NATIONAL JEWISH OUTREACH PROGRAM
A Tsunami Of Money
Pours Out Of Pocket
Story and Photos by Tim Boxer
ONEY flowed like water at a parlor meeting in November at Sam Domb’s West Side town house. Domb, a wealthy New York real estate operator, invited his friend, Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald, founding director of the National Jewish Outreach Program, to the meeting, a benefit for Yeshiva Ketana of Manhattan.
Rabbi Buchwald watched in admiration as Domb reached in his pocket and took out a check for five figures for the yeshiva. He proceeded to raise a total of $450,000.
That’s not all. “There’s another school in our neighborhood that needs our support,” Domb said, and pledged an equal amount to the Manhattan Day School.
Wait there’s more. Domb looked at his friend and announced, “Rabbi Buchwald is helping to save Jews so I’m giving him a check as well” for such NJOP projects as Shabbat Across America, Hebrew crash courses and the beginner’s minyan.
Next day, when Rabbi Buchwald told Manhattan Day School ’s chairman Elliot Gibber and president Eli Salig of Domb’s largesse, they were in shock. It was benevolence they hadn’t expected.
Domb asked one of his employees, a Sri Lankan named Boodie, to call a meeting at Domb’s office at the Travel Inn Hotel for victims of the Tsunami tragedy. Many came, including the Sri Lanka ambassador.
Domb, whose mother was shot when he was three months old, looked the ambassador in the eye and said, “When the Germans murdered our wives and babies, no one spoke up on our behalf. Although no one cared about us, we care about your people.”
With that he gave the ambassador a check and raised a great deal more at the meeting.
The six-foot tall Boodi, who towers over his diminutive boss, muttered through his tears, “Mr. Domb, I am very proud and very lucky to work for you.”
Rabbi Buchwald recounted these events at NJOP’s 11th annual dinner at the New York Hilton saying, “It was the charitable equivalent of a hat trick – something that we rarely see.”
The rabbi introduced the Domb at the dinner, to a standing ovation. But Domb was not one of the honorees. He doesn’t seek honors. Instead, the rabbi paid tribute to Fannie and Zenek Podolsky, Janet and Saul Spitz, Eliana and Vladimir Gutin, and Batya and Eddie Jacobs.