JJ Greenberg
In memory of JJ Greenberg


Fond Remembrances of Jonathan "JJ" Greenberg

Fond Remembrances of Jonathan "JJ" Greenberg

September 23, 2002

Jonathan “JJ” Greenberg didn’t have many friends, he had hundreds, and those who knew him said he touched the lives of thousands.

Mr. Greenberg, 36, the executive director of the Jewish Life Network in New York City, died Sept. 14, 2002, in Tel Aviv after his bicycle was struck by a car a day earlier.

Mr. Greenberg served as executive director of Jewish Life Network-Steinhardt Foundation in New York since its inception in 1995.

“JJ devoted his life to the Jewish community,” said Michael H. Steinhardt, chairman of JLN and chairman of Jewish Renaissance Media, parent company of the Detroit Jewish News. “He was the sort of person who had hundreds and hundreds of friends. He had this rare combination of modesty and generosity of spirit, which made everyone just adore him.”

Mr. Greenberg supervised the creation, development and direction of all JLN programs, which include Birthright Israel; Makor; the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education (PEJE); Spark: Partnership for Service; Synagogue Transformation And Renewal (STAR); Jewish Early Childhood Education Partnership (JECEP); and the Jewish Retreat Center.

He was also involved in overseeing JLN’s college programs, including Hillel’s Steinhardt Jewish Campus Service Corps, Hillel’s Steinhardt Scholars and the Jewish Heritage Programs.

“JJ’s life, though tragically curtailed, was a celebration,” said Richard Joel, president and international director of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life.

“In his time with us, he was a great friend to many of us and to Hillel as an idea. He was passionately committed to Jewish renaissance.”

“He lived his father’s [Rabbi Yitz Greenberg’s] Torah of regarding every human being as having infinite value,” said Rabbi David Gedzelman, creative and rabbinic director of the Makor-Steinhardt Center of the 92nd Street Y in New York.

“He always went out of his way to take care of the people in the wide circles of his life. He was a constant presence at Makor and brought warmth to our programs and building every time he walked through the door.”

“The whole community is really mourning,” said Cheryl Cook, who worked for Makor and was raised in Farmington Hills. “There were comments about him in every synagogue around here over Yom Kippur.”

Prior to helping establish JLN, Mr. Greenberg worked with outreach programs for Jewish youth and adults. He served as national adviser for the National Conference of Synagogue Youth and as executive director of the Jewish Youth Movement (JYM), which ran culture clubs in 40 public and private high schools in the New York area.

JJ Greenberg was buried in Jerusalem on Sept. 17. He is survived by his parents, Rabbi Yitz and Blu Greenberg of Riverdale, N.Y.; his brothers, David and Moshe; and his sisters, Deborah and Goodey.