I first met Stanley Hirsh in 1984 when he stopped by to visit an after-school program in Jerusalem where I was working as a counselor. The kids and I were playing a game of basketball on a cracked blacktop court.
After watching from the fence for a while, Stanley called me over and introduced himself. I assumed he was going to congratulate me for helping the indigent immigrant children of Israel.
"How can someone as tall as you," he asked, "stink so bad at basketball?"
Hirsh was several handfuls of human being. He belonged to a vanishing generation of Jewish philanthropists, self-made men (they were mostly men) whose drive, talent, luck and brazenness made them rich. They were tough, sometimes even gruff, and yet exceedingly generous. Their philanthropy arose from the same impulse as their wealth. They wanted to make the most, and give the most.
Stanley's involvement with The Journal came toward the end of a long life of achievement and giving. But he showed great, youthful enthusiasm for this paper. He shared a vision of a newspaper that could serve as a kind of hub for an increasingly diverse and far-flung community. He supported decisions that greatly increased The Journal's size and distribution. He supported editorial content that was tough, fair and compassionate.
We at The Jewish Journal mourn his loss, and extend our deepest condolences to his family.