Today as we mark Tisha b’Av, we recall the destruction of the Holy Temple and many of the other tragedies that befell our people on this day in years past. Another loss comes to mind as well, a recent one.
Myra Kraft’s passing brings home an important lesson for all of us. As our Foundation becomes increasingly involved in educating Israeli leaders about Diaspora Jewry, in a world where so many people attach themselves to a single cause, Myra’s life is a shining example. She taught us how one individual can support Jews around the globe — with a special dedication to Israel and her people — yet remain fully involved in the greater community. In her case it was Boston, which was her home for most of her life.
As one of the most prominent Jewish leaders of the day, Myra was a long-time supporter of Boston’s Federation Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) and recently served as its chair. At the height of the attacks on Israeli citizens in the early 2000s, when far too many American Jewish leaders shied away, Myra supported and co-chaired CJP’s Missions to Israel as a tangible sign that the Jews of Boston stand behind Israel in good times and bad. In addition, she was deeply committed to the work of the American Joint Distribution Committee where we worked together on a number of projects, as well as Brandeis University, where she was an alumna.
At the same time, Myra was a staunch supporter and former chair of the Boys and Girls Club, which gives support and opportunities to youngsters of all faiths to succeed in life. She also was a guiding light at Facing History and Ourselves, which battles hate in all its guises, as well as countless other cultural and educational institutions.
This commitment to improving everything she so deeply cared about will keep Myra’s memory alive as a powerful role model for us all. May her example continue to be an inspiration to the Jewish people she was so devoted to.
– Jay Ruderman