Tag Archives: American Jews

Jew of the Week: Michael Bolton

Michael Bolotin (b. 1953) was born in Connecticut. His grandparents were all Orthodox Jewish immigrants from Russia, and kept a strictly kosher home. Bolotin, however, was more like his liberal parents who, fed up with anti-Semitic discrimination, sought to assimilate into American society and kept a Christmas tree alongside their menorah. This may explain why Bolotin was a trouble maker at his Hebrew school, and got kicked out when he was 13. That same year, he tragically lost his father. Music was one way to cope with the loss. At 16, he was signed to a record deal and dropped out of high school. His first songs didn’t go anywhere, so he joined a heavy metal band which opened for Ozzy Osbourne. Still, he struggled to make a living for a decade. It wasn’t until 1983 that Bolotin (now going by Bolton) had his first hit with a song he co-wrote, then released his breakthrough (fifth) album in 1987. By the late 80s’, Bolton was a household name, and in 1989 he won his first Grammy for “How I Am Supposed to Live Without You”, then a second in 1991 for “When a Man Loves a Woman”. All in all, Bolton produced 20 albums (so far) and sold over 75 million records, with 9 singles hitting number one on the Billboard 100. Bolton also wrote hit songs for other artists like Barbra Streisand, Cher, and Kiss; appeared in eight films and television shows; and published an autobiography. In 1993, he established The Michael Bolton Charities, focusing on helping women and children suffering from poverty and sexual abuse, and providing opportunities for underprivileged youth. Over the years, the foundation has donated over $10 million to organizations across America. Bolton is the chairman of Prevent Child Abuse America, and a vocal member of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Last year, he opened the Family Justice Center in his hometown, a support clinic for victims of domestic violence. For his charitable work and success in music, Bolton was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and among many other distinctions, has received the Martin Luther King Award for promoting racial equality. His timeless ballads and one-of-a-kind voice have made Bolton a living legend.

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Words of the Week

The footsteps of man are directed by God.
– Psalms 37:23

Bolton once shaved off his famous long, golden hair for charity; it was auctioned off for $6000. He has raised even more money by playing charity baseball games with his “Bolton Bombers” team.

Jew of the Week: Michael Dell

Michael Saul Dell (b. 1965) was born in Houston, Texas to a Jewish family of German ancestry. He had a mind for business from a very young age, applying to take a high school equivalency exam at just 8 years of age, working in a restaurant by 12, and earning money from stocks throughout his teen years. At 15, he earned $18,000 (more than his high school teachers) by selling newspaper subscriptions to a specific demographic he had targeted by looking through public court records. It was during his first year of university studies that Dell started to put together personal computers in his dorm room. Shortly after, he founded his company, PC’s Limited, and quickly sold some $80,000 in upgraded computers, before incorporating as Dell Computer. By the time he was just 27, Dell’s company was already among the Fortune 500 world’s largest corporations, making him the youngest ever CEO on the list. In 1996, Dell Inc. was one of the first companies to sell computers over the web, and was soon making $1 million a day in online sales. Just five years later, it had become the world’s largest maker of personal computers. Today, it has 138,000 employees, and remains one of the top tech firms and computer manufacturers. Last year, Dell Inc. completed its acquisition of EMC Corporation in a deal worth a record-breaking $67 billion. Michael Dell is still the company’s CEO, and is also on the boards of the World Economic Forum, and three international business schools. He has been voted CEO of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year. In 1999, he and his wife founded the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, which has since donated an astounding $1.23 billion to various causes around the world, including schools and medical institutions, charities in India, Africa, and across America, as well as the IDF. Most recently, Dell pledged $36 million to his hometown of Houston for its relief efforts following Hurricane Harvey.

Words of the Week

There may be food, there may be drink, but if there is no peace, there is nothing.
– Rabbi Shlomo ben Itzchak (“Rashi”, 1040-1105)