According to Joel Marcovitch’s nomination form from a colleague, “Joel has made a tremendous impact on the entire Columbus Jewish community since he started in his role 18 months ago. This was especially seen at the onset and throughout the coronavirus.”
As CEO of JewishColumbus, Marcovitch developed a medical task force and worked to get the Jewish community working from home even before it was mandated by the governor, the form said. “He established the Community Response Fund to help support our most vulnerable community members and make sure our agencies could continue to provide their important services and pay their staffs. This fund raised over $1.2 million in one month. He has helped the community see JewishColumbus as a vital and important partner and leader.”
What is your most gratifying job and why?
I am very fortunate to have had many gratifying jobs, however my current one allows me to work with the best staff and lay leaders to help secure, promote and help our community in ways that we would never have imagined two years ago when JewishColumbus was formed.
What inspires you to give back to the community?
Since I was 18, I have always thought about what it means to leave a legacy. What can I do with my life? What are the causes that I care about? How can I move the needle during my time here so that great-grandchildren, who I will never meet and who will not know who I was, can benefit from the hard work done now? Being involved with an organization like JewishColumbus you can do that. The constant creating, helping and seeing the amazing things we can do together inspires me everyday.
Was there ever a turning point or shift that made you change how you approach community service or become active in the Jewish world?
Giving back to the community. Standing up for those that can’t speak for themselves. Passionate support for Israel and the pursuit of peace. Engaging with those that are looking to connect, were things that I was born into in a family with long history of supporting the community and making the Jewish community the place to put their efforts with. My parents are both wonderful role models in volunteering for the community. They have served my community in London in too many capacities to mention. It is their central pillar of identity. A strong Jewish community means that we will all benefit. I remember going door-to-door with my father at 10 years old, selling shul calendars to raise money for the shul. All of this as well as youth movements, time at Yesheva, playing soccer with the rabbi, going to Israel too many times to count and going to Jewish day school hugely influence my choice of career today.
What’s one takeaway you have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic?
The reason why JewishColumbus came into existence two years ago was to respond to the needs of the community. We wanted to make sure that we can rise to the occasion and help our community. Figuring out the long-term funding for security for our community institutions that is $750,000 per year, I think how we deal and shape this current and eventually post-COVID-19 world will see if we survive and thrive, or if we struggle and consolidate. We have responded after Pittsburgh and now during COVID-19. We feel we have learned how to respond in times of crisis and times in peace.