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Henry Taub, 1927-2011

Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation: Facts and figures

Larry YudelsonCover Story
Published: 08 April 2011

A review of the 2009 tax forms of Henry and Marilyn Taub’s charitable foundation shows a generosity that runs from the Adler Aphasia Center in Maywood ($2,250) to the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Mass. ($500).

Of the 150 organizations he supported, the largest gift was to the UJA Federation of Northern Jersey ($1.84 million). The smallest were $100 gifts to 14 organizations, including the Teaneck Volunteer Ambulance Corp. The foundation supported religious institutions, particularly Temple Sinai of Bergen County in Tenafly ($15,502); educational institutions such as Columbia University, where a $10 million gift that established the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain was the largest the university had ever received; cultural institutions such as Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood ($25,000) and the New York Shakespeare Festival / Public Theater ($54,250); and civic institutions in New Jersey (with a special emphasis on Paterson, Henry Taub’s birthplace). Some figures follow.

Total assets: $105 million

2009 donations:

• Total: $6.01 million

• UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey: $1.84 million (more than 15 percent of
the contributions received by the federation in 2009)

• Technion–Israel Institute of Technology:
$1.36 million

• Columbia University Medical Center:
$1.25 million

• Various Paterson charities: $421,500

• Englewood Hospital and Medical Center: $250,000

• JCC on the Palisades: $121,411

Figures are from federal tax forms for the year 2009.

 
 

Henry Taub, 1927-2011

Taub Center in Jerusalem studies social policy

One of the many projects through which Henry Taub’s name lives on is the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies, an independent, non-partisan, socioeconomic research institute based in Jerusalem.

The center originated in 1982 as Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s Team for Planning Social Services, headed by former Minister of Labor and Social Affairs> Israel Katz. The idea was to provide the government with fresh policy options, information, and research.

Two years later, the group evolved into the independent Center for Social Policy Studies, funded by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Taub became chairman of the board in 1991, and in 2003 the JDC launched a long-term endowment campaign with donations from the Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation as well other family foundations.

At that time, the name of the center was formally changed to the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel in recognition of Taub’s support and dedication.

Today the center conducts impartial research on socioeconomic conditions in Israel and develops innovative practical options for public policies to advance the well-being of Israelis.

The most recent reports out of the Taub Center, dated March 29, include a study of Israeli high school matriculation rates, with the goal of formulating policy to improve those rates, and a study of Israeli dental care, which proposes that Israel should include dental care in the universal health-care entitlement, at least for children and the needy elderly.

 
 

Henry Taub, 1927-2011

Henry Taub praised for role in Synagogue Leadership Initiative

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Judy Beck, left, and Lisa Harris Glass File photos

Henry Taub, who among other accomplishments founded the Synagogue Leadership Initiative of UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey in 1997, was lauded on Monday by its current and past director.

Judy Beck, who was SLI’s director for 12 years, told The Jewish Standard that “in my mind, Henry really was a visionary. We were the first community in the country that had a federation-based synagogue-improvement program. He came to the fed with the idea,” she noted, and “he stayed close to it until he was ill. There wasn’t a meeting he wasn’t at. SLI was his baby — he was very proud of it.”

The funding for SLI originally came from the Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation; now 50 percent of it comes from UJA-NNJ, according to Beck.

Listing some SLI projects, she noted that it had guided 13 congregations through strategic planning, teaching them “how to run more efficiently, be more innovative, be fiscally responsive, use new technology.” Also, she said, “we started several initiatives in community, including Bonim Builders,” a volunteer group that repairs and renovates homes of people in need, “and we took over and ran Shalom Baby,” in which volunteers welcome Jewish newborns and their families, “when other people wanted to see it die.”

Noting that SLI has arranged yearly rabbinic retreats, Beck added, “Rabbis across the streams have developed relationships, as have the members of various congregations.”

Beck said she is “totally grateful to him — he allowed me to create a program that is really stellar. He was always very OK with any mistakes we made because we learned from them. He allowed us to take risks and experiment and try new things.”

Also, Beck said, he had a “great sense of humor. He was very intelligent — you had to do your homework before you met with him.” But with all that, he was “very humble — he didn’t want accolades.”

Lisa Harris Glass, who became SLI director in July, also described Taub a “visionary.” Calling him “a unique and generous philanthropist” she added that “from the vantage point of SLI, Henry and his wife Marilyn really had an understanding of what it means to be a part of a Jewish community and [how important it is] that there should be a Jewish community that is thriving and serving the people who live within it. And they illustrated that commitment,” she pointed out, “through the philanthropy that has supported all of the works, not only through SLI but through the federation as well.”

“He was a wonderful person,” Beck said. “I was honored and fortunate to have the opportunity to work with him. The Jewish community has lost a great person and a great advocate. I don’t think they make people like that anymore.”

