Gerald z"l and Daphna Cramer

 

Gerald (Gerry) Cramer z”l, and his wife, Daphna, are among the few couples who have each been named Honorary Fellows of the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya for their individual activities and achievements. Gerry was awarded Honorary Fellow in 2007 and Daphna in 2018.


Gerry was a leading figure in the world of investment in the United States, known also for his generous contributions and his many public commitments. Gerry was co-founder and chair emeritus of the investment advisory firm Cramer, Rosenthal & McGlynn, LLC. He was also associated with the investment brokerage houses Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc., and Oppenheimer & Co. where he was a senior partner. His civic and professional commitments include membership on the boards of the National Road Safety Foundation and Ripplewood Corporation, a major private equity firm. Cramer also served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy.


A graduate of Syracuse University’s School of Management, Gerry served for many years on the Executive Committee of the university’s Board of Trustees. In this capacity he served terms both as Vice Chairman and as Chairman of the Board’s Investment and Endowment Committee.


Gerry was a major benefactor of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, sponsoring Cramer Scholarships that have helped dozens of students to receive an academic education. Today, many distinguished faculty members at Syracuse hold the title of Cramer Professor. He also established the endowment fund that supports the university’s Aging Studies Institute. For his contributions, Gerry was selected as the first recipient of the Maxwell School Horizon Award, which recognizes wise, inspirational volunteer leadership and exceptional philanthropic commitment.


Gerry also received numerous other awards in recognition of his contributions. Syracuse University, of which he is an alumnus, awarded him the George Arents Pioneer Medal for outstanding accomplishments and Grand Canyon University awarded him an honorary doctorate in finance.


Daphna Cramer was born and raised in Tel Aviv, Israel. She is a former “Miss Israel” and represented Israel in the “Miss World” contest placing in the top five runners-up. Her parents were a Scottish-born father and a third-generation Israeli mother. Her mother owned and managed a thriving Tel Aviv beauty salon.


She served in the IDF in the Israeli Air Force, after studying at Tel Nordau Elementary School and at Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium High School in Tel Aviv. She got married and gave birth to a daughter and a son with her first husband.


Before joining the IDF, she travelled to the United States as the winner of the “Miss Jerusalem” contest to help raise funds for Israel; this was the first of many Zionist philanthropic activities that Daphna would take on throughout her life.

In 1984, while in the United States, she met Gerry, who would become her second husband and life-long partner.


During Gerry’s lifetime, together, the couple had divided their lives between New York and Israel. On one of the couple’s visits to Israel, they met Prof. Uriel Reichman, who told them about the establishment of the first private Israeli university. Daphna and Gerry immediately connected to the vision, enthused by the idea, the place and the initiative. Years later, Daphna said that with time, as they got to know Reichman University’s impressive faculty, the two decided that they wanted to become involved and support the institution. Since then, the Cramers have been an integral part of Reichman University: their commitment, contribution, and initiative have been a mainstay of the institution’s development.


The Cramers, who served on the Board of Trustees of Syracuse University in New York, envisioned and forged a connection between the schools of government of these two leading academic institutions. This fruitful relationship, strengthened and continues to this day, and has produced extraordinary initiatives and collaborations. The most prominent program is the student exchange program, which gives Israeli students the opportunity to live in the United States and experience American academic thinking and learning at one of the best schools of government in the country, and brings Syracuse students to Israel to experience all that it has to offer and exposes them to the unique academic setting of Reichman University’s Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy & Strategy.


By the same token, the Cramer Scholarship initiated around 2002 is awarded annually to Reichman University students who, in addition to their academic achievements, have demonstrated outstanding social commitment. Daphna is a member of the committee that convenes annually to interview candidates from all IDC schools and awards scholarships according to their activities. Recipients over the years have attested as to the ways in which the scholarship has influenced them even after graduation; it is not surprising that most of them continue to engage in community involvement, social action and political activity long into their professional lives. In 2017 the Cramers also chose to contribute to the one of the school's biggest new projects- the establishment of Reichman University dormitories and in recognition of this generosity, one of the buildings will be named for them.


In addition to all that brought them together, Daphna and Gerry were connected by an extraordinary spirit of voluntarism and ongoing philanthropic endeavors, guided by vision to bring about real social change.


Sadly, in 2018, Gerry passed away. Daphna continues to serve on the Board of Directors of the Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer and is involved in volunteer work for various cultural institutions in New York City. Her children and Gerry’s children run the family’s philanthropic work in the United States and in Israel.