Tradition and the school’s mission statement

Lauder School of Prague is a part of the European network of Lauder schools, which was established by the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation in 1990s in Central and Eastern Europe. The founding fathers of the Prague Lauder School were the Prague chief rabbi Karol Efraim Sidon and Leo Pavlát, the head of the Prague Jewish Museum and the Prague representative of the Lauder Foundation.

The current school building originally served the community as a Jewish orphanage in the pre-WWII era. In 1941 it housed the first performance of the famous Brundibár children opera, which later became a symbol of the children’s hope in Therezienstadt concentration camp.

The names of the respective parts of the school’s system allude to the great Czech Jewish scholar and rabbi Jehuda Liva ben Becalel known in the Jewish world as the Maharal. The kindergarten is called Gan Jehuda according to Maharal’s first name, the elementary school’s name Gur Arje was chosen according to Maharal’s book of commentaries on Torah and the high school’s name Or Chadaš is the title of Maharal’s book on Purim.

The Lauder school sees itself as a continuation of the tradition of the Oskar Epstein’s Jewish high school in Brno, Dr. Chaim Kugel’s Jewish high school in Mukachevo and the pre-WWII Jewish high school in Jachymova street in Prague.

Lauder school’s mission is expressed in the “Mission statement of Lauder foundation,” which reads:

We never call them remnants. Because remnants do not go to Jewish day schools.

We never call them dying Jewish communities. Because dying Jewish communities do not have sites on the World Wide Web.

And we never call them the last Jews of Central and Eastern Europe. Because of all of the creatures that God has created, a last Jew is simply not one of them.

At The Ronald S. Lauder Foundation, we call them the future, and for more than a decade, we have been committed to rebuilding Jewish life in that part of Europe where the destruction of the Holocaust was followed by the oppression of Communist rule.