March 4, 2024
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Swinging for the Fences: Turning 5K Into 10K

Avid readers of my monthly finance column in The Jewish Link have likely grown accustomed to my investment philosophy. They have perhaps come to understand that this philosophy is grounded in a very disciplined process with regard to both investment selection and portfolio management. Thus, you could be surprised with the title of this column, which may appear out of character. But the message of this piece has nothing to do with investing. Rather, it is intended to be a clarion call to the Jewish community to “go all in” on participating in a tremendous and timely mitzvah: helping our Jewish brethren in Ukraine.

For the past decade or so, the town of Highland Park, New Jersey, has organized a day in early spring with a number of activities, including a 5K run in the morning and a street fair on Raritan Avenue later in the day. Several years ago, I saw this as an opportunity to organize a team of runners that would help raise money for any number of worthy causes. In 2018, we helped raise funds for each of our runners’ personal causes. In 2019, we coordinated all our efforts to help raise about $7,000 for Kids Kicking Cancer, an organization that helps children battle cancer. Due to COVID-related constraints, we were unable to organize the event in 2020 and 2021. But we are back in full force in 2022 with a unified effort to raise money for Tikvah Children’s Home, a very worthy organization that has been addressing the plight of Jewish orphans in Ukraine for over two decades.

While there are many worthy charities that require our support, I feel that there is an added urgency this year to show solidarity and financial support to Tikvah at this critical time. We need to help some of the most needy and vulnerable Jewish children in the world to remain safe and secure. The organization is facing the most difficult circumstances imaginable today as the war in Ukraine festers and is causing unspeakable devastation and dislocation.

Back to the Future

Many of the older readership of this newspaper remember the powerful impact the Jewish community had in the 1960s and 1970s when rallying together in support of critical Jewish causes. In June 1967, I remember hundreds of Jews (of all denominations) in Monmouth County packing the Asbury Park High School to show solidarity with Israel during the Six Day War. From the eyes of an 8-year-old at the time, the sight of so many Jews waving hundreds of Israeli flags in a packed auditorium left an indelible mark on me. I marveled at the fact that a relatively small community could have a powerful impact when our efforts were effectively coordinated.

In later years, social actions on behalf of the Jewish community at large became a raison d’etre for the global Jewish community. Many of us will never forget the hundreds of thousands of Jews who gathered each year at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations to voice our solidarity with Soviet Jewry. This annual event became the springboard of year-round endeavors and activities that included helping smuggle siddurim, Judaica and letters of hope and solidarity to refuseniks. Many of these refuseniks were jailed solely for expressing their desire to emigrate to their homeland, the land of Israel.

While the process of securing freedom for Soviet Jewry was gradual, many political experts believe that the participation of so many Jews of all ages helped accelerate the process of freedom for our brethren in the Soviet Union.

We Can Do More

Despite the many technological breakthroughs since those halcyon days of unified advocacy and social actions, we seem to have less and less time to accomplish the supremely important task of helping our Jewish brothers when in need. One can cynically claim that there is just no time available to get involved. And, at times, I am just as guilty. But there are always some opportunities to do one’s part without requiring much time or effort. The infrastructure already exists to help our brethren in Ukraine. All you need to do is write a check.

A ‘Yizkor Appeal’

On the eighth day of Pesach, the rav of Congregation Ahavas Achim, Rabbi Steven Miodownik, spoke about the people who made it possible for us to be here today. Someone, perhaps many people, made decisions in their lives that helped us come into this world and enabled us to live and thrive in this great country that we now enjoy. Rabbi Miodownik closed the sermon by asking each of us to consider the sacrifices we can make to help shape future generations.

Just Do It

Team Caplan Capital will be running in this year’s 5K race. This year’s team includes Neal Auman, Jonathan Caplan, Yehuda Hecht, Michael Meiner, Jeremy Renna, Tova Renna and Greg Sholom. Please “join” our team and show your support for this important endeavor. Be part of the answer to the pain inflicted on our people. Just do it! Make a difference for those who need your support to ensure that our people’s future becomes brighter.

You can send your tax-deductible checks made out to Tikvah Corp. to: Caplan Capital Management, 24 North 3rd Avenue, Suite 201, Highland Park, New Jersey 08904. We have raised thousands already and hope to turn our 5K into $10K of financial assistance. Thank you in advance for your generosity! Tizku L’Mitzvos!

The views presented are those of the authors and should not be construed as personal investment advice or a solicitation to purchase or sell securities referenced in this market commentary. The authors or clients may own stock or sectors discussed. All economic and performance information is historical and not indicative of future results. Any investment involves risk. You should not assume that any discussion or information provided here serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice. All information is obtained from sources believed to be reliable. However, we do not guarantee the accuracy, adequacy or completeness of any information and are not responsible for any errors or omissions or from the results obtained from the use of such information.


Jonathan D. Caplan, a former Wall Street executive, is president and founder of wealth management firm Caplan Capital Management, Inc., with offices in Highland Park and Hackensack. He holds a BA from Yeshiva University and an MBA in finance from New York University Stern School of Business. You can find other recent investment articles by Jonathan at www.caplancapital.com/blog.

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