Date published: April 5, 2012
Lewis Katz, one of the new owners of The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com, is a major funder of Jewish causes.
Three Jewish Community Centers in New Jersey, including the ones in Cherry Hill and Margate, are named for his parents, Betty and Milton Katz.
The 70-year-old lawyer and businessman originally from Camden is one of the leaders of the group of six businessmen who this week purchased Philadelphia Media Network - the parent company of the two newspapers and website - for a reported $55 million dollars. That total is a fraction of what the papers sold for in 2006.
Katz, who is active in Democratic politics, reportedly was asked by former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell to assemble a team of investors. The group of hedge funds that owned the company had been looking to unload the papers and the website. Katz, the onetime owner of the New Jersey Nets, has given actively to the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey, Congregation Beth El in Voorhees, N.J., and the National Museum of American Jewish History.
"As I reflect on the happiest moments of my life before I vanish, I think about what I want to teach my grandchildren. What does it tell my children and grandchildren that I led a campaign to build a Jewish Community Center?" Katz said in a 2009 article in the Jewish Community Voice, which covers southern New Jersey.
Leon Levy, a Philadelphia businessman long active in the New Jersey federation, said that it's symbolic that a Jewish man is front and center in the purchase of the paper.
"The paper is a very important cog in the city," said Levy. "This is what we do. We do education, we print, we teach and we tell the truth."
Also included in the new ownership group is H. F. "Gerry" Lenfest, who is also Jewish, though he is not as well known for giving to Jewish causes.
According to www.tabletmag.com, the cable magnate is one of a number of Jewish billionaires who responded to a call by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates to pledge to leave more than half of their estate to charity, as the Lenfests plan to do.