This short week we lost a great hero of the Jewish People. Ralph Goldman, legendary leader of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), passed away at the age of 100.
Through his long and inspiring life, Ralph served as an inspiration to so many of us. His dedication, energy and commitment to the Jewish People and Israel improved the lives of all of us. I met Ralph many times, most recently in May in Jerusalem at JDC’s Centennial Board meeting, where he was celebrated by the Board and President Peres. It was a privilege to talk with him, and to watch as he was given the honor he so deserved.
As I heard the news of Ralph’s passing, and thought about his devotion to Jewish communal service, to building the next generation of leaders, and to our People, I was walking in an empty parking lot. That parking lot is our future – it’s the construction site of the new beautiful Hillel building at Rutgers University. I spent a moving and enthusiastic hour meeting with young and professional leaders of our Rutgers Hillel, and then several of us walked over to see where their new home will start to rise in the near future. If you haven’t been yet – you should go.
Last night, at our Major Gifts Event, we gathered over 250 of our most generous and committed leaders to celebrate their philanthropy and generosity. We listened to Alon Ben-David give an outstanding overview of the strategic situation in Israel. And we said thank you. Because our donors and community leaders are the heart of who we are and what we stand for.
Ralph had a vision of the Jewish world – one Jewish world, intertwined and interconnected. We’ll get there with passionate young Jewish leaders and dedicated philanthropists. May his memory be for a blessing and may we live up to his soaring achievements and vision.
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