Tag Archives: Xerox

Jew of the Week: Jack Goldman

Jacob Goldman (Photo Credit: Joyce Dopkeen, The New York Times)

Jacob Goldman (Photo Credit: Joyce Dopkeen, The New York Times)

Jacob E. Goldman (1921-2011) was born in Brooklyn to Jewish-Russian immigrants. He studied at both Yeshiva University and the University of Pennsylvania, where he got his Ph.D in physics. After brief stints working for Westinghouse and as a teacher for Carnegie Tech, he joined the Ford Motor Company’s Scientific Research Laboratory, where he helped to develop the sodium-sulfur battery for electric cars and large-scale energy storage, among many other things. Rising through the ranks, he soon became head of the department, and the first Jew to be an executive at the formerly anti-Semitic Ford Company. In the 1960s, Goldman was brought to Xerox to head its new computing division, and serve as chief scientist and technical officer. At the time, the computer industry was just getting underway, and Goldman convinced the authorities at Xerox to start a new research facility on the West Coast, near Stanford University, where they would be able to recruit young talent. For a while, the New-York based Xerox was reluctant to open up a new lab so far away, but eventually gave Goldman a chance. Teaming up with fellow physicist George Pake, the two opened up the Palo Alto Research Center, better known as PARC, in 1970. This lab would go on to completely revolutionize the digital world and the computer industry. PARC scientists, under the visionary leadership of Goldman and Pake, developed the laser printer, Ethernet, and most importantly, the first personal computer, as well as the first computer to have a graphical user interface (GUI) with an easy to use “desktop”. The concept of windows, folders, and icons that are operated by a computer mouse was also developed at PARC, as were the basics for LCD screens and optical discs. Interestingly, one of the few people who got a tour of PARC was a young Steve Jobs, who was so inspired by what he so that he went on to found Apple, drawing on most of PARC’s technologies for his own designs. Ultimately, it was Apple and Microsoft that took advantage of PARC’s advancements, as Xerox failed to support Goldman in commercializing those technologies. Nonetheless, Goldman is considered a key figure in transforming computers from massive industrial calculators to personal interactive tools used by the public.

Words of the Week

Jews have tended to prefer the power of ideas to the idea of power.
– Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Jew of the Week: Judith Resnik

First Jewish Woman in Space

Judith Resnik - First Jewish Woman in Space

Judith Resnik, the First Jewish Woman in Space

Judith Arlene Resnik (1949-1986) was born in Akron, Ohio to Jewish-Russian immigrants from Ukraine. As a child she went to Hebrew school, then attended a public high school where she was the only female student to achieve a perfect SAT score. She went on to become an electrical engineer, eventually earning a Ph.D in the subject. Resnik first worked as a circuitry designer for tech giant RCA, as well as serving as a biomedical engineer for the National Institutes of Health (at the Laboratory of Neurophysiology) and a systems engineer for Xerox. In 1978 she joined NASA, going on her first space flight in 1984 on the maiden voyage of the space shuttle Discovery. That made her the first American Jew in space and the first Jewish woman in space. She quickly became beloved by the public for her on-board humour and space acrobatics. Resnik went on her second tour in space with the Challenger in January of 1986. Sadly, the mission ended quickly when the space shuttle tragically exploded in Earth’s atmosphere, killing all 7 crew members. It took nearly 6 weeks to find the crew compartment at the bottom of the ocean floor. Resnik’s body was among those that were identifiable. She was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. That same year, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) established the Judith A. Resnik Award for outstanding contributions to space engineering. The moon’s Resnik Lunar Crater is named in her honour.

Words of the Week

A man without a woman is not a man.
– Rabbi Elazar (Talmud, Yevamot 63a)

Jew of the Week: Howard Schultz


Howard Schultz, Mr. Starbucks

Howard Schultz was born to a poor Jewish-German family in Brooklyn. A phenomenal athlete, he paid his way through higher education on sports scholarships. After working as a salesperson for Xerox, he became the general manager of Swedish coffee machine maker Hammarplast. In this role, he paid a visit to one of the company’s clients – a tiny café in Seattle called Starbucks. Having traveled through Italy and seen the importance of café-socials in Italian society, Schultz was inspired to create the same for America. Unfortunately the three Starbucks founders (two of whom are fellow Jews Gordon Bowker and Zev Siegl) didn’t share his vision. So in 1985 Howard Schultz started his own café called Il Giornale. Hugely successful, by 1988 Schultz was able to buy out the original Starbucks and adopted it as his own brand name! Schultz quickly became a billionaire, went on to own the Seattle Supersonics basketball team, wrote two books, and received multiple awards, including one from Aish HaTorah for his Israel advocacy work. Today, Starbucks is the largest coffeehouse in the world, with 19,435 locations in 58 countries. The company continues to run under the direction of Schultz, and has become well-known for its humanitarianism: their Ethos brand raises money for water development projects, while Product Red delivers AIDS medication to Africa. The Starbucks Foundation works to develop youth literacy and leadership, sponsoring volunteer work and providing millions of dollars in grants every year.


Words of the Week

Leave Israel alone, for even if they are not themselves prophets, they are still the children of prophets.

The very first Starbucks in Seattle, 1971

– Hillel