school known for its science, technology and engineering programs.

Drexel University president John Fry sent a statement to students on Tuesday about the incident, saying “it bears repeating that vandalizing centers of Jewish life and learning, defacing property with antisemitic graffiti, or ripping mezuzot off doorposts in residence halls does not constitute any legitimate form of protest. Such acts are antisemitic in their intent to disrupt Jewish life and intimidate our Jewish communities, and have no place at Drexel or in our democratic society.”

He added that “our policy of zero tolerance for antisemitism and all acts of intimidation, harassment and hatred remains in place.”

Drexel Public Safety and Philadelphia police are jointly investigating this incident, which was captured on video, as a hate crime.

Fry noted that “with Pesach starting in less than two weeks, we will continue to ensure that Jewish life, learning and holiday celebrations will always flourish at Drexel.”

Perelman died in 2019 at the age of 101. He donated to a number of Jewish educational facilities and cultural organizations in the city and the nearby suburbs, including the Perelman Jewish Day School and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which has an Art Deco building now associated with the museum named for the family.

The center at Drexel, which houses the campus Hillel, was designed by Stanley Saitowitz, who is also Jewish, in the style of a candelabra and a menorah.

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