With the passing of Jack Kay, the Jewish world has lost one of its most committed community leaders and forward thinking philanthropists. A resident of Chevy Chase, Maryland and Palm Beach, Florida, Kay died on April 21 at the age of 87.
Kay was chairman of the board of the Kay Management Company in Silver Spring, Maryland, and one of the founding partners of the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI), a think tank in Jerusalem dedicated to action-oriented policy planning to ensure the thriving of the Jewish people and civilization globally.
“We are devastated to learn of Jack’s passing,” said JPPI co-chairmen Stuart Eizenstat and Dennis Ross in a statement. “He was a giant in the Jewish world, whose commitment and support of Israel and Jewish causes worldwide, as well as in our Washington community, was legendary. He was one of the last representatives of a giant Jewish generation, one that witnessed both the Holocaust and the Jewish revival.”
A tireless champion of Israel and the Jewish people, Jack Kay was a generous supporter of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa and served on the American Technion Society’s (ATS) National Board of Regents at the time of his death.
In 2012, he and his wife, Barbara Green Kay, a leader and philanthropist in her own right, established the Barbara and Jack Kay Center for Communal Life at JPPI, to ensure that local communities around the world plan effectively for the challenges they face, both today and tomorrow.
In addition, he supported organizations as varied as Hadassah, the Jewish Social Service Agency, American Friends of Magen David Adom, the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington, the Federation of Greater Washington, and numerous others. He also served on the boards of more than 20 local, national and international organizations.
While grounded in the present, Jack always kept one eye on the future. In 2007, he endowed the Abraham S. and Jack Kay Chair for Israel Studies at his alma mater, the University of Maryland at College Park.
He helped his congregation, Adas Israel in Washington, DC, establish a sustained Israel-trip program for its 10th grade confirmation class, which was named the Abe and Minnie Kay Israel Experience in honor of his parents. Earlier this year he pledged one million dollars to establish the Barbara and Jack Kay Early Childhood Learning Center at the Mandel JCC in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
Together with his father, Abraham S. Kay, an immigrant from Lithuania, he built the Kay Construction Company in Silver Spring, MD. They became pioneers in developing the Maryland suburbs of Washington DC during the construction boom that followed World War II.
Jack Kay, who was predeceased by his first wife, Ina, and his daughter Shelley, is survived by his wife Barbara and daughter Lauren, as well as 21 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.