June 22, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Michael Lieb Jeser, z”l

מיכאל לב בן שאול וציפורה

January 28, 1976 – July 24, 2021

26 Shevat 5736 – 15 Av 5781

(Courtesy of the Jeser family) The Jeser family has lost its king, its hero.

On Shabbat Va’etchanan Michael lost his four-year battle with esophageal cancer.

He leaves his much-loved and adored wife, his Malka, Laura, and the 4-year-old light of his life, Eleanore. He will be greatly missed by his brothers, his partners-in-crime, Marc and Dave; his sisters-in-law Elizabeth and Lisa; and his 14 nephews and nieces. His parents, Faye and Paul, will never fully recover from losing their baby, their hero and their most special mensch.

From a very young age, Michael had a special relationship with Judaism and Israel. His very first trip (of many) to Israel was when he was minus two months old (when Faye was seven months pregnant). He was a graduate of the JCC preschool in Orlando and attended elementary school at the Moriah School in Englewood. During high school (Dwight Englewood) he participated in the March of the Living, traveling to Poland and then to Israel.

After graduating from the University of Arizona, he spent a year in Israel on Project Otzma, where he taught English and led afterschool programs in immigrant neighborhood schools in Sha’ar Hanegev. In 2004 he received double masters degrees from USC (social work) and HUC (Jewish communal service).

As a member of the Jewish communal service field Michael’s professional experience included being part of the staff at the MetroWest Jewish Community Center and Camp Deeny Riback (New Jersey), Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston and the Jewish Community Center at Milken (LA). He was the highly successful and greatly respected director of the real estate and construction division and director, Geller Leadership Project for the LA Jewish Federation. Michael was the executive director of USC Hillel and the Jewish World Watch. In 2015 Michael was appointed director of the annual campaign and the Life and Legacy program for the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland (Oregon). For the past three years, Michael was the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater San Diego.

The love for Michael has shown itself in many ways. The support given to him by the SD Federation’s leadership and staff has been beyond any expectations. When Michael decided to run a GoFundMe campaign to provide support for Laura and Eleanore, over 1,400 people responded! There have been over 1,000 personal emails and comments on the many Facebook streams that announced his passing. As one close family friend wrote, “There are more tears than words.” As his cousin from Israel wrote, “Michael, who gave you permission to leave?”

One of Michael’s “happy places” was Camp Tevya (New Hampshire) where he attended from an early age through college when he was appointed boy’s head counselor. His other “happy places” included rooting for the Jets and Celtics, going to Disneyland, whale and eagle watching, going to the movie theater and eating popcorn, drinking with his brothers and close friends and, most of all, sitting on the couch with Laura and Eleanore watching his favorite TV shows and movies.

The family has requested that donations in Michael’s memory be given to either the Jewish Federation of San Diego (in support of the Michael Jeser Outstanding Jewish Professional Award) at https://www.jewishinsandiego.org/, or Camp Tevya at https://www.camptevya.org/support-camp/.

May Michael’s memory forever be a blessing.

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