 
 

Henry Taub, 1927-2011

Lautenberg remembers Taub as a man who “helped robustly”

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Sen. Frank Lautenberg File photo

Sen. Frank Lautenberg said in a telephone interview on Tuesday that his longtime friend and former business partner Henry Taub was “distinguished by modesty and humility.” He was “concerned about all human beings,” not merely those who “had status and wealth,” Lautenberg continued. He was “very respectful” of those who needed help — and he “helped robustly.”

Taub was “devoted to the city of Paterson,” Lautenberg noted, creating “a program to help revitalize the economy and quality of life there. We were both fond of our roots in Paterson, both from poor immigrant families, and he had great concern for those who needed assistance. Whether fighting for better health or better education, Henry’s always been in the forefront.”

Lautenberg, who has been in the Senate for 27 years, said that “much of what I work on is a result of the honesty and decency and intelligence of Henry Taub, a reminder of all the time I spent with him and was able to learn from him, as well as my own instincts as what we should do as Jewish people.

“We’re very committed to our heritage, and that means a support of Jewish causes” as well as being “constantly concerned about the strength and the viability of the Jewish people.

“To save one life,” he added, “is as to save a nation.

“I believe in that, as did Henry Taub.”

 
 

Henry Taub, 1927-2011

Community mourns a ‘gentle man’

image
The philanthropist Henry Taub with his wife, Marilyn, on a bridge at the Passaic River’s Great Falls in Paterson in 2010. Taub, who died at 83, was the founder of Automatic Data Processing and a passionate supporter of Israel and Jewish causes. Courtesy the Taub family.

Henry Taub, a Paterson junk dealer’s son who achieved success and wealth but never forgot his roots, was remembered Sunday for his humility and generosity before some 800 mourners.

“He was an aidel mensch,” said Rabbi emeritus Bruce Block at Temple Sinai in Tenafly. He was “a gentleman — a gentle man in every sense of those Yiddish words,” the rabbi said.

Taub, 83, the founder of what was to become Automatic Data Processing, America’s largest independent computer service company, serving clients around the world, died at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York last Thursday after a long illness.

“There are so many people whom Henry Taub touched, and we are only a fraction of them,” Rabbi Jordan Millstein, religious leader at Temple Sinai, told the mourners who filled it. “Henry Taub planted and built for us so that we might prosper and find blessing.”

The son of Morris Taub, who until the 1960s could still be seen on his horse-drawn cart on Paterson’s streets, Henry got his early lessons in their immigrant, working-class neighborhood around Carroll Street. The elder Taub emigrated from Poland in the early 1920s. He began his junk business after being laid off as a weaver during the Depression and acknowledged in a 1967 interview in the now-defunct Paterson Morning Call that he no longer had to work, but it made him “feel better” to go out.

In later life Henry Taub never forgot his Silk City roots, giving generously to Paterson causes. A subtle salute to that fact was offered in the form of an escort by a contingent of Paterson motorcycle policemen for the funeral cortege to Cedar Park Cemetery in Paramus.

He founded the Paterson Alumni Foundation, which was subsequently merged into the Paterson Education Fund, organizations committed to improving the schools and education system in Paterson. He also helped to establish the “I Have a Dream” program at School No. 6 in Paterson and created the Business Employment Foundation in that city, which placed more than 1,000 people in jobs.

Taub got his first job in a grocery store at 12, and worked his way through high school. Having skipped grades and finishing college in three years, he earned a degree from New York University in 1947 and began his career humbly, as an accountant in an office above a luncheonette.

In 1949, a client missed a payroll because the clerk responsible became sick. This set off a light bulb in the mind of the young accountant, who realized he could provide a payroll service to companies. He began personally delivering payroll checks by bus. The company was known as Automatic Payrolls Inc.

As the business slowly grew, Taub was joined by his brother, Joe, and a young insurance salesman, now senator, Frank Lautenberg. Lautenberg’s job was to sell the service to other companies.

Lautenberg recalled those early years at Sunday’s service, telling of seven-day weeks and long days. A key year was 1961, Lautenberg said, when the company went public amid the blossoming of the computer age.

“I was looking forward to the 50th anniversary,” Lautenberg said. “I think we should still celebrate that.”

Lautenberg left the company after being elected to the Senate in 1982. A certain name recognition helped, he said. “People didn’t know Frank Lautenberg, but they knew ADP,” he said.

The company is based in Roseland and has some 550,000 clients worldwide and 42,000 employees. Most recently, Taub served as honorary board chairman.

Taub was direct in his dealings, but ran his affairs with a human touch, said Block. He was “intelligent, innovative, but he had something else — wisdom,” the rabbi said. “Henry knew how to lead. Hire the best people, let them do their jobs, and cheer them on.”

