JTA – The National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia received a $1 million donation from the family of shoe designer and entrepreneur Stuart Weitzman.
The museum’s First Families gallery, which explores the lives of early Jewish settlers in colonial America, will be named in honor of the Weitzman family.
The family was drawn to the gallery through the company’s connection with Spain, where the Weitzman company’s factories have operated for decades, and Weitzman developed a special kinship to the stories of Sephardic Jews, according to the museum.
“American Jewish history should be a source of pride for all American Jews, many of whom don’t know these stories,” Weitzman said in a statement issued Feb. 6. “Learning this history can inspire a greater appreciation for the diversity of the American experience – and have a meaningful impact on reducing prejudice and anti-Semitism.”
Weitzman, who learned the shoemaking craft during a childhood apprenticeship under his father, Seymour, in Haverhill, Massachusetts, sold his eponymous shoe brand to Coach in 2015. His wife, Jane Gerson Weitzman, is a member of the board of 70 Faces Media, JTA’s parent company.