$40M for tolerance – Wiesenthal center’s largest gift

Los Angeles businessman Gary Winnick has donated $40 million to a peace and tolerance institute being built in Jerusalem by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The Winnick Institute Jerusalem is projected to cost $120 million and will be designed by architect Frank O. Gehry.

Winnick, founder and chairman of both Global Crossing Ltd. and the Pacific Capital Group, was listed last September in Forbes magazine as being worth $3.2 billion and has been called the wealthiest man in Los Angeles.

The center’s founder, Rabbi Marvin Hier, originally approached Winnick for a project and donation only one-third the size of what is now being planned, the Times says.

This is the largest gift by far the Winnick Foundation has given to date.

Unlike the Wiesenthal Center’s Los Angeles Museum, the Winnick Institute will not concentrate on the Holocaust but on how people of all faith and creeds can live together with civility and respect. Hier says the center is not intended just for Jewish issues.

“The museum will not seek to impose any political, theological or ideological point of view, except that of promoting mutual respect.”

The institute, which is expected to be completed in 2004,  will include a high-tech interactive museum as well as a theater for lectures and films and a large meeting hall. 

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