Continuing her work chronicling the untold stories of Jewish heroes, Aviva Kempner (The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg) turns her lens on Julius Rosenwald – who may just be the greatest philanthropist you’ve never heard of. The son of an immigrant peddler, Rosenwald eclipsed his humble origins to become the top executive at Sears and Roebuck.
Driven equally by the Jewish ideal of tzedakah (charity), the writings of Booker T. Washington, and an increasing awareness of racial inequality in American society, Rosenwald dedicated his newfound wealth and prestige to joining with African-American communities in the South to build over 5,000 schools and establishing the Rosenwald Fund for the support of African American artists and intellectuals.
Kempner was the recipient of the 2009 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival’s Freedom of Expression Award and the 2011 Washington Jewish Film Festival’s Visionary Award, DC Mayor’s Art Award, and Women of Vision award.
She is a voting rights advocate for the District of Columbia.