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April 17, 2024

The Kaplen JCC on the Palisades announces a $5 million gift from Philanthropist Richard J. Kurtz

Philanthropist Richard J. Kurtz has made a $5 million gift to the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades, where he has long served as a member of the Board of Trustees. In recognition of his generous support, the New Jersey Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, located at the Kaplen JCC, will be named for the Kurtz family.

Mr. Kurtz is a business leader known for generously supporting organizations throughout Bergen County and nationally. He is the founder, owner, and CEO of The Kamson Corporation, a privately held real estate management company with properties in numerous states.

“I remember my first discussion with Leonard Rubin about the importance of supporting the JCC, an institution he cared so deeply about,” said Mr. Kurtz. “He told me that my giving would come back to bless me in so many ways, and he was right. I have taken those words of wisdom and shared them with my family, friends, and the many people I have been lucky to mentor over my business career. As leaders, our institutions, our country, and our culture depend on us to chart the path forward.”

“Although my conversations with Richard began long before the events of October 7th, the gift exemplifies the philanthropic leadership that we have needed since that tragic day,” said Steve Rogers, CEO of the Kaplen JCC. “Richard understands that strong Jewish organizations are fundamental to a strong Jewish diaspora, which is essential for support of Israel.”

“The Kaplen JCC has thrived for nearly 75 years due to generous visionary leaders like Richard,” said Arthur Sinensky, Board Chair of the Kaplen JCC.  “At a time when the Jewish people are facing tremendous challenges in Israel, around the world, and most distressingly in our local towns, we all need to do our part to strengthen the foundations of Jewish life.”

In addition to their support of Jewish organizations, the Kurtz family has long stressed the role sports have in building community and fostering an environment for young people to succeed. Mr. Kurtz graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in education.  Before embarking on his successful business career, he taught basic and physical education in the public school system and ran the soccer, baseball and basketball youth programs in Cresskill, New Jersey.

Daniel Zausner, Chair of the Board of Governors of the Hall of Fame, noted “the Kurtz family gift will have broad impact across the entire state of New Jersey, as it provides the means to build a permanent home for the Hall of Fame that will be the site of impactful programming and provide an opportunity to build community through a love of sports.”

About The Kurtz Family New Jersey Jewish Sports Hall of Fame

The Kurtz Family New Jersey Jewish Sports Hall of Fame was founded in 2019 to honor Jewish individuals who have distinguished themselves in the field of athletics in and around the state of New Jersey.  Prior inductees to the Hall of Fame include legendary NBA commissioner David Stern, Israel’s “Mr. Basketball” Tal Brody, former NJ Nets owner Joe Taub, Emmy-winning broadcasters Kenny Albert and Tracy Wolfson, three-time NCAA football champion Jeff Kurtz, community health pioneer Leonard Rubin, soccer star Yael Averbuch West, and Olympic fencer Jeff Bukantz.

About the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades

The Kaplen JCC on the Palisades is a leading nonprofit organization deeply rooted in Jewish values and traditions that serves as a welcoming home away from home for the Jewish People and the wider community in Bergen County and Northern New Jersey. The Kaplen JCC has approximately 3,000 membership households and serves over 750,000 people each year. In addition to health and wellness facilities, the Kaplen JCC offers programs for all ages and abilities:

  • Leonard and Syril Rubin Early Childhood Center
  • Guttenberg Center for Special Services
  • Neil Klatskin Summer Camps
  • JCC Thurnauer School of Music
  • Schools of Dance and Dramatic Arts
  • The Israeli Center
  • Kaplen Adult Reach Center and Senior Activity Center

(Photo credit: Holly Lackner)