The head of one of the world’s most lucrative financial firms says the support of the Jewish community was the key to his success.
Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, made the comments at a UJA-Federation dinner last week, an event that raised a record-breaking $26 million.
“The only person I knew who put on a suit everyday was our rabbi,” Blankfein told the 1,700-strong crowd.
“Growing up [in public housing in the East New York section of Brooklyn], every family I knew struggled. I thought every Jewish father either drove a cab or worked in the post office. I didn’t know anyone whose father was a doctor, lawyer or other professional,” Blankfein said as he received the Gustave L. Levy Award at the New York event.
“That may seem unreal to some of you, but I only knew what I could see. Today many of you may not know a Jewish family that is struggling, you don’t see them, but there are. There are thousands of families not more than three miles away from here.”
He added that his local Jewish Y shaped him from an early age, and thanked the anonymous donors that helped his childhood self get a leg up.
“Benefactors I would never know, who I could never thank, from an earlier wave of Jewish immigration funded these organizations that were so meaningful to my friends and to me,” Blankfein said.