Bruce Ratner, executive chairman of Forest City Ratner Companies, was elected chairman-elect of the board of trustees of the Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, according to a June 12 press release. Ratner is the principle developer of The Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, which includes the new Barclays Center arena.
The position of chairman-elect is a new one for the museum, and is intended to ease the process of succession within the board. The current chairman, Robert M. Mogenthau, has served in the position since 1982 and will assume the post of chairman emeritus following a transition period.
“I’m… thrilled that the Board has elected Bruce Ratner as the Chairman-elect,” wrote Morgenthau in a statement. “Bruce has long been a friend to me and the Museum.”
Ratner has been a member of the museum’s board of trustees since 1996. He was also co-chair of its building committee and provided pro-bono project management services through his company during the museum’s expansion in the early 2000s. The Robert M. Morgenthau Wing opened in September 2003.
In a statement provided by the museum, Ratner recalled how his own family was affected by the Holocaust.
“After the war, my mother committed herself to resettling survivors, finding homes and apartments,” he said. “She, most of all, would remind us, ‘Never Forget.’ In that spirit, and her memory, I’m humbled and excited to accept the position of Chairman-elect.”
Who knew the man behind the Brooklyn homecomings of Jay-Z and Barbra Streisand had a thing for heimishe melodies?
Bruce Ratner, the developer and majority owner of the Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn, which opened last September with a Jay-Z show and hosted borough native Barbra Streisand a month later, holds a special place in his heart for cantorial music.
“My parents are both from Eastern European descent, so that type of Jewish music is in my blood,” Ratner said. “I grew up going to my Conservative synagogue in Cleveland, where they had an amazing cantor who I absolutely loved to listen to. And as I got older, I was always buying cantor CDs. The music is just so refined.”
Ratner, the chairman and chief executive of the real estate development firm Forest City Companies, is taking personal pride in having spearheaded efforts to put on the first Jewish event at the venue: a February 28 concert featuring the renowned Israeli-born violinist Itzhak Perlman sharing the stage with Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot. The Barclays performance comes on the heels of the pair’s recent collaboration, “Eternal Echoes: Songs and Dances for the Soul,” an album of Jewish music released in August.