On behalf of the National Jewish Democratic Council’s (NJDC’s) leadership, staff and members, NJDC Chair Marc R. Stanley and President & CEO David A. Harris today issued the following statement, upon learning of the death of B. Rapoport:
As those who ever spent time with him know, there will only ever be one ‘B,’ and we already miss him tremendously.
B was such an ardent and fierce liberal, and proud of it—very much a product of his progressive Jewish roots. It was this background of Jewish values that led him to be a kingmaker within the Democratic Party, sitting with presidents, senators and representatives alike. And it was these same Jewish values that drove him to be so profoundly generous philanthropically—and to return to committed Jewish ritual practice later in life. At 94, those visiting him in his work office would see him proudly pointing you towards those things most important to him—his photos of family, and Jewish texts as well.
Just as B played an outsized role in so many things, B had a tremendous impact on NJDC—and as he frequently said, NJDC was close to his heart. Indeed, NJDC named its Tikkun Olam award after him, giving it to Senators Ron Wyden, Ben Cardin and Al Franken; he and his wife Audre received the Hubert Humphrey Humanitarian award in 2004, an award received by President Clinton, Vice President Gore, and then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton; and we also gave him our ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ in 2006.
Knowing what he has done to make our world a better place, B’s memory will always serve as a blessing. But now we just miss him, his warmth and his incredible spirit greatly. Our thoughts, prayers and condolences are with Audre and the entire Rapoport family today.
B. Rapoport once said, ‘When too few have too much, and too many have too little, we do not have a sustainable society.’ Few Americans did more to create a sustainable society and a just world than B. Rapoport. He loved and took great pride in his family. His causes were diverse; he loved his alma mater, the University of Texas, he was a stalwart supporter of Israel, and he was an unabashed liberal who worked for justice around the world. He was also my friend.
B. invested in causes larger than himself. Though he lived in a modest ranch home in Waco and drove an old car, he donated tens of millions of dollars to organizations large and small to improve our nation and our world.
Always working alongside B. to address the great challenges of our time was his beloved wife of 70 years, Audre. I hope it is a comfort to her and the many others that loved B., that so many grieve their loss and are praying for them in this sad time.
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