Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lecture celebrates legacy of Monsey philanthropists 

As a young man during the Great Depression, Israel Stern accomplished something most would think impossible.

He went door-to-door selling electric vacuums at a time when many families could barely put food on the table. If that wasn't difficult enough, he often worked neighborhoods that didn't yet have electricity. His pitch was that once electricity came, which surely would be soon, the family would be the first to enjoy the luxury of a vacuum.

Stern was born in Poland in 1908, and was raised and educated in New York City. In 1930, he married Pearl Gulker in the Bronx, cementing a partnership that lasted until his death in 1997 at 88.

Theirs was more than a marriage. In 1939, they were partners in the founding of Metropolitan Vacuum Cleaner Co., which moved to Suffern in 1968 and thrives there under management of a second and third generation of Sterns. The company designs, manufactures and markets all sorts of vacuums and air-moving appliances, from dryers to pumps and more.

The Sterns settled in Monsey and became active in the Jewish community there and in the life of the entire county.

Their success allowed them to become influential philanthropists. By the time of Israel Stern's death on April 7, 1997, he was regarded by religious and secular leaders as one of the founders of Rockland's modern Jewish community.

Stern had been chairman of the Rockland United Jewish Appeal; a member of the county Israel Bonds committee; a founding member of what is now the Rockland Holocaust Museum and Study Center; a founder and former president of the Rockland Red Mogen Dovid of Israel; and a master builder of Yeshiva University.

Stern had also been a member of the Rockland County Human Rights Commission, and a founder and board member of the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation. The Sterns also donated the Jewish Community Meditation Room at the hospital.

Rabbi David Chanofsky of what was then Monsey Jewish Center, said of Stern at his death, "He was involved and was a leader of every possible cause and everything for good. He was one of the most perfect people I've ever known. He's just so very special."


Why would "The One and Only Heimishe News Center" promote a person who was a good standing member of the only conservative jewish place in Monsey???


Get your facts straight. Izzy Stern was a mensch of mensches and belonged to Communitty Synagogue of Monsey- an orthodox shul. Rabbi David chanofsky, another real mensch was the orthodox rabbi of the conservative shul


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