Hartman Institute Announces Establishment of Kaufman Family David Hartman Chair
Richard and Sylvia Kaufman chose to establish this chair to honor both David and Donniel Hartman, who gave them an opportunity to learn about the Jewish tradition in new ways

Hartman Institute Announces Establishment of Kaufman Family David Hartman Chair

Endowment of $2.5 million for Position to be Held by Hartman’s President

We are deeply honored to announce the establishment of the Richard and Sylvia Kaufman Family David Hartman Chair, to be held by the President of the Shalom Hartman Institute, with a gift of $2.5 million.

Richard and Sylvia Kaufman chose to establish this chair to honor both David and Donniel Hartman, who gave them an opportunity to learn about the Jewish tradition in new ways.

“When we first met David Hartman in Jerusalem, we all fell in love with him; my sons had never met a rabbi quite like him,” Dick Kaufman said.

The Kaufmans became longtime members of the Shalom Hartman Institute Board of Directors, through which Dick and Sylvia continued their study of Jewish texts.

Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman, President of the Hartman Institute, said that the Kaufmans’ decision to share the naming of the chair with Institute Founder Rabbi Prof. David Hartman is a testament to their decades-long, deep personal friendship with him.

“I want to express my deep appreciation to Dick and Sylvia, close personal and institutional friends, for their generous gift and commitment to the Institute’s work, its values and its longevity,” Donniel Hartman said. “The chair is designated to be held by the President of the Shalom Hartman Institute, and I am honored to be the first person to serve as the Kaufman Family David Hartman Chair.”

Richard Kaufman is chairman of Amstore Corporation of Grand Rapids, Mich., a century-old, privately held maker of high-quality, custom store fixtures and interiors to leading national retailers, brands, and other consumer-facing organizations.

Since marrying and making their home in Muskegon, Sylvia and Dick have been active in creating programs for interfaith dialogue and, in recognition of Sylvia’s leadership, established the Richard and Sylvia Kaufman Family Interfaith Institute housed at Grand Valley State University in Grand, Rapids, Michigan.

The Institute promotes interfaith understanding through studies and community programs, one of which regularly hosted David Hartman and continues to feature Donniel Hartman as a speaker. It annually awards the Sylvia Kaufman Interfaith Leadership Award to interfaith leaders in the Western Michigan community.

The Kaufmans have been involved in many other Michigan community and Jewish cultural life programs for decades.

Donniel Hartman said he hopes that the named chair becomes the first of many at the Hartman Institute. “Gifts like the Kaufmans’ are critical in building the Institute and ensuring its future and the future of the Jewish people; we are thrilled to honor those who are able to help us to do so,” he said.

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