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Kaplan family to be honored in Salem for philanthropy

Ralph and Harriett Kaplan of Swampscott and their daughters (standing, from left), Judy Mishkin, Susan Kaplan, Anne Selby, and Roz Moore, are among those being honored. Ralph and Harriett Kaplan of Swampscott and their daughters (standing, from left), Judy Mishkin, Susan Kaplan, Anne Selby, and Roz Moore, are among those being honored.
By Wendy Killeen
July 28, 2011

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HONORING THE KAPLANS: Ralph and Harriett Kaplan and their family are being honored by the Jewish Federation of the North Shore with the third annual Lifetime of Leadership Award at the Kernwood Country Club in Salem next Thursday.

“Ralph Kaplan and his family epitomize the term ‘Lifetime Leaders,’ ” said Flori Schwartz, who is co-chairing the event. “Philanthropy is integral to each of them, and as a group they are responsible for raising literally millions of dollars in charitable funds as well as offering their time, energy, and sage counsel to so many deserving causes. It is truly a pleasure to honor and recognize the achievements and involvement of such an esteemed North Shore family.”

In addition to Ralph and Harriet, of Swampscott, the honorees include their daughters and spouses: Anne and Robert Selby and Roz and Brian Moore, also of Swampscott; Susan Kaplan of Charlestown; and Judy and William Mishkin of Marblehead.

Ralph Kaplan, 86, is a founder of Kappy’s Fine Wine & Spirits, which has been in business for more than 60 years. The Kaplans have been married for 64 years. In addition to four daughters and three sons-in-law, two of whom work with Kaplan, they have seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Kaplan attributes his long-lasting passion for Jewish philanthropy to his interest in the success of the State of Israel and to his belief that for those to whom much is given, much is required. Soon after the nation was established, Kaplan became involved with Israel Bonds to address the country’s need for investment capital; to date, he has raised approximately $1 billion. He also has raised millions for Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

Closer to home, and with his wife’s continuous support, Kaplan has been a critical presence in the Jewish Federation of the North Shore, the Anti-Defamation League, Temple Israel and Congregation Shirat Hayam in Swampscott, the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, the Holocaust Center, Jewish Family Service, and the Masonic Lodge of Massachusetts.

Anne Selby, who works with her father, said he also supports hundreds of other Jewish and non-Jewish organizations directly or indirectly, with ads or in-kind donations.

“As everyone who knows him will attest, my father is passionate about his work and passionate about giving back to his community. All local agencies and organizations are supported. If he is asked, he gives,’’ said Selby, adding that both her parents are the reason family members have been involved in their own charitable pursuits.

“Our community activism is a direct result of growing up in a home where we witnessed the devotion of our parents to countless causes and to tzedakah [charity] in general,” said Judy Mishkin. “As a family we have been inspired to follow in those philanthropic footsteps.’’

Rabbi Marc Baker, a native of Lynnfield and head of Gann Academy: The New Jewish High School of Greater Boston, is the guest speaker. He is a graduate of Phillips Academy in Andover and spent 11 summers as a camper, counselor, and assistant director at Camp Bauercrest in Amesbury. He graduated from Yale University, was awarded a master’s degree from Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and studied at and received his ordination through the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Israel.

The event begins at 6:30 p.m. Call 781-631-8330 or visit

WHO’S WHAT WHERE: Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, a member of Hallmark