Jacob C. Gutman: Lover of the Jewish People

Photo of Jacob C Gutman courtesy of Richard Barnett Bloom.

Born in 1890 in Kiev, Ukraine, Jacob C. Gutman grew up in Philadelphia and was educated at Central High School and Philadelphia University. He married Ida Pressman in 1912, and joined forces with his father-in-law, Harry Pressman, in his clothing business. Soon after the company was renamed Pressman-Gutman Company.

It did not take Gutman long to succeed in his business and begin to dedicate himself to philanthropic endeavors. During the mid-1920s he became the first president of the Association for Jewish Children, and then became a trustee and member of the advisory council of the YMHA/YWHA branch of the Jewish Ys and Centers. In 1927 Gutman made history by becoming the youngest president of Congregation Beth El in West Philadelphia.

Gutman helped found the Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art, and worked on causes that unified new immigrants from Eastern Europe, arriving in the wake of pogroms, with Jews from Germany and Austria who had arrived in the US before the Civil War. Many considered Gutman an expert on German-Russian Jewish relations in the United States.

After his wife passed away Gutman spent more time helping the Jews of Philadelphia, Israel and all over the world. He became an honorary fellow and trustee of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, serving as its secretary and treasurer.

An active man until he died in 1981, Gutman will always be remembered by the Jews of Philadelphia and around the world as a generous and caring man.

Rudin Foundations and Charitable Endeavors

Beth Rudin DeWoody engages in a variety of philanthropic causes, both as part of her name as well as other charitable organizations.  For example, she is President of the May and Rudin Family Foundation which gives many scholarships to worthy students in the public health sphere. Outside of the family foundations (there is also the Louis and Rachel Rudin Foundation), since the mid 1980s, Beth has been a board member of the Whitney Museum of America Art.  She is also a board member of: the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Creative Time, The New School University, (Israel’s) Design Museum Holon and (Los Angeles’) Hammer Museum.

When it comes to the Family Foundation, the Mailman School for example, is able to extend their capacity to diverse students who wish to orchestrate a career in the public health sphere. One such example of this is the Rudin Scholars in Public Health Award, established back in 2002 by Beth.  It was set up to “recognize students with an aspiration to improve population health in New York City, the country, and around the world.” Eligible students are those who have shown exemplary academic performance as well as a fiscal need.

Two examples of award recipients are:

  1. Miriam Musa – studying for a Public Health Masters in the Epidemiology department, for a certificate in Global Health.
  2. Johane Simelane – likewise in a Master of Public Health course, but at the Health Policy and Management department, hoping to graduate in the field of Public Health Informatics

Then there is the biennial Rudin Prize for Emerging Photographers which apart from offering recognition, provides the winners with $20,000.  Artists who have never had a solo museum show are eligible to apply.  Created by Beth in 2014, it comes under the umbrella of Florida’s Norton Museum of Art.

Robert Kraft: Businessman, Sports Fan, Patriots Owner, and Philanthropist

Robert Kraft. Photo Courtesy of BrokenSphere

Robert Kraft was born and raised in Brookline, Massachusetts. His father, Harry, was a dressmaker in Boston’s Chinatown, and an active and respected member of his congregation, Kehillath Israel, in Brookline. It is said that Harry would have been happy if Robert would have become a rabbi, but that is not what was meant to be.


Robert Kraft went to Columbia University, where he became the class president. He played lightweight football while at Columbia. He then went to Harvard where he earned his MBA. He met his wife, Myra Hiatt in Boston in 1962, and they married in June, 1963.

Kraft began his career in business at the Rand-Whitney Group, a packaging company his father-in-law ran. Later he purchased the company in a leveraged buyout. He founded International Forest Products in 1972, and together with Rand-Whitney, Kraft had created the largest privately held paper and packaging company in the US. Kraft said he began the company when he realized that there was soon going to be a huge increase in international communications and transportation, leading to an explosion in global trade in the late 20th century.

Kraft’s other business ventures include shares in New England Television Corp, which took control of WNAC-TV in 1982. One year later Kraft became director of the board. In 1986 Kraft became president of the corporation. In 1992 Kraft sold off his stake in the company for about $25 million.

