Click here to view video.
Although she now resides in New Jersey, Judy Auritt Klein stays actively connected with the Lehigh Valley her home for 43 years as a champion of Jewish giving. She does this through the Robert and Judy Auritt Klein Family Fund, set up with the help of the Lehigh Valley Jewish Foundation, the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley's community endowment fund. Through this philanthropic fund, Judy is able to easily give to organizations across the country and around the world, while still supporting the Lehigh Valley Jewish community that she loves.
Early in her life, Judy became a swimmer and, by the age of 14, competed nationally. She went to Penn for college and there "set records and had championships." Years later, she would be inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame and the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. While in college, she met Bob, z"l, who at the time was on crutches, home from the war, with three purple hearts. They married in 1946 and moved to Allentown in '48. They have three children and seven grandchildren.
In Allentown, Judy joined the board of the Crippled Children's Society, giving them "about 40 hours a week" for several years. She was active in Congregation Keneseth Israel, the temple's sisterhood and, later, the Federation. Judy was also elected to serve as a director on the Allentown School Board for 12 years and served as president as well.
After her husband's family business was sold, Judy says, "we did the best thing we could do, philanthropically," by establishing the fund. She explains, "We wanted to give back to the Jewish community of the Lehigh Valley in some way. We raised our family in Allentown and in the Jewish community and it was wonderful! We were grateful and wanted to express that in tangible ways!"
Judy is comfortable with the current recommendation that 30 percent of the fund's annual disbursements be given to Federation. Beyond that, she uses about 50 percent of her annual funding to support other Jewish organizations, including Keneseth Israel. She designates 20 percent of the funds to non-Jewish organizations, particularly museums.
After Judy and her children determine how they want to distribute funds each year, the Federation board reviews the designations. Upon approval, the staff takes care of all disbursements of funds for the family. Judy says, "They make it so easy."