Last Word: Weitzman Chief Development Officer Jacqueline Glodstein Starts New Chapter

Jacqueline Glodstein is a white woman with red hair wearing a jacket and standing in front of the wall of the Weitzman.
Jacqueline Glodstein | Courtesy of the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History

Amid Israel’s Six-Day War, Jacqueline Glodstein, then a child, took her piggy bank to her Long Island, New York, synagogue with her parents and donated the makeshift tzedakah box’s modest contents to the nation-state. The moment was the earliest memory in Glodstein’s life of her parents instilling in her a deep love of Judaism.

“They really reinforced that we had a responsibility to take care of our fellow Jews, our community and all of humanity,” Glodstein said. “Those values instilled in me the desire — really, that’s how I came into my career.”

Glodstein’s 40 years in development roles for Jewish organizations took her to Philadelphia and to the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History, where the Center City resident took on the role of chief development officer on Jan. 3.

“We have all been taken with Jackie’s enthusiasm for the Museum’s mission and future directions,” Weitzman president and CEO Misha Galperin said in a press release. “She has joined The Weitzman at a propitious moment, as our capital campaign gets under way. The role of Chief Development Officer is critical for our institution’s success, and we are delighted that she is able to join our team.”

Glodstein, 66, joins the museum’s leadership after the Weitzman emerged from 20 months of chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2021, and took on a new name in December 2021, after shoe designer Stuart Weitzman gifted enough money for the museum to buy its loaned building at Fifth and Market streets and establish an endowment.

As CDO, Glodstein wants to build on the Weitzman’s momentum, growing the museum’s endowment to ensure its lasting impact on its audience, Jewish and non-Jewish, in Philadelphia and beyond.

“My job is really to build upon this foundation, to increase the annual fundraising campaign, to expand our national reach,” Glodstein said.

The Weitzman is unique in its diverse audience, which became largely national due to the pivot to virtual programming during the height of the pandemic. In addition to the virtual programs, the Weitzman offers exhibits — free to visitors — that resonate with more than just Jews. 

According to Glodstein, since the museum started offering free admission, about 70% of the visitors are non-Jews. With one of the museum’s primary goals to challenge antisemitism and other forms of discrimination, educating non-Jewish audiences on the history and experiences of Jews in America is an important first step in combating antisemitism.

Having relocated to Philadelphia for the position, Glodstein appreciates how the historic city has “synergy” with the museum’s goals.

“Because the museum explains the development of the Jewish people here in the country, we can also see many of the Jewish values that have been adopted and incorporated into this country’s fabric,” she said.

Glodstein’s love for Jewish education began with her parents: her mother, a Hebrew school teacher; and her father, a physical education teacher in New York’s public school system. As a result, Glodstein identifies as a “lifelong learner,” particularly in Jewish education.

Her time in higher education reflects this passion, as Glodstein has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Jewish communal service and Jewish history from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a master’s in social work from Columbia University. Glodstein began her career interested in social planning, but she fell in love with development after working for the women’s campaign at the UJA-Federation of New York.

“I loved engaging with the donors, developing those enduring relationships that allow you to collaborate as partners,” Glodstein said.

Glodstein worked in development for various Jewish organizations, including Israel Tennis & Education Centers Foundation, American Friends of Hebrew University and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. 

But in her four decades of experience in Jewish organizations, one of the most impactful moments of her career happened early on, during a UJA-Federation mission to Israel, where she visited Shechunat Hatikva, a working-class Tel Aviv neighborhood. There, on a Friday morning, she met with an older woman who lived in a tin hut.

The woman invited Glodstein into her home, and Glodstein saw that despite being impoverished, the older woman still set her table for Shabbat, complete with candle sticks and a tzedakah box. But when Glodstein offered to drop some shekels into the box, the woman declined.

“She said, ‘No, that tzedakah box I fill’ — she fills — ‘before Shabbat because I want to give to others who are less fortunate than myself,’” Glodstein recalled. “When you hear a story like that, it inspires you forever in life, throughout your career.”

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