Taking a major step forward in its transformational Early Childhood Education and community-building project, Stephen Wise Temple and Wise School are honored to announce a $2 million commitment from longtime Wise members Wendy and Ken Ruby. This generous gift represents a significant milestone on the way to reaching the $12 million match offered by the Lowell Milken Family to revolutionize Wise’s Early Childhood Education curriculum and faculty.
“Ken and Wendy Ruby have been involved in every aspect of the development of Stephen Wise Temple and schools,” said Senior Rabbi Yoshi Zweiback. “This transformational gift is a powerful sign of their unflagging commitment to the future of our community. Their belief in the importance of investing in Jewish Early Childhood education inspires me and is something for which our entire community can be grateful.”
The Ruby family has a strong connection to the Wise community that began with Rabbi Isaiah Zeldin (Z”L) during the start of his tenure at Temple Emanuel. Wendy, then 15, was confirmed by the new rabbi, which began a relationship that continued on when Rabbi Zeldin established the new Wise community. Rabbi Zeldin and Cantor Nathan Lam married all three of the Ruby daughters (Jill, Cynthia, and Debra) and also officiated at their Bat Mitzvahs and Confirmations. Wise has seen three generations of the Ruby family celebrate simchas: Rabbi David Woznica presided over the naming of Wendy and Ken’s granddaughter Jenna, Jill’s daughter.
“Wendy and Ken epitomize what we all strive to be,” said Wise President Janine Kolodny. “They are genuine, kind, humble, and caring. Ken has played a major role in every one of our building projects and we are tremendously excited to also have his expertise and guidance as we transform our campus with this new facility. We are so grateful for the Ruby family’s incredible generosity.”
The Ruby family’s commitment to future generations is evident in their broad-ranging philanthropic work in youth education, the arts, and Jewish continuity. They are involved with Generation Exchange, American Youth Symphony, Russell Steinberg’s Los Angeles Youth Orchestra, Skirball Cultural Center, Hebrew Union College, American Jewish Committee, and UCLA.
Wendy is particularly passionate about Generation Exchange, which trains senior citizens to become classroom aids with teachers in underserved Los Angeles communities. “It has had a positive impact on seniors,” explained Wendy. “They make friends, connections with teachers and students, and experience positive changes in their health, including improved vital signs. It has been great for the children, many of whom have made deep connections with these aids.”
This inspiring passion for connecting generations is in perfect sync with the goals of the next phase in Wise’s project: creating a world class Early Childhood Education facility and program for all ages and demographics within the Wise community and beyond.