MJE was established by Rabbi Mark Wildes in August, 1998 in memory of his late mother, Ruth B. Wildes, zichrona livracha, may her memory serve as a blessing.
Together with her husband Leon Wildes, Ruth was a pillar in the Jewish community of Forest Hills, NY where she lived and raised her family. Ruth’s hospitality, kindness and outgoing personality endeared her to all. Her ever expanding Shabbat table, at which friends and strangers were always welcome, became well known in the community.
Ruth’s openness and hospitality ultimately served as the basis for her son’s creation of MJE. As Rabbi Mark remarked: “Growing up in my parent’s home, virtually every Shabbat I saw someone new to the Jewish community at our Shabbat table. My mother’s warm smile and beautiful Shabbat table were so inspiring to those new to the community. It truly served as the impetus for the creation of MJE which reaches out to those with less of a Jewish background and those with less of a connection to the community. I thought, if we could do half the job my mother did in inspiring Jews to the beauty and excitement of Shabbat and Jewish life, we would be achieving something amazing for the Jewish people. And I truly think we have, all in her memory”.