Abe J. Matthew, record-setting JUF Campaign Chair dies

Abe Mathew X image

Abe Matthew was the 1995 JUF General Campaign Chairman; he led the campaign to raise a then-record $55 million. He had previously served on the JUF-Federation Board from 1979-85, including a time as the Board's Vice President. He was actively involved in JUF's Major Gifts Committee and served as JUF Chair of Bryn Mawr Country Club. He passed away on Saturday, Feb. 22; he was 87.

Matthew began his efforts as General Chairman with a fact-finding mission to Morocco, Israel, and-only a year after peace had been declared-Jordan. "We were welcomed warmly everywhere," Matthew recalled. "Witnessing firsthand the good our generosity accomplishes is, for me, a great personal joy."

"Abe was a wonderful man who cared passionately about our Jewish community," said JUF/JF President Steven B. Nasatir.

"Abe was kind, and always smiling," said Jeffrey Cohen, JUF Senior Development Advisor. "He was always concerned about others and had a high regard for communal professionals. He had great leadership skills across the board."

Professionally, Matthew was Chairman of Custom Accessories, Inc., an importer for the auto-parts aftermarket. Aptly, he chaired JUF's Auto Parts Division, which named him an Honoree.

Matthew was also very involved in synagogue life. He served in the boards of four synagogues, including two in the Chicago area, Lincolnwood Jewish Congregation and Congregation Yehuda Moshe. For JUF, he chaired the Synagogue-Federation Relations Committee and served as Vice Chairman of the Congregations Division campaign. 

Additionally, Matthew was also passionate about Jewish education, serving as a member of JUF's Jewish Education Committee and donating to JUF's Jewish Day School Guaranty Trust Fund. He also served on the boards of the Hebrew Theological College and the Associate Talmud Torahs and was active in the Hillel system.

As he showed with his travels for the Jewish community, Matthew's compassion for his fellow Jews crossed all borders. He served on the board of Israel Bonds and was active in Friends of Refugees of Eastern Europe.

Matthew was the husband of Nettie (nee Putterman), and the father of Ken (Myrna), Dr. Edward (Adrienne) and the late Norman (Linda). He was the Zayde of Brett (Steven) Schwartz, Jennifer (Adam) Schreier, Harrison (fiancée Alana Gale) and Samuel Matthew, Blair (Brian) Wolf, and Keith and Jared Matthew, and the proud great-grandfather of Alec, Josh, Phoebe and Darcy. The brother of the late Jack (Esther) Matthew and the late Belle (late Joseph) Putterman, Matthew also was "Uncle Abe" to many.

The funeral was held on Feb. 24 at Memorial Park Cemetery in Skokie, with arrangements by The Goldman Funeral Group. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be made to JUF, to Congregation Yehuda Moshe, or to Lincolnwood Jewish Congregation.


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