Saba to Every Scout: The Legacy of Art Wolff, z”l.

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By Alyson Chensasky

In Memphis, you can’t think of the Israel Scouts without thinking of Art Wolff, z”l.

Connecting Memphis to Israel was always Art’s passion. When he learned of a program in Israel that brought young Scouts to America, he knew he’d found a program that would impact the Memphis Jewish community.

As he said in 2015, “the purpose of this program is to help establish relationships and to have people get to know each other and feel brotherhood and friendship to help make this world a better place. (The Scouts) have helped Memphis Jews feel proud of their association with Israel and the Memphis Jewish community has helped them to better understand American Jews.”

He became known as Saba to the scouts, a title he valued, embodying it wholeheartedly. In fact, because of Art Wolff, Israeli Scouts have made the trip to Memphis for decades. The relationship between the Memphis Jewish community and the Israeli Scouts has been a symbiotic one in which lifetime friendships were forged and ties between Memphis and Israel strengthened.

Even though Art passed away earlier this year, decades from now Saba will still be impacting Memphis Jewish lives and helping create relationships with Scouts and Memphis Jews. This is his lasting legacy and one which he thoughtfully created through the Jewish Foundation of Memphis. He wanted to ensure the summer tradition of Israeli Scouts in Memphis to continue long after he was gone, setting up his legacy gift to ensure it would happen.

Leaving a legacy gift is simple and, like Art Wolff’s gift, can impact the community and change lives for decades. As the Foundation’s own Sheri Gadberry said, “When I was growing up and saw the Israeli Scouts in the summer, their presence made Israel seem much more attainable for me. Going to Israel seemed real because of the Scouts.”

“One of the greatest joys of an estate planning practice is meeting truly remarkable people. Art Wolff was one of those people,” said Steve McDaniel, an estate attorney and partner at Williams McDaniel PLLC, and a member of Jewish Foundation of Memphis’s Professional Advisory Group. “He was special. The love he had for his family and his commitment to his favorite charities resonates in each section of his planning documents. I am so blessed to have known him.”

Art Wolff isn’t the only Memphis donor who thoughtfully planned his legacy – more than 250 other members of the Memphis Jewish community have let us know that they are remembering their favorite Memphis Jewish organization in their estate plans.  These legacy donors were honored along with the agencies that participated in the Foundation’s Create Your Jewish Legacy initiative at JCP’s annual meeting on June 12.  The celebration was the culmination of 4 years of effort in building the capacity of our Jewish community organizations to make legacy giving part of their giving culture.

What legacy will you leave?  How will you touch lives after you are no longer here?  The resources at the Foundation can help.  Contact us at 901-374-0400.

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