Gerardo Joffe (z””l), FLAME Founder, Passes at 98—Leaves a Legacy of Outspoken Advocacy for Israel in Mainstream Media
Dear Friend of FLAME:
It’s with great sadness that FLAME staff and other mourners last week bid our founder, Gerardo Joffe, Shalom, Chaver! I met Gerardo in 1982 and became a close friend long before he invited me to join FLAME’s Board of Advisors in 1993. He was an amazing man in many ways, not least of all his ability to write more than 130 compelling FLAME hasbarah messages—as well as dozens of donor acquisition mailers that raised millions of dollars for FLAME’s cause—all in compelling English, Gerardo’s third language.
But lest I get ahead of the story, let me give you a short version of Gerardo’s extraordinary life. Born in Berlin, Germany in 1920, he and his family were forced to flee in 1939, shortly after Kristallnacht. Gerardo fled alone, escaping to Bolivia nearly penniless. Having studied Spanish on the boat that carried him, the 19-year-old found work in the mines of the Altiplano and in a few years became manager of the second largest tin mine in Bolivia.
Soon thereafter, Gerardo moved to the United States, earned a degree in mining engineering from the Missouri School of Mines and began working in the oil fields of Arkansas, where he met Priscilla, his wife of 63 years. Gerardo later earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and started a successful mail-order business, Haverhills, in 1967, which he later sold to Time, Inc.
Distressed at the bias of mainstream media against Israel, Gerardo founded FLAME in 1985 and began publishing the organization’s signature editorial-style messages in U.S. newspapers and magazines. Gerardo’s vision for FLAME was formed by the Holocaust and his belief that Israel is the eternal homeland of the Jewish people, which must be defended at all cost. Under his guidance, FLAME has remained steadfastly non-partisan—dedicated to Israel’s safety and a strong, cooperative relationship with the United States. Gerardo was particularly passionate in his belief that FLAME messages should run in college and university newspapers, which policy he instituted in 2005 and continues to this day.
Gerardo led FLAME as its President until nearly until his 96th birthday in 2016. He continued to contribute by providing advice and inspiration until his passing.
In memory of Gerardo Joffe’s service to FLAME, American Jewry and the State of Israel, FLAME has established a memorial fund in his name, the Gerardo Joffe Fund to Support Truth on College Campuses. All donations made through the FLAME website will be credited to this new fund.
Thanks for your support of Israel and your support of FLAME.
President, Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME)