The Sandy Breslauer Garden was dedicated on Monday at the Marcus Family Campus of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev as part of the University's 41st Annual Board of Governors Meeting. The garden, named for a long-time supporter and humanitarian who passed away last year, was dedicated in the presence of her husband Stephen (Steve) Breslauer of Houston, Texas and friends.
University President Prof. Rivka Carmi welcomed the guests, noting that the Garden was located in the “Soref-Breslauer Estate” next to the existing Breslauer Family Garden and adjacent to the Samuel Soref School of Mechanical Engineering Buildings. “Sandy was a very special woman who combined her love for people with a special gift to make them feel good,” Carmi said, noting that everyone who met Sandy loved her and her love of life. “The majestic cypress trees will grow tall and elegant, just like Sandy, raising the spirit of those around her.”
“When Sandy and I first visited BGU almost two decades ago, it was love at first sight... not with the buildings as most of them were not here. She fell in love with the students and with the spirit of the university,” said Stephen, clearly moved by the setting. “Her greatest joy was visiting with the students on campus and off, hearing their dreams and aspirations,” he explained. “Though Sandy is now gone, her spirit lives on through this garden, bringing beauty, serenity and joy to all who pass this way,” he said, before unveiling the plaque.
Immediately following the ceremony, family and friends visited Sandy’s Activity Center, currently under construction in the Dalet neighborhood of Beer-Sheva. The Center is part of the University’s Open Apartments project, where students live in the city’s poorest neighborhoods to reach out to the local community, under the auspices of the Community Action Unit (CAU). In exchange for housing, students volunteer in the neighborhoods running a variety of activities for community members.
The Open Apartments program was a great passion of Sandy’s. The Greater Texas Region of American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev paid tribute to her life at their recent annual community gala, raising funds for the Center. “Sandy loved the Open Apartments project and would show up determined to make the children smile,” recounted CAU Director Vered Sarousi Katz. “It was amazing to watch her work, using her magic and personality to charm the kids,” she continued, adding that Sandy and Steve embody the very spirit of the Open Apartments. “It is hard to say who was having a better time – Sandy or the kids!”
In addition to the extraordinarily generous philanthropic activities Sandy undertook with Steve, she gave freely of her own personal time to help a child in need – often by dressing up as a clown and visiting hospitals in Houston and Israel. Not content with just cheering up sick kids, the Breslauers, led by Sandy’s open heart, opened the doors of their own home to a succession of foster children, setting them on a path to a happy and successful life.
Above: Stephen Breslauer speaking at the dedication ceremony while close friends Arline and Ben Guefen look on.
Above: Stephen Breslauer of Houston, Texas unveils the plaque at the Sandy Breslauer Memorial Garden in memory of his wife as BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi looks on.