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NEWS - News of the Lodges

"Even in a life as full as Fred’s it is hard to fully comprehend the breadth of his volunteer and philanthropic activities”

B'nai B'rith World Center Chairman Haim V. Katz and Director Alan Schneider expressed profound grief at the passing of Fred Simon Worms, OBE, Founding Chairman of the B'nai B'rith World Center International Board of Trustees, in Jerusalem at the age of 91. Fred Worms was an exceedingly dedicated and generous supporter of the World Center for nearly 25 years.

Fred Worms

Fred had also served as a member of the B'nai B'rith International Board of Governors, President of B'nai B'rith UK and Chairman of the B'nai B'rith Hillel Foundation in London in which capacity he oversaw the creation of a network of Hillel Houses that significantly strengthened Jewish student life on British campuses.  While president of B'nai B'rith UK he founded the B'nai B'rith Housing Trust that built much-needed low-rent housing for seniors. In recognition of his service to the elderly in Britain, Fred was named Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 1998.

Katz said that Worms was a sterling example of selfless leadership and personal philanthropy in a vast array of institutions and initiatives that reflected his deep devotion to the city of Jerusalem, the State of Israel, British Jewry and the Jewish People. "Even in a life as full as Fred's, it is hard to fully comprehend the breadth of his volunteer and philanthropic activities," Katz said.

Fred was born in Frankfurt, Germany and moved to Britain as a young refugee in 1937. He qualified as a chartered accountant and, notwithstanding his pursuit of a successful career in business, devoted much of his time and efforts to the Jewish community. A leader of Britain's Jewish Community, Fred Worms was a visionary who pioneered the revival of Jewish education in the UK for over fifty years, co-founding Immanuel College Jewish secondary school in London. He also assumed key leadership roles including founder of the Jewish Educational Development Trust, chairman of the European Jewish Publication Society and president of the Maccabi World Union. He was a long time Hebrew University supporter and Board of Governors member, initiating, among other things, the stunning new Scopus Student Village dormitory complex that has already had a profound impact on the lives of thousands of students.  He received an honorary Doctorate of Philosophy from the university in 2007.  He was made an Honorary Fellow of the Israel Museum, where he was responsible for bringing the Cochin Synagogue from India to its current home in the museum and establishing an arts wing.

Working closely with his wife Della, Fred made an indelible imprint on education and culture in Jerusalem, supporting the Pelech Experimental High School, the Efrata Elementary School, the Hartman Institute, the Gilo Community Center, the Jerusalem Cinematheque, the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Jerusalem College of Technology and many other institutions. In 2011, Fred received the Teddy Kollek Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to enhancing the social, cultural, educational and physical development of the city of Jerusalem.

Three years ago, after a life-long love story with the City of Jerusalem and after owning a home and living intermittently in the city for decades, Fred and Della formally made aliya.

B'nai B'rith World Center Director Alan Schneider said that up until shortly before his death, Fred took an active interest in the Center's activities and had planned to attend a recent event at which the B'nai B'rith World Center Award for Journalism Recognizing Excellence in Diaspora Reportage was presented.

Fred's absence will be sorely felt by all those who knew him.