Tributes for Aron Kleinlehrer
Benefactor passes away

Tributes for Aron Kleinlehrer

Aron Kleinlehrer has been remembered as a "force of nature" after the philanthropist passed away aged 100.

Aron Kleinlehrer. Photo: Justine Perl
Aron Kleinlehrer. Photo: Justine Perl

Philanthropist Aron Kleinlehrer, who passed away on January 20, has been described as a “force of nature”.

Kleinlehrer, whose parents and four siblings perished in the Holocaust, was a driving force behind the establishment and success of Emanuel School, making a number of substantial donations.

He also donated $1 million to Nefesh.

“Because I saw so much destruction of the Jewish community in Poland – so many young lives lost – I decided that I wanted to make a real contribution to securing the future generations of the Jewish community in Sydney,” Kleinlehrer said upon being awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2018.

“I’ve always followed the principle that it is better to give than to receive.”

The board, principal, staff and students of Emanuel School paid tribute to Kleinlehrer in a statement.

“His generosity helped spearhead the school’s growth through the construction of a number of buildings and state-of-the-art facilities. Thousands of Emanuel students and graduates have benefited from the Aron Kleinlehrer Performing Arts Centre, Kleinlehrer Family Science Building, Kleinlehrer Family LINC Building and the Innovation Centre which houses the Aron Kleinlehrer Jewish History Centre,” the school said.

“His legacy will live on in the mind, spirit and being of our students. May his memory be for a blessing now and forever.”

Son Robert Kleinlehrer told The AJN how his father forged a successful real estate development business in Australia and his love of travel, opera, ballet and concerts.

“He was joined by his life partner, our late mother Helen. They were inseparable both in business, travel, and the enjoyment of the arts,” Robert said.

“My father, together with my mother, believed in their duty to support Jewish education both in Israel and of course here in Sydney. And in later years the importance of Holocaust education to high school students across greater Sydney.”

He told of how his father passed on his love of the arts and the sporting legacy of his early years in Poland (boxing and soccer) to the whole family.

“He was a great storyteller and loved to share his life experience with everyone he met,” Robert said.

“Moishe, as his children, myself and my sister Esther, referred to him, was a force of nature, a true mensch, a leader of the community.

“Proud of our dad, Papa, Big Papa, you bet we were. 100 years old – a great innings and a full life.”