Paula and Jerry Gottesman, z”l, have been a local, national, and international leader in Jewish philanthropy for decades, creating groundbreaking models of support for Jewish day school education and Jewish camp.
Jerry, z”l, had strong roots in Greater MetroWest, establishing Edison Parking with his brother Harold, z”l, in Newark in 1956. The same principles that made Edison so successful were also drivers for Jerry in his charitable work. He believed in investing in organizations and programs with a long-term vision in mind.
His beloved wife, Paula, was his partner not just in business but in decades of visionary philanthropy and dedication to our Jewish community. Her strength is matched by her thoughtful, genuine, and fierce pride as a Jewish woman and leader.
A retired attorney, Paula has held many leadership roles in Greater MetroWest, including as the first woman president of our JCF, a long-time Federation board member (dating back to her role in the Morris-Sussex Federation), and board member of many Jewish organizations locally and nationally, including NJY Camps and Prizmah, the national day school organization. She is currently a member of the Executive Board of the JCF and long-time Chair of the Greater MetroWest Day School Advisory Council.
As President of the Gottesman Foundation of our JCF, Paula steers the considerable resources and influence of the family foundation towards innovative Federation programs that have uplifted our community, touch the lives of thousands of children and families every year, and have inspired tens of millions of dollars of investments by other donors.
The Gottesmans led the development of the Greater MetroWest Jewish Day School Initiative, which caps tuition for middle income families. They also created a community-wide teacher excellence program and developed a collaboration among Greater MetroWest’s four denominationally diverse Jewish day schools. In addition, they led the development of a community-wide Jewish camp program, one of the first in the national Federation system. All of these programs have become national models and inspired similar efforts across North America.
In honor of our Centennial Campaign, the Gottesman Foundation made a transformational gift to create future endowments to enhance and secure day school and Jewish camp programs in our community for generations to come. Paula also believes in investing today to make a difference and created a $5 million Centennial Campaign match to encourage new and increased gifts to the Herskowitz Society, a day school giving society named in memory of members of Jerry Gottesman’s family. In addition, through the foundation, Paula has honored Jerry’s memory by creating significant endowments supporting the Greater MetroWest Newark Initiative and the JCF’s Center for Strategic Philanthropy, which promotes Jewish philanthropy. Paula and Jerry z”l Gottesman are recognized at the highest level, $50 million+, in our Centennial Campaign.
The Gottesmans have four adult daughters, Sally Gottesman, Archie Gottesman, Jane Gottesman, and Abbie Greenberg, who are each major philanthropists in Jewish causes locally, nationally, and in Israel.
Sally Gottesman, a trustee of the Gottesman Foundation, made her own $100,000 gift to sponsor our Federation’s Centennial in honor of her parents.