Finding Inspiration in our Philanthropic Community

“You can’t be Jewish alone. Being Jewish is a community endeavor.”

~ Moses Libitzky

Community is at the heart of Moses Libitzky’s philanthropy. His family history, longstanding commitment to the Jewish people, and business acumen all inform his approach to giving. A prominent East Bay philanthropist, Libitzky is a past president of The Jewish Community Foundation of the East Bay and has ties to many Jewish and non-Jewish causes. 

Moses, along with his wife Susan, has a history of generous giving and magnanimous leadership. The Libitzkys’ philanthropic work supports programs promoting Jewish learning for children and programs for Jewish high school and college-aged students. Moses is an enthusiastic supporter of PJ Library, which sends free, award-winning Jewish children’s books to families every month. He also provides leadership and financial support to AIPAC, UN Watch, and Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where he is on the board. 

When considering philanthropy and leadership – whether directed toward Jewish education or global policy – Libitzky stresses that the work must be intentional, focused, and effective.

Leading with others in a time of crisis

Recently, Libitzky’s commitment to the local Jewish community kicked into high gear through the Federation’s Pooled Recoverable Grant opportunity, designed to help Hebrew Free Loan answer an unprecedented spike in applications for zero-interest loans, due to needs arising from the COVID-19 crisis. 

At a March endowment committee meeting about the Federation’s COVID-19 response, committee chair Laura Lauder announced that the Federation was launching an effort to raise $5 million for Hebrew Free Loan by securing donor recommendations to deploy donor-advised fund and supporting foundation assets. Laura and Gary Lauder committed the initial $500,000 to the effort and asked the committee to approve a $1 million superdraw from the Federation’s endowment. Libitzky, who also serves on the endowment committee, quickly answered the call to join the Federation in this effort and matched the Lauders’ $500,000 gift.

Stronger together

In just a few weeks, dozens of donors signed up to participate in the pooled recoverable grant and met the $5 million goal. The Hebrew Free Loan COVID-19 response effort unfolded quickly, exhibiting the strength of the united Bay Area Jewish philanthropic community. By working with conviction, the leadership from our Bay Area philanthropic community is mobilizing donors to support Jewish organizations and individuals most affected by this crisis. As we near the one-year anniversary of the East Bay Foundation and Federation coming together with the San Francisco-based Federation, we are excited to witness the amplified impact of working as one.

Susan and Moses Libitzky

To learn more about how you can continue to help, please visit our COVID-19 resources page.

Categories: Philanthropy


May 07, 2020


Jill McCleary