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August 21, 2014

Obituary: Sylvia Hassenfeld, Hasbro Scion and Jewish Philanthropy Leader

Sylvia Hassenfeld, matriarch of the family behind toy-making giant Hasbro and one of the first women to lead a major Jewish nonprofit, died Saturday at age 93 in her Manhattan home, reports The New York Times.

Ms. Hassenfeld served from 1988 to 1992 as president of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. The first female to hold the post, she took a hands-on role in negotiating the resettlement of Jews from the collapsing Soviet Union and expanded the charity's crisis-aid programs to non-Jews.

The widow of Merrill L. Hassenfeld, the son and nephew of Hasbro's founders, Ms. Hassenfeld had leadership roles with several other Jewish groups as well as the nonsectarian Hasbro Children's Foundation. She was also an active medical donor, most recently giving $50-million to establish a children's hospital set to open in 2017 at the NYU Langone Medical Center.