Kraft is a great sports fan, and has been an owner of several professional teams. In 1974 he went partners with four others to purchase the World Tennis Team, the Boston Lobsters. Kraft’s true sports love is football, and tried several times to purchase the New England Patriots. He owned season tickets since 1971. In 1994 the team was for sale, and Kraft was able to purchase it for $172 million. At the time that was the highest anyone had ever paid for a sports team. Since Kraft purchased the Patriots, the team has had incredible success.
Robert Kraft is a well-known philanthropist. He has donate more than $100 million to a wide variety of causes. He has been a huge supporter of American Football in Israel, and built the professional Kraft Family Stadium in Jerusalem. In 2017 it was announced that Kraft was donating $6 million to build the first regulation size American football field in Israel.

After the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, 2013 Kraft pledged $100,000 in matching funds to help the victims of the terrorist attack through the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation.

Generosity of Leonard L. Abess

university-floridaLeonard L. Abess is no stranger to helping people.  When he sold The City National Bank of Florida in 2008 (for $1.17 billion) he actually gave his staff a $60 million bonus to split between them.  In addition, two years earlier, together with his wife Jane, he donated $5 million to the University of Miami (where he is a Trustee).  With this money the Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy was opened.

Abess and his wife also funded the Environment Policy Center at the University of Miami along with a Floating Research Station in the Brazilian Amazon and Miami Country Day School’s Abess Center for Environment Studies.

The Nathan Cummings Foundation

The Nathan Cummings Foundation (NCF) was established in 1949 by Nathan Cummings.  On Cummings’ passing in 1985 the foundation was the recipient of most of the (estimated) $200 million estate. The foundation is focused on two main areas:  inequality and climate change, in particular, clean energy and Inclusive Clean Economy, with an emphasis on community.  It has been donating around $6 million to Jewish causes each year.

As well as the NCF Cummings spent a lot of his life giving to other organizations.  Mostly, his charitable donations were focused on education and health, in particular, hospitals, art organizations, universities as well as Jewish causes.

Furthermore, at Stanford University he endowed the Nathan Cummings Arts Center, and at Connecticut College, the Nathan Cummings Art Center.  In his lifetime, he also gave generously to Washington DC’s National Gallery of Art, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Chicago’s Art Institute.

Caroline Bamberger: Founder of the IAS

Caroline Bamberger Frank Fuld (1864-1944), photo circa 1920

Caroline Bamberger Frank Fuld lived at the turn of the 19th-20th centuries and is known for her philanthropic work and business acumen at a time when women were still struggling to get on an even playing field with their male counterparts. Bamberger was a co-founder, along with her brother Louis, of the renowned Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton New Jersey.

Known as Carrie to her friends and family, Fuld grew up as one of six children in Baltimore, Maryland. Her father came to the US in 1840 from Bavaria, and her mother was an heiress to a successful department store in Baltimore. In 1883 Carrie and Louis move to Philadelphia where they began the business that eventually became L. Bamberger and Company. Together with their two other partners, Louis Meyer Frank and Felix Fuld, they innovated new ways to sell and advertise their goods.

Carrie married her business partner Louis Frank in 1883, at the age of 19, and then married her other business partner Felix Fuld in 1913, three years after her first husband passed away in 1910. In 1929 Carrie’s second husband also died. Not long after Carrie and her brother sold their company to RH Macy and Company, only a few months before the Great Stock Market Crash.

After selling their business Carrie devoted herself to philanthropy, having no children from either of her marriages. She was especially devoted to Jewish causes, helping to support Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, The Jewish Relief Committee, and Hadassah Women. The National Council of Jewish Women elected her to be their national director in 1931.

She is most remembered for her crucial support, with her brother, of what became the Institute for Advanced in Princeton. Their initial support was $5 million in 1930 for the endowment. About $18 million was the total contribution by the end of their support. Carrie was vice-president of the institute at its founding and until 1933. After that until her death in 1944 she was a life trustee.


Neil Kadisha is Honored

Neil Kadisha is an active member of the Jewish philanthropy community.  As such, he serves on the Board of Directors of several non-profit charitable organizations.  Much of his focus in this world is: community and its future, youth development and caring for the elderly.

Kadisha co-founded (with Izak Nazarian) the Citizens Empowerment Center in Israel (CECI), a non-profit, non-partisan organization which seeks to “help pave the way for a more stable and democratic Israeli society by empowering citizens through education.”  To do this, it runs programs which seek to educate participants on: civic involvement, democracy, and leadership.

Over the years, due to his dedication to Kadisha has also been honored over the years by various foundations.  These include: The Jewish Federation (where he has been a member of the Board of Directors since 1993 and executive committee member for 10 years), the LA Chapter of the Young Presidents Organization, American Joint Distribution Committee, World’s President’s Organization and Phoenix House.