Fred Lafer, a longtime leader of several Jewish institutions, died Tuesday in New Jersey after suffering from leukemia.
Lafer served as president and chairman of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy beginning in 2000. He also was chairman of the executive committee of the Shalom Hartman Institute of Jerusalem’s board of directors.
He also served as president of American Friends of Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He and his wife, Barbara, established the Lafer Center for Women’s Studies at the university. He also was president of the Taub Foundation.
“Fred was a gentle, generous and insightful man with a genuine appreciation for the power of ideas,” said Robert Satloff, executive director of The Washington Institute. “He took special interest in the lives and careers of our youngest researchers, which he viewed as our greatest asset and most precious investment.”
Lafer was an engineer and an attorney, and was the first general counsel of Automatic Data Processing, Inc. He held honorary doctorates from Hebrew University and William Paterson University in New Jersey.
He was the son of immigrants from Visokoe-Litovsk, Russia, and lived in New Jersey, where he served on the Wayne Board of Education as well as the William Paterson University board.