Shlomo Rechnitz: A Disruptive Philanthropist
By Space Coast Daily // May 23, 2021
Shlomo Rechnitz and his philanthropic journey is unique in a way that truly distinguishes him from so many different philanthropists engaged in benefitting a myriad of worthy causes.
Unlike many whose generosity is noteworthy but seems reserved to writing checks; Rechnitz’s hands-on involvement in the various organizations, institutions and individuals who he helps distinguishes him.
He also has the unwavering courage of his convictions to support causes that are sadly deemed to be “controversial” by some members of society; even when they shouldn’t be.
His consistent support for the Eagle & Badge Foundation is a prime example of that. He’s made it clear through his own commentary and public remarks that members of police departments across the country deserve our support both financially and otherwise.
While there is a movement that sadly seeks to malign our brave men and women in blue who wear their uniforms proudly, Rechnitz is unabashed in his support for the policemen and women across the country – and particularly in his home state of California.
Speaking of men and women in uniform, Rechnitz made headlines globally when he bought 400 of our nation’s courageous servicemen a meal during a layover in Shannon, Ireland.
As People Magazine and dozens of other media outlets reported at the time, on his way to visit Israel with his family, Rechnitz noticed that a group of 400 US Soldiers were preparing to eat their paper sack dinners.
He immediately asked the commanding officer if he could purchase hot meals for them, instead. Minutes later, Rechnitz handed over his credit card and disbursed $50 to each serviceman and servicewoman to afford them the opportunity to dine out at a restaurant in the airport of their choosing.
As he was quoted as saying in the time in a video clip, “You guys risk your lives to protect me and protect my family. If I get to go out and see a whole bunch of Army soldiers and Marines, it’s something that makes me proud. I just wanted to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Shlomo manages his philanthropy uniquely in another way as well. He doesn’t just give generously to acclaimed institutions and organizations. He also gives quietly to individuals in a way that ensures their level of comfort isn’t compromised in a way that would make them feel aggrieved. In fact, in the broader Los Angeles Community he is known to open his home every Saturday night, to the needy – in order to distribute money to those who need it most.
When tragedies of all different forms strike, Rechnitz is always eager to get involved in a constructive way to help those adversely affected. When Hurricane Sandy hit, Rechnitz immediately leapt at the opportunity to provide financial assistance to those Jewish day schools and other community institutions that were affected.
Then there is the story of Diane Aulger of Texas – a woman who wanted her doctors to also her husband (who suffered from pulmonary fibrosi) to meet their daughter before his death, Rechnitz picked up the phone to call Aulger and sent her an immediate $20,000 in the mail – so that her family could unite all at once.
Stories like these are not the exception for Rechnitz. They are indeed the rule. He is passionate about the idea that philanthropy ought to transcend merely writing a check. Instead, he chooses to handle his charitable engagements directly – treating others’ troubles and worries as if they were and are his own.
And then of course, there are his contributions to the world of Jewish music. Rechnitz’s compositions are unique in not only their style, setting them apart from other contemporary artists in the space; but also in terms of the message behind each and every song he writes.
While we at Space Coast Daily have a favorite composition, entitled “Ulai Yachos,” there’s no question that Shlomo pours out his heart and soul into each and every one of his songs. The proof is in the melody; the lyrics and the profound meaning associated with each and everyone of his compositions.