Block acknowledged the role of Taub’s wife, Marilyn, citing the adage that behind every good man is a good woman. “You were beside Henry,” he said to her at the service.

“He was an inspiration to anyone who knew him,” Lautenberg said. “He respected others for what they were, not what they had.”

Taub’s philanthropy was channeled through the Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation and his legacy includes the Taub Center for Israel Studies at New York University, the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s and the Aging Brain at Columbia University, and the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel. A trustee of NYU, he was honored with its Madden award.

At the American Technion Society, which helps support the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, he served as president from 1974 to 1976 and was on the board of governors from 1990 to 2003. Technion, Hebrew University, and Ben-Gurion University awarded him honorary degrees.

He had also served as president and board chairman of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (1981-1986) and in a similar capacity with the United Israel Appeal (1986-1990), as well as on the boards of the Rite-Aid Corp.; Hasbro, Inc.; Bank Leumi and Trust Co. of New York; Interfaith Hunger Appeal; and The New York Shakespeare Festival/Public Theater.

Locally, Taub was a major benefactor of the UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey and the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades.

Those who worked with Taub recalled his particular blend of qualities. Among them is Howard Charish, formerly executive vice president of the UJA-NNJ.

“He was on the cutting edge of thinking and doing,” said Charish, now an executive with the American Friends of Bar Ilan University in Israel. He recalled a “get-acquainted” session with Taub, at which “Henry said, ‘No matter what the issue is, Howard, you’ll never see my ego on the table.”

“He read everything that was sent to him,” Charish said. “Meetings with him were direct, analytical. He wanted facts. It forced you to think.”

Leon Sokol worked with Taub as co-chairman of the Synagogue Leadership Initiative, under the auspices of the UJA-NNJ. The program worked to provide expert advice and leadership to help area congregations thrive, Sokol said.

“Henry understood that synagogues were the anchors in the Jewish community,” Sokol said. “Henry was hands-on. He chaired the steering committee. He was very involved.”

“He was always a gentleman, very kind and committed to the Jewish community,” Sokol continued.

Taub’s unobtrusive touch was evident when he was a part owner of the New Jersey Nets and served for a time as its chief executive officer. He stayed out of the locker room, notably entering once to congratulate players on making the playoffs.

Taub’s children gave the gathering a glimpse of his personal side.

“Dad was a selfless man, always thinking of others, not himself,” said son Ira. In some ways he was a simple man, who always traveled light, Ira Taub said, drawing laughter when he recalled seeing his father rinse out socks and underwear in a hotel sink.

Simple things gave him pleasure, the son continued. “He had a passion for sports,” he said, and was a fan of Janis Joplin.

Henry Taub’s daughter, Judith Gold, also drew laughter, recalling how her father helped her with an English paper. When she brought the paper home, with a grade of D, her father said: “Your teacher’s wrong and she doesn’t know anything.”

She told of asking for an allowance. Her father, ever the accountant, said, “Let’s see your budget.” She recalled meals together, laughter, and conversations.

“This was dad’s true legacy — family,” she said.

The days in the hospital during Taub’s illness were recalled by his son Steven, who said his father connected personally with the hospital staff — doctors, nurses, aides, cleaning people. “He greeted them daily with a smile,” Steven Taub said. “Dad had perspective,” he added.

Even though his father did not suffer from the disease, he donated his brain to Alzheimer’s research, his son said. The family had debated as to how this might conform to Jewish law.

“Nothing can be more Jewish than to help alleviate the suffering of others,” the son quoted his father as saying.

Along with everything else he was, Taub was a grandfather, and his grandchildren came together at the microphone to take turns reading a tribute they wrote jointly. They spoke of “memories filled with fun, laughter, and joy…. He loved to make us smile and laugh…. He was just as passionate about playing with us as he was about work.”

Lautenberg ended his tribute on a poignant note.

As the end neared, the senator, at the hospital, faced a dilemma. He was needed in Washington for a critical vote, but “I didn’t want to leave my friend’s side.”

As Lautenberg related, Taub’s son Steven put it in perspective with the question: “What do you think my father would want you to do?”

“I left for Washington,” the senator said, adding, “You didn’t have to be a Taub to love Henry — I loved Henry.”

He is survived by his wife Marilyn; his brother Joseph Taub (and his wife Arlene); his daughter Judith Gold (and her husband Ronald); his sons Steven (and his wife Benay) and Ira (and his wife Shelley); and grandchildren Samantha, Jessica, and Evan Gold, Matthew, Eliana, Joshua, and Sarah Taub, and Sydney, Alex, and Julia Taub.

Arrangements were by Louis Suburban Chapel in Fair Lawn.

