Jack Nash z”l

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Jack Nash, a hedge fund pioneer and important Jewish philanthropist, passed away yesterday at the age of 79.

Mr. Nash was one of the founders of the New York Sun and the newspaper published an editorial today in his memory.

After the jump, I’ve pasted an email that Nigel Savage of Hazon just sent out, remembering Mr. Nash’s indispensable role in helping Hazon get off the ground.

Baruch dayan emet.

New York
Thursday July 31st 2008 / 28th Tammuz, 5768

Dear All,
A man named Jack Nash died last night, may his memory be for a blessing.

His name is not mentioned anywhere on Hazon’s website, and nor has his name appeared in any previous Hazon email. But there would be no Hazon were it not for Jack Nash: no bike rides, not the more than 700 people who’ve traveled to Israel with Hazon, the thousand families now members of Jewish CSAs, the couples who met at our Rides who’ve got married, the kids who’ve been born, the man who came to our New York Ride and converted to Judaism, the two bat mitzvahs we’ve hosted, the staff and alumni, the programs we’ve supported in Israel and the US, the Jewish food curricula, the teens and families who’ve grown through our programs – none of it.

I met Jack just twice. The first time was when he agreed to give the money to launch Hazon – an extremely significant amount of money, given to an English 30-something who’d never previously worked in the Jewish community, never run a non-profit, never worked in the United States and, for good measure, could barely ride a bike – and had certainly never been on, much less led, a 3000-mile bike ride. (One memorable interchange in that first meeting was when he said “a cross-USA Jewish environmental bike ride? That’s an interesting idea. But why don’t you go by bus – you’d get there quicker…” In this way he taught me my first lesson in the need to explicate more clearly what Hazon was about. )

Jack and his wife Helen and their family in fact provided not only the money but also, initially, everything else we needed: for Hazon’s first year of operations I worked in the offices of the Nash family’s foundation.