The Eulogizer: Businessman/philanthropist, sculptor update

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Eulogizer is a new column (soon-to-be blog) that highlights the life accomplishments of famous and not-so-famous Jews who have passed away recently. Learn about their achievements, honor their memories and celebrate Jewish lives well lived with The Eulogizer. Write to the Eulogizer at eulogizer@jta.org. Read previous columns here.

Henry Taub, 83, entrepreneur and philanthropist 

Henry Taub, whose payroll services company became an industry giant, launched a partner’s political career, took him to ownership of an NBA team and led him to a second career as a leading Jewish philanthropist, died March 31 at 83.     

Among the leading Jewish and Israeli organizations praising Taub were the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey, Hebrew University, American Technion Society and the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades in New Jersey. Other recipients of funds from the Teaneck-based Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation, which has assets of about $150 million, included Columbia University and New York University.

The JCC issued a statement calling Taub “a remarkable man, deeply devoted to Jewish life … [who] with epic vision and intellect … promoted Jewish scholarship.” The American Technion Society said Taub, honorary chair of the Technion International Board of Governors, “gave inspiring leadership during a time of dramatic expansion and scientific advancement at the university.”

Taub, an accountant by training, started Automatic Data Processing, originally Automatic Payrolls, in 1949 after a client was late in making payroll because the payroll manager became sick. The company went public in 1961 and had nearly $9 billion in revenue in 2010.

U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who joined the company shortly afterward as its first full-time salesman, described his friend as a "brilliant" and hard-working businessman.

Beginning in 1978, Taub and others owned the New Jersey Nets for nearly 20 years. He kept the partners from accepting a $91 million offer for the team in 1996, and sold it in 1998 for $150 million. Nets CEO Brett Yormark said Taub “was a key figure in bringing professional basketball to the state of New Jersey, and he will always have a prominent place in the history of the Nets’ franchise."

Taub’s parents were immigrants. His father worked in a textile mill and as a junk dealer, driving a horse and wagon through the streets of Paterson, N.J. In later years Taub set up several charitable programs in that city.

"He never forgot where he came from," said Barbara Lawrence, the Taub Foundation’s executive director.

Taub’s legacy includes the Henry and Marilyn Taub and Family Science and  Technology  Center at the Technion, The Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and The Aging Brain at Columbia University, The Taub Center for Israel Studies at NYU,  and The Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Jerusalem.

More on sculptor Stanley Bleifeld

The passing of Stanley Bleifeld, the sculptor we covered last week, was written up in a southern Virginia newspaper for his two prominent and popular sculptures of sailors in Norfolk, a seafaring town. One item we left out of the original entry on Bleifeld: He was a veteran of the U.S. Navy.

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