Critical Minds, Compassionate Hearts

Larry Tobin '01

Alumni Profile
Larry is a 2017 Tikkun Alum Award recipient for his work as Associate Vice President of Major Gifts at Combined Jewish Philanthropies. There he focused on strengthening the leadership of our community and ensuring its financial sustainability through programs such as CJP's Day School Initiative and Strategic Israel Engagement.

"My career in the Jewish community has been defined by two simple beliefs. First, I believe we must be given the dual opportunity to love being Jewish and to have the knowledge to understand the good, the better and the challenging parts of Judaism. I am convinced that there is nowhere on earth that gives children the balance of those concepts quite like Rashi.

"Second, I believe that in this very fractured world, the best antidote is people knowing about and being proud of whence they come, and engaging with their own community before helping the world around them. The Jewish community, and the Rashi community specifically, are experts at this.  The Tamchui program is an excellent example of how Rashi students learn that everything can be done through a Jewish lens. Sometimes we need to take care of our own community and sometimes we need to serve a broad effort because the world is bleeding, but we ALWAYS are proud of our community and proud to be Jews and Zionists.

"We are also so blessed to belong to a meaningful Jewish community. I can guarantee that those connected to Rashi are members of a meaningful, fulfilling, and caring Jewish community. Whether you are Jewish or not, directly affiliated with Rashi or not, it simply doesn’t matter. If you come in contact with the school, you will feel it. You feel it when you witness middle schoolers leading their younger peers as they learn. You will see it if you speak with Rashi alumni. You can hear it from the stories of the hundreds of people whose own lives have been completely transformed by being Rashi parents, faculty, or just groupies.

"In my nine incredible years working at CJP, the lifeblood of Boston’s Jewish Community, I’ve encountered dozens upon dozens of Rashi parents who are engaged, generous and kind. I’ve come to say that Rashi is primarily in the business of making its parents into Jewish communal leaders and the students are a byproduct. While I, of course, mean that hyperbolically, there is a huge element of truth to it. Children are products of their parents. And I have come to admire and try to emulate so many Rashi parents — whether they chair Yachad, or participate in CJP’s Acharai program, or take their children to volunteer on the weekend — who have deeply influenced the person I have become over the past nine years.

"I am now the father of an incredible one-month-old daughter (only five years ‘til Rashi!). Our own families are, of course, the most significant influence on our lives, but I truly believe that our extended Rashi community is the next most significant influence in thinking about our family values, leading lives of meaning and purpose, and the need to surround ourselves with community in the truest sense of the word."
Inspired to learn more? Inquire about The Rashi School.