To commemorate their first year of marriage, Mark Sklarz gave his wife, Judy, stock certificates. After all it was the paper anniversary. Years later that gesture of love would transform into a gift from the couple to their beloved synagogue. Over time the stock certificates appreciated significantly, but the Sklarz never sold them. Instead they used their good fortune to establish the Sklarz Family Fund for the Rabbi Herbert N. Brockman Rabbinic Endowment , a permanent endowment at the Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven for the benefit of  their synagogue, Congregation Mishkan Israel in Hamden and to honor the remarkable work and cherished leadership of their revered Rabbi.

Mishkan Israel, one of the oldest Reform Congregations in the United States, was established in 1840 in New Haven, above a furniture store, and has a rich tradition of dedication and service from members.  Mark and his parents joined Mishkan Israel in 1952 and Mark became a Bar Mitzvah in the magnificent sanctuary on Orange Street in 1958 under the tutelage of Rabbi Robert E. Goldberg.  Rabbi Goldberg, a close friend and confident of Doctor Martin Luther King, was a major and instrumental participant in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.  In Mark’s words, “Rabbi Goldberg taught us as youngsters that bigotry and prejudice of any form was intolerable and it was our affirmative responsibility to eradicate bias of any kind.  It was our earliest and most lasting lesson of Tikun Olam.”  Each of the Sklarz children, Jeffrey and Rick, became a Bar Mitzvah at Mishkan Israel and had the great fortune to benefit from the guidance of Rabbi Brockman.  As both Judy and Mark commented, “Rabbi Brockman is  truly an extraordinary man; a spiritual and moral leader of unparalleled intellect, morality, ethics and conscience.  To have had the privilege of being inspired by two such great teachers as Rabbi Goldberg and Rabbi Brockman has been one of the great fortunes of our lives.  

The Sklarz Family has sought to honor and perpetuate that legacy with their creation of the Fund. Rabbi Herbert Brockman talked about the gift and the couple. “I am sort of the new kid on the block at Congregation Mishkan Israel, but it was clear from day one that this was a special place and Mark and Judy a special couple. They immediately made me feel like I was joining a family. With their gift, the Sklarz are a great example of what selflessness and dedication are all about.”

Mark and Judy have a long history of supporting Jewish organizations in the greater New Haven area. In addition to establishing the endowment for Mishkan Israel, they have served their community in a number of ways. Mark is a past President of Congregation Mishkan Israel as well as a past Chair of the Jewish Foundation, past President and current Chair of the Jewish Federation, past President of the JCC and past Chair of the Jewish Community Relations Council. Judy is a Lion of Judah and has been a volunteer of many organizational committees and events including serving as a director of the Jewish Community Center, a tutor of the Jewish Literacy Program and a long time member of the Planning and Allocations Committee of the Jewish Federation. Their granddaughters, Lauren and Alexa live in Woodbridge with Judy’s and Mark’s daughter-in-law Karen and son, Jeffrey.  Their son Rick and his wife Cambra reside in Los Angeles, California.

Judy and Mark have also established a PACE (Perpetual Annual Campaign Endowment) Fund for the benefit of the Jewish Federation Annual Campaign as well as a family Philanthropic Fund.  By using appreciated stock to establish the Sklarz Family Fund for the Herbert N. Brockman Rabbinic Endowment Fund, the Sklarz were able to claim a charitable income tax deduction for the full fair market value of the stock without having to recognize any capital gains tax.


Type of Fund/Area of Need: Funds for Synagogues

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