Jim Joseph: Founder and Visionary
Jim Joseph, whose Hebrew name was Shimon ben Yosef Yitzhak, was born in Austria on September 5, 1935. Mr. Joseph was the eldest child of Margaret and Joseph Lipschutz. In April of 1938, Mr. Joseph left Austria with his family as the Hitler regime drove the Jews from the area. From Vienna, they escaped to Prague, where on March 4, 1939, they received American visas. In April 1939, Joseph and Margaret and their children came by ship to America, settling in Los Angeles.
Throughout Mr. Joseph’s childhood, his parents instilled in him a strong sense of Jewish heritage and pride that influenced him throughout his life.
After completing his undergraduate degree at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Joseph began a highly successful career acquiring and developing commercial and residential property for his company, Interland Corporation. As he built his business, Mr. Joseph donated generously to a wide variety of Jewish institutions and organizations.
In addition to his business successes, Mr. Joseph served on a wide range of charitable boards, with a special emphasis on educating Jewish youth and assisting the Jewish elderly. Mr. Joseph went on to form the Jim Joseph Foundation in 1987, a philanthropic foundation to support intensive Jewish education in America.
Mr. Joseph was a strong supporter of Israel, and he loved being an American. He was a keen observer of current events as well as a learned student of traditions and history. He felt America was truly “The Land of Opportunity,” where initiative and effort were rewarded.
Mr. Joseph desired to touch the lives of all Jewish children. He funded projects benefiting children and youth from across the Jewish denominational spectrum.
Mr. Joseph believed that the ability of the Jewish people to survive in America depends on Jewish students becoming stronger and prouder in their Jewish identity. He felt that by educating our children, we could ensure our survival for the next two thousand years, no matter what happens in the world at large. He also believed that the Jewish people need to stay strong in all areas and be leaders in our American communities.
Jim Joseph passed away December 19, 2003. He was buried by his family in the Jewish tradition in Israel.
Though the Jim Joseph Foundation will continue to strengthen education of Jewish youth in America, Mr. Joseph’s fervor and his distinctive voice will be greatly missed.