Lax, Philip, 1920-2012

Birth 1920
Death 2012

Biographical notes:

Philip Lax (1920- )

Philip Lax was born in Newark, New Jersey, on April 22, 1920, to Nathan and Beckie Lax. He graduated from New York University with a BS degree in 1940 and completed postgraduate work at the university from 1941 to 1942. He worked for Lax & Co. of Newark, New Jersey, from 1942 to 1977 and served as vice president of the company from 1950 to 1977. He is currently, as of 2011, president of Chathill Management, Inc., a land development and realty management company, a position he has held since 1977.

Philip Lax married Mildred Baras, with whom he had two daughters, Corinne Ellen and Barbara Ann. Mildred passed away in March 2003. On June 13, 2004, Lax married Madeline Blondman.

Throughout his life, Philip Lax has been a prominent member of a number of Jewish organizations, especially B'nai B'rith International. He served as president of the B'nai B'rith Center in Rochester, Minnesota, from 1965 to 1970, and is now honorary president of the Center. In 1966, he was also a member of the New Jersey region executive board of the Anti-Defamation League. He has been a trustee of the B'nai B'rith Foundation since 1967 and a trustee of the B'nai B'rith Henry Monsky Foundation since 1968. Lax was instrumental in the creation of the Rutgers University Hillel. He personally raised over a half-million dollars for the building fund; the building was dedicated in 1971. He has been a trustee of Rutgers University Hillel and president of the Rutgers University Hillel Foundation Building Corp. since 1969. He was vice president of the B'nai B'rith Supreme Lodge from 1968 to 1971 and a member of the international board of governors starting in 1971. Lax served as co-chairman of the B'nai B'rith International Council from 1979 to 1984 and chairman from 1982 to 1994. He represented the International Council of B'nai B'rith-as a non-governmental organization (NGO)-in the United Nations to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). He attended the UNESCO Conference in Mexico in 1982 with the International Council of B'nai B'rith. Lax ran for president of B'nai B'rith International in 1986, a contest he lost to Seymour Reich. He was named an honorary chair of the B'nai B'rith Center for Public Policy in 1999. The Philip Lax Archive at the B'nai B'rith Klutznick Museum is named in his honor.

Lax was also heavily involved in campaigns to restore the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. He was appointed to the planning team of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island by President Carter. He has been a member of the steering committee to restore Ellis Island since 1977 and national president of the Ellis Island Restoration Commission since 1978. He was responsible for planning, funding, and operating the Family History Center on Ellis Island. He was additionally a member of the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Centennial Commission and chairman of the board of the Committee of Architecture and Restoration of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

Lax has also served many other Jewish organizations. He was chairman of the United Jewish Appeal of Maplewood, New Jersey, in 1966 and 1976. From 1968 to 1971, he served as trustee of the Leo N. Levi Hospital in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He was a trustee and member of the executive committee of the New Jersey section of the National Conference of Christians and Jews (NCCJ) in 1981. He was a member of the board of trustees of the Friends of Touro Synagogue, and has been vice president of Touro Synagogue since 2000. He was also on the board of directors for the Hebrew Immigration Society (HIAS) and a trustee of the American Jewish Historical Society and a member of the American Society of Israel Philatelists.

He has received many awards, including the Cavaliere Ufficiale (Knighted) Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy. He received B'nai B'rith's Humanitarian Award in 1969 and the President's Gold Medal in 1975. He received the Pro Mundi Beneficio medal from the Brazilian Academy of Humanities in 1976. Lax also received many awards for bringing in new members to B'nai B'rith, including 16 consecutives "Bennies" for bringing in 50 or more members per year. He was also the national membership champion for recruiting 109 members in one year and national co-chairman the following year for his role in signing up 296 members.

Philip Lax died on April 17, 2012. He was survived by his wife, Madeline (nee Rosenthal), daughters Corinne Lax German and Barbara Lax Krantz, and step-sons, Alan and Mark Blondman.

References: Campaign brochure draft, undated, Papers of Philip Lax, P-915, Box 6, Folder 1, Collection of the American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA, and New York, NY. "Paid Notice: Deaths; Lax, Mildred." New York Times, March 8, 2003. Who's Who in the World . New Providence, NJ: Marquis Who's Who, 2006.

From the guide to the Philip Lax, papers, undated, 1915, 1917, 1944-2003, 2005-2008 (bulk 1970s-1980s), (American Jewish Historical Society)


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  • Jews Soviet Union


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  • Germany. (as recorded)
  • Tel Aviv (Israel) (as recorded)
  • Israel. (as recorded)
  • Argentina. (as recorded)
  • Rutgers University (as recorded)
  • New Jersey. (as recorded)