Beloved International Board of Governors Member Jack J. Spitzer, a man whose name has become synonymous with the pursuit of social justice, died on Saturday, July 31, following a cardiac arrest.
"Jack was one of a kind", said Hillel International President Avraham Infeld. "He radiated strength, optimism, and Jewish passion. His legacy continues in the thousands of young people whose lives he touched."
Mr. Spitzer, a former international president of B'nai B'rith, was a leader in business, civic affairs and the Jewish community. Born in 1917, he was an activist in the B'nai B'rith Youth Organization as a teenager and joined the staff of the organization upon graduating from college. After his BBYO career, Spitzer achieved success in banking and real estate. Mr. Spitzer served as a role model for young people by combining a passion for the Jewish community with success in the business world.
Joined by his wife, Charlotte, Mr. Spitzer supported the Charlotte B. and Jack J. Spitzer B'nai B'rith Hillel Forum on Public Policy, an annual conference devoted to educating students on issues of social justice and providing them with the tools to be campus activists.
Despite failing health, Mr. Spitzer participated in the 2004 Spitzer Forum in Boston, the 15th annual conference. An ardent proponent of voter registration and education, Mr. Spitzer uttered one of his favorite lines at the Boston gathering: take your opinion and stuff it --- in the ballot box.
In an e-mail to family and friends, son Robert Spitzer wrote: "My dad died peacefully, surrounded by his family. He always wanted to `die with his boots on.' He had a cardiac arrest during a break in a fundraising meeting Thursday, and never again regained consciousness."
He added: "Jack would appreciate his passing to inspire your generosity, by making a gift to the good cause of your choice in his memory, or to:"
B'nai B'rith Foundation of the U.S.
2020 K St. NW, 7th floor
Washington, D.C. 20006; or
American Friends of Ben Gurion University
Re: Spitzer School of Social Work
1430 Broadway, 8th floor
New York, NY 10018; or
King County Library System Foundation
960 Newport Way, NW
Issaquah, WA 98027
Those who wish to make a donation to Hillel in memory of Mr. Spitzer may send it to:
Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life
800 Eighth St., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001