Zalman Bernstein served in the U.S. Navy, acquired an education in economics, and then brazened his way onto Wall Street—first talking his way into an entry-level job and eventually founding his own brokerage firm on boldly unconventional practices. He made a fortune, and later in life devoted himself to Orthodox Judaism. Bernstein eventually gave most of his money to three different foundations intended to help Jewish religious practice flourish in the modern age. The Tikvah Fund, created in 1992, was the smallest but perhaps the most influential because it focused, under the direction of Roger Hertog (a business associate of Bernstein and himself a savvy philanthropist), on advancing intellectual excellence within traditional Judaism and bringing this wisdom to Jewish leaders.
The Tikvah Center in Manhattan offers one- to three-week institutes on Jewish thought and history, two- to three-day workshops for busy professionals, and summer fellowships for college and high-school students. Tikvah also sponsors public lectures and events. And the fund subsidizes publications: the quarterly Jewish Review of Books, the monthly Mosaic, the Library of Jewish Ideas book series, and others. Tikvah was also important in the creation of Shalem College, Israel’s first Ivy League-style liberal arts college with a core curriculum.
- Tikvah Fund, tikvahfund.org/about