Jewish American Heritage Month: Who Are Your Heroes? Part IV

May 30, 2014

  • ROI Community

As part of Jewish American Heritage Month, Schusterman teamed up with Repair the World to ask Repair Fellows, Schusterman ROI Community members and Schusterman REALITY participants, "Who is your Jewish American hero?" We received several unique and thoughtful responses, all of which will be shared throughout the week on both the Schusterman and Repair blogs.

Repair the World enables people to transform their neighborhoods, cities and lives through meaningful service experiences rooted in Jewish values, history and heritage, including through its Fellowship program, in which volunteers commit to one year of service in their community.

Look No Further by Jacob Shwirtz - ROI Community Member 

My Jewish American heroes are my parents. Shlomo and Drora Shwirtz worked tirelessly to send my siblings and me to Jewish school and taught us by setting the best examples possible. They instilled in us a love for Israel, Judaism and entrepreneurship.

My father, working under the pen name Shlomo Shamir, spent over 40 years as the NY correspondent for Israel’s Ha’Aretz newspaper. Working from home, he was always available to help with homework when I was younger, and advice as I grew older. Even in retirement, he can’t stop writing and has transitioned into providing thought-pieces for a new generation of Israeli new media publications. As the eldest in the family, he has always taken great care to pass down the stories and lessons from his forbearers. Last year, with a lot of preparation, my father led a family “roots” trip to Poland, where we were all able to see the history of our family with our own eyes and learn more about where we come from. In myriad different ways, my parents seem to complement each other perfectly. If my father nurtured my knowledge, my mother nurtured my ambition.

Throughout my life I’ve witnessed my mother take charge, organize, create and build both a family and a business. A female immigrant in New York, it couldn’t have been easy for her to become an entrepreneur and start a new business. After years of hard work, my mother eventually ran a large communications consultancy and provided both meaningful inspiration and physical help for me to pursue my own dreams. I have vivid memories of visiting her in the office, seeing her in action and marveling at her acumen.

As the son of two hard-working immigrants with non-traditional jobs, I always knew I’d do something unique with my life. From an early age they supported my passion for the Internet – way before it was a credible career path. They are my heroes and I owe them more than I can ever repay. I am forever grateful for the examples they set and support they provided (overtly and more subtly as well). I can’t imagine crediting anyone more than my parents for the man I am today.

Check out the rest of the series here!

The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation is proud to empower emerging leaders to explore their values, identity and new ways to strengthen their communities. We believe that as we work together to repair the world, it is important to share our diverse experiences and perspectives along the way. We encourage the expression of personal thoughts and reflections here on the Schusterman blog. Each post reflects solely the opinion of its author and does not necessarily represent the views of the Foundation, its partner organizations or all program participants.