‘Loved Helping Jews And Loved Journalism’

Milton Gralla, publisher and philanthropist, dies at 84.

07/17/12
Staff Writer
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Milton Gralla, a veteran journalist, publisher and philanthropist who supported a wide variety of Jewish causes, died on July 11 in Boca Raton, Fla. He was 84.

A native of New York City, he had lived here most of his life.

Mr. Gralla established several journalism training programs at Brandeis University, including the Gralla Fellows Program for mid-career journalists, which explained the “Jewish beat.” He served for many years as a Jewish Week board member.

“Milton Gralla loved helping Jews and loved journalism, and among the beneficiaries of his generosity and good counsel was The Jewish Week, where he was a longtime and active member of the board of directors,” said Gary Rosenblatt, Jewish Week editor and publisher. “We are deeply grateful for his support and remember him with warmth and admiration.” (See Editorial on page 6.)

The son of immigrants from Poland, Mr. Gralla and his brother Lawrence pooled $5,000 of their savings to establish Kitchen Business magazine. That publication eventually grew into Gralla Publications, which put out a score of trade magazines in the retail, merchandising and travel fields.

The brothers sold the company to United Newspapers in 1983.

Mr. Gralla was an active supporter of several Jewish organizations in the United States, Israel and the former Soviet Union, including Yeshiva University, Boys Town Jerusalem, UJA-Federation, World ORT, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and the Solomon Schechter School of Bergen County.

He was chair of the 1994 Salute to Israel parade here, and sponsored, with his wife Shirley, a “Freedom Flight” of 250 Russian Jewish immigrants to Israel. The couple funded a new Jewish school in Odessa as well as a “Regeneration” campaign to build or expand similar schools in the former Soviet Union.

He received the Ellis Island Medal, which honors first- and second-generation Americans who have contributed to U.S. society, and an honorary doctorate degree from Yeshiva University.

Mr. Gralla, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1974, was co-author of “How Good Guys Grow Rich,” a 1995 book that described his life’s philosophy.

In Boca Raton, he supported the Palm Beach Pops orchestra.

As founder of the Gralla Fellows Program at Brandeis, he also was an active participant. “A highlight of the program was Milton’s own sessions, where he shared a lifetime of wisdom from his own journalistic career,” said Jonathan Sarna, professor of American Jewish history at the university and director of the program. “A whole generation of journalists understands the Jewish community better because of Milton Gralla’s vision and generosity.”

Mr. Gralla’s survivors include, in addition to his wife, three children, Karen, Edward and Dennis, and six grandchildren. 

Last Update:

07/17/2012 - 18:19

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