Robert Kraft, Jewish businessman and philanthropist, nearly leapt through the glass window of his skybox at the Superdome in New Orleans as the clock ticked down and the 20-17 victory over the heavily favored St. Louis Rams brought the team he owns, the New England Patriots, its first Super Bowl title. Along with his wife, Myra, Kraft has been heavily involved in Jewish and non-Jewish projects throughout New England, New York and Israel. The Krafts, in collaboration with Combined Jewish Philanthropies, sponsor the Myra and Robert Kraft Passport to Israel Fund, which has helped thousands of children involved in Jewish studies take an educational trip to Israel sometime between their sophomore and senior years of high school.
In addition, Kraft is the primary shareholder of Carmel Container Systems, Israel's largest packaging plant.
In 1999, Kraft brought his love of football to Israel in the form of a Kraft Stadium, at the northern end of Sacher Park in Jerusalem, used to accommodate the Jerusalem-based American Touch Football in Israel league.
Kraft's father, Harry Kraft, was a highly respected leader in the Jewish community of Brookline, a Boston suburb.
Myra Kraft, a 1964 Brandeis graduate and the daughter of Boston philanthropist Jacob Hiatt, has been a trustee at Brandeis since 1988.
Kraft's Jewish identity has even occasionally trickled into his position as owner of the Patriots.
On Sept. 22, 1996, he asked that the kickoff of a game between the Patriots and the Jacksonville Jaguars be changed to avoid a conflict with Yom Kippur, which started at sundown that evening. -- Jacob Horowitz, Jewish Telegraphic Agency