The Chai Society


Wagner College, founded in 1883, takes pride in the diversity of its students and its service to the community. Today, Wagner College continues to build on this longstanding commitment by recruiting students from all groups: religious, ethnic, racial, sexual, demographic, and cultural.  In 2004, Wagner College established the Chai Society, an organization dedicated to promoting Jewish culture and identity on the Wagner campus and within the surrounding communities with programming. We are proud to also support the establishment of Wagner College’s Holocaust Center whose mission is to educate future generations about prejudice, antisemitism and racism as well as create a space for exhibits, learning, and reflection.

The Chai Society is facilitated through the joint efforts of Wagner College’s Office of Institutional Advancement, the Chai Society Steering Committee, Hillel, and Rabbi Dr. Abraham Unger, assistant professor and director of urban programs at Wagner College.

Give Now to the Chai Society

Chai Society Community Mitzvah Awards

2017 Mitzvah Awards Dinner Honorees

The Chai Society is proud to continue in its support of Wagner College’s Holocaust Center and its mission to educate future generations about prejudice, anti-Semitism and racism as well as create a space for exhibits, learning and reflection.

View our 2017 award recipients

View photos from the 2017 dinner


Chai Society Steering Committee Board Meeting

Tuesday, September 26th at 6:00 p.m.  Please contact Stephanie Koch, 718-390-3225, for further details.

Save The Date: The Salmon Family Commemoration of Kristallnacht and of the S.S. St. Louis

Join us for the Wagner College Holocaust Center’s second annual Salmon Family Commemoration of Kristallnacht and of the S.S. St. Louis.

The event will be held on Wednesday, November 8, 2017, at 6:30 pm, with location and RSVP details to come.

This annual commemoration honors the courage, resourcefulness and determination of Egon J. Salmon, his parents Paul and Erna, and other relatives that enabled their family to survive. It also recognizes Egon’s contribution to the Jewish community. Along with his wife Marie, sons Jon and Henry, and many grandchildren, Egon and the Salmon family have contributed to the flourishing of Jewish life and to business and community development in the New York region. His father Paul was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to Dachau. With his mother Erna and sister Edith, Egon sailed on the M.S. St. Louis, also known as the “Voyage of the Damned.”


On his 15th birthday, he saw the lights of Miami as he was sent back to Nazi Germany, having been denied entry to the United States and Cuba. Others in his family fled to Bolivia, Uruguay and Shanghai. After a year in Belgium, finally, Egon, Edith and their mother Erna were able to immigrate in 1940 to Staten Island, where he attended New Dorp High School. Egon returned to Europe with the U.S. Military, where he earned three battle stars for service in the infantry during the Italian campaign and with military intelligence after the war. Along with his wife Marie, their sons and their wives Henry and Linda, Jon and Meryl, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, his family has contributed to the flourishing of our community.