July 21, 2011

In Blessed Memory: Myra Kraft, z"l

To:       JDC Board of Directors
From:   Irv Smokler, President
            Steve Schwager, CEO
Re:       A Loss in the JDC Family
Date:    July 20, 2011

It is with sadness and a deep sense of loss that we share the news that JDC Board member Myra Hiatt Kraft passed away early this morning after a long battle with cancer. She was 68 years old.

Myra came onto the Board in 1994.  She chaired JDC’s Rescue Committee from December 2002 through December 2007.  Then she focused on needs in the country that she loved:  Israel.  She was the Vice Chair of the Israel Committee from January through December 2007 and then stepped up as Chair of the Committee from December 2007 through December 2010.

But as most of you know, JDC was just one piece of Myra’s remarkable world of caring and philanthropy, a world she embraced even as a young girl.  She inherited her passion for philanthropy from her late father, Jacob Hiatt, who escaped the rise of Nazism when he emigrated from Lithuania in the mid-1930’s.

Aside from JDC, she supported a myriad number of foundations, organizations, charities, and programs – always with a simple philosophy that she described in the following way:  “I’m not looking for earth-shattering ideas, but good programs that you know whatever you give them is going to be used well and that it’s needed.”

Barry Shrage, in his announcement of her death to the Boston Federation, commented that “her acts of gimilat chasadim (individual, anonymous, personal acts of loving kindness) were an essential part of who she was as a person.  No one in need was turned away.”

Both the Jewish and secular global families have lost a remarkable and loving friend and benefactor.  We extend our heartfelt condolences to Myra’s beloved husband, Bob, to her four sons – Jonathan, Daniel, Josh, and David – and to her eight grandchildren.  May her memory be for a blessing; we will remember her always and know without a doubt that the world is surely a better place because of her.

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