Gil & Ellen Gordon
I grew up in the small town of Warwick, NY. My father owned a hardware store, and two of his brothers and a brother-in-law owned other stores. The Jewish population in the area was very, very small but my father and his brothers, among others, were deeply involved in the doings of our local synagogue that served a number of small towns in the region. The model that they and their spouses set for creating a Jewish awareness among their kids and being engaged in many ways rubbed off on many of my cousins and me, and now on our children. My wife Ellen (from Washington, DC) and I moved to NJ in 1974 and our two children (now 31 and 35) live nearby.
Why did we decide to leave a Legacy gift? Once we understood the legacy concept and how it is such a “painless” way to give, it was something that we did very easily. The logic behind it is brilliant, and we feel good about having done our small part to help sustain Jewish communal life in this area. Also, I had the opportunity to hear Harold Grinspoon speak at a United Synagogue convention in 2012; I don’t think anyone could hear him talk and not get caught up in his enthusiasm for focusing on Jewish continuity.
We made bequests in our wills to our congregation (The Jewish Center) and several other organizations in the community. These are no-strings-attached gifts. I know from my roles in our congregation’s leadership, that the best gift is the one that is made with the fewest restrictions. We are comfortable entrusting the decision of where to use the money best to the leaders who will be in place at the time.
The cliché about needing to provide for those who follow us just as those who preceded us did is very true. One of the reasons we enjoy living in this area is the thriving Jewish community and the strength of all the congregations, plus the various social service agencies. These institutions absolutely must survive, and we can all do our part to make sure that happens.