- Meet Our Leaders
Marc Fagel, a prominent San Francisco securities attorney, joined the JFCS Board of Directors two years ago and contributes to the agency’s success in many different ways. As a thoughtful and committed advocate for JFCS, he says: “One of the basic Jewish values I was taught was to give back to my community and JFCS perfectly embodies that goal.”
Marc is a partner at the firm of Gibson Dunn and Crutcher LLC. He was instrumental in contributing his legal expertise to the successful publishing of Rywka’s Diary: The Writings of a Jewish Girl from the Lodz Ghetto by the JFCS Holocaust Center. The diary has now been published in 15 countries and is used internationally for Holocaust education; a documentary film is currently being made about its unique discovery and origins. Marc and his wife, Julie Lubetkin, have taken part in the JFCS Special Events Committee and served as the Northern Peninsula Co-Chairs for the 2016 Fammy Awards Gala. Marc is also on the JFCS Bylaws Review Committee and the Program and Planning Committee.
Tell us a bit about the community where you grew up and your background.
I grew up in a fairly Jewish suburb of Chicago in a Jewish (but somewhat secular) household. I was Bar Mitzvah’ed and I consider myself culturally Jewish. I grew up learning the ethical lessons of Judaism and one of them was to marry a nice Jewish girl, which I did. My wife and I have been in California for 25 years and have raised both our children on the Peninsula.
How did you first get involved with JFCS?
My firm took on a pro bono project with JFCS to help navigate the legal issues in publishing Rywka’s Diary. I was so moved by reading the diary that was found in Auschwitz and written by a Polish teenage girl. It really motivated me to make sure that the book saw the light of day and the world would be able to read this incredible story.
Shortly after that I went to the Fammy Awards Gala and I had a wonderful time. It was an incredibly dynamic event and I really connected with the people behind the organization and the good works that JFCS does. I was so impressed by the JFCS Board Members and the staff that I thought these are some people I want to spend time with. Joining the JFCS Board of Directors just seemed like a logical extension.
How do you encourage others to become involved with JFCS?
I invite people to the Fammy Gala. I think a lot of people here in Northern California may feel disconnected from the culture and identity that they may have experienced growing up in other areas. I let them know that there are ways to get involved and give back in the Jewish community and JFCS is a great place to do it.
What is the most rewarding part of your involvement with JFCS?
I have two children in college and, as a parent, I have found it a surprising challenge to model for my kids the Jewish value of doing good works and taking care of our community, especially in Silicon Valley where there is so much material wealth. When I come home from a JFCS board meeting it is a great way for me to have important discussions with them about our obligation to help those in need and I can personally reflect these values through my work with JFCS.
It is also rewarding to have the opportunity to meet and connect with people whom I wouldn’t otherwise in my day-to-day life. It is very powerful to interact and learn from those who have been helped by JFCS. It is a constant reminder that for many struggling Bay Area residents one unanticipated set-back, job loss, or medical diagnosis can spiral into debt or homelessness. With JFCS’ services, a short-term hardship doesn’t have to evolve into a long-term crisis.
Anything else you would like to add?
I like knowing that I’m doing my part to help JFCS continue to grow and succeed in strengthening our community.