Donor Snapshot: Dr. E.J. and Reva Gordon

GordonsThe JCC got its first endowment fund 50 years ago through a bequest from community activists E.J. and Reva Gordon. A special committee chaired by their nephew, Sam Gordon z’l, developed guidelines regarding the use of the endowment’s earnings for JCC cultural events and lectures. They remain in place to this day.

The Gordons were instrumental in the growth and enrichment of Jewish communal services in Columbus. Professionally, Time Magazine featured Dr. Gordon’s groundbreaking medical research in a special December 1929 feature. He was listed in the Biographical Encyclopedia of American Jews, and his portrait was installed at the Ohio State University Hospital and the Schonthal Community Center; the precursor to today’s JCC.

Reva’s relief work for Jewish refugees was particularly noteworthy. The Gordon’s home on Town Street was the first stop for newcomers to Columbus. In 1940, Reva organized the 571 Shop on Rich Street, an industrial project to train refugees and the underprivileged for gainful employment. During World War II, she served on numerous local and national refugee and war relief organizations, including the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the Organizing Committee for National Russian War Relief, and Save the Children, which created an initial draft for what would become the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child.

Dr. Gordon was the head of the Ohio State University Department of Medicine from 1926-1936. He served on the Board of the Jewish Welfare Federation of Columbus and the Columbus Hebrew School. He was President of the Schonthal Center and the Hillel Foundation. Dr. Gordon was the first President of the Columbus Community Council and served on the National Board of the United Service for New Americans. Along with Reva, he was a key leader on the National Council of the National Jewish Welfare Board.

Today, the JCC has over $4 million in endowments. Its first permanent fund from Dr. E. J. and Reva Gordon set the gold standard, just as the Gordons did during their memorable careers.