Shirley and Jacob Fuchsberg, Z”L”, for whom the Fuchsberg Jerusalem Center is named, shared a history of commitment to and support for Conservative Judaism and Israel.
Judge Jacob Fuchsberg was born in 1913 on the lower east side of New York City, to Gussie and Max Fuchsberg, immigrants from Austria/Poland. He first attended yeshiva, then James Monroe High School in Bronx, NY, graduated from NYU Law School and became a prominent litigator. In 1974 he was elected Associate Justice of the New York State Court of Appeals. From early adulthood, he was an active member of Conservative synagogues, first the Brooklyn Jewish Center, then Temple Israel Center in White Plains, NY. In the late 1950’s he was instrumental in founding the Jewish Community Center of Harrison in Harrison, NY, and served for ten years as its first president. He was a leader of the UJA-Federation of Jewish Philanthropy.
Judge Fuchsberg visited Israel many times, participating in an archaeological dig with Nelson Glueck in 1959, as a legal observer at the Eichmann trial in 1961, and often visited relatives and toured the country. During his last trip, just after the Gulf War in 1991, he attended his granddaughter Michelle’s bat mitzvah on Masada, officiated with Natan Sharansky and the Ethiopian Chief Rabbi at a Passover seder for new immigrants in Mevaseret Zion, and established a connection with the Masorti kehillah, Moreshet Avraham, which he generously supported.
Shirley Fuchsberg strongly supported Israel since its founding in 1948. A Life Member of Hadassah, She served 25 years as Chairman of Israel Bonds, Women’s Division of Greater New York. She served on the boards of the Solomon Schechter School of Westchester, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the Jewish Community Center of Harrison and the National Conference of Christians and Jews.
In the late 1990’s, Shirley Fuchsberg, on behalf of herself and her late husband, Judge Jacob Fuchsberg, gave to the Center so generously that the entire complex was named for them. Shirley Fuchsberg’s dream to have a visible and active center for Conservative Jews in Israel was fueled by her love for Israel and her outrage at Israeli Governmental intolerance toward the non-Orthodox. In her own words, “We feel just as strongly about Israel as [they] do. They just can’t co-opt it.”