 
 

Taub family, once again, steps up to help the JCC

Community Challenge aims to spur donations

image
The new and imposing front of the building Jeff Karg

Shortly before his death in March, the philanthropist Henry Taub lay down a challenge to the Jewish communities served by the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades. If they would put up $3 million by April 1, 2012, to help complete the JCC’s capital campaign, he would put up the additional $1.5 million.

Taub’s commitment to enhancing Jewish life was legendary. The Kaplen JCC, however, had a special place in his heart. While his son Steven Taub calls it “a little bit of a stretch,” he says that his family’s association with, and support for, the Tenafly facility extends to some four generations.

“My father was one of its founders and the first president in the Tenafly location,” said Taub. “Together with my mother, he was always dedicated to the community and encouraged others to participate.”

The next generation followed suit, with Steven’s sister, Judy Gold, his brother, Ira, and his wife, Benay, serving as JCC board members. Their children, in turn, have participated in numerous JCC activities, from preschool to the teen philanthropy program.

Factoring in the Yiddish concert series sponsored by Henry and Marilyn Taub for seniors in memory of Marilyn’s parents, “that’s four generations,” said Taub.

Henry Taub supported the JCC even in his final days, said his son. According to Avi Lewinson, JCC executive director, Taub asked him what he could do to help his beloved community center and was told that while the fundraising effort had already collected $27 million for endowments and the capital campaign, $4.5 million was still needed to finish the job. As a result, Taub lay down his challenge. He stipulated, however, that every board member must make a contribution.

“Henry Taub supported the center from the beginning,” said Lewinson. “While he had the wherewithal to be able to donate whatever he wanted, he felt people shouldn’t rely on him and assume he’d take care of it. He wanted them to do their fair share. The Community Challenge is an incredible example of that.”

“Everyone believes it will happen,” said Steven Taub, despite the fact that the current economic climate has made fundraising more challenging, “Campaigns are conceived for the long term, and the leadership has responded.”

Lewinson echoed Taub’s optimism.

“It’s easier to do fundraising when you have matching dollars,” he said. “I feel blessed and amazed that in this climate, where so many not-for-profits are really struggling, this is resonating. People are stepping up. We’re getting gifts from people who already gave, as well as new gifts. It’s very heartening.”

“I feel truly honored that Henry felt as strongly as he did about the JCC,” said Lewinson. “This campaign is a real tribute to him.”

So far, the challenge has brought in pledges of about $1.2 million.

Lewinson said he doesn’t want to get down “to the last second” to collect the necessary funds.

He added, “I truly believe [the funding] won’t be an issue. People will step up to make sure we get it.”

Steven Taub said he believes the JCC is stronger than ever, citing the “parking lot factor” as evidence of its popularity.

“It’s tough to get a parking spot,” he said. “They have extensive programming covering the gamut from education to sports, arts, and music, as well as a health club. They cover the full age range, from the very young to seniors, and they have programs for people with special needs. In every sense, it’s a real community center for Jews regardless of their denomination.”

Steven Taub described the renovation of the community center as “just outstanding,” both aesthetically and in its ability to accommodate even more programming.

Lewinson said the facility is “always evaluating and adding programs. We look to see who isn’t being served. Finishing the campaign will enable us to be at the forefront of new and exciting programming for the Jewish community and the community at large.”

The executive director pointed out that programming for seniors was very important to Henry and Marilyn Taub, as was “getting Yiddishkeit out to the community.” He said that one area of expanded programming is “our relationship with Israel — helping people look at Israel in terms of what it does for humankind.”

According to Lewinson, the JCC’s current membership embraces approximately 3,500 units, or between 12,000 and 13,000 people who come in on a regular basis. This includes both members and nonmembers, whether they participate in special needs programs, concerts, lectures, or Judaic classes.

“Seven hundred different individuals participate in at least one program a week,” he said, adding that in recent years the number of Israeli and Russian families has increased. While the center attracts non-Jews as well, “it’s an overwhelmingly Jewish population,” he said.

Lewinson said the JCC is having a gala in November to celebrate “the completion of the renovation, 60 years as an organization, and 30 years in Tenafly.” The event will honor “special people,” he said, noting that Charles and Lynne Klatskin will receive a lifetime achievement award. Also honored will be JoJo Rubach, building chair; Pearl Seiden, campaign chair; and past presidents Nancy I. Brown, Daniel Rubin, and Robin Miller.

Lewinson attributes the success of his institution to “the mix of an incredibly committed community in terms of leadership and an incredible staff, all on same track, [with a] belief in and commitment to our core mission as a Jewish organization.

“Some Jewish organizations trying to be a success start to do things that the general community does, thinking it will help them,” he said. “Our strong commitment to our Jewish mission is what helps us succeed.”

 
 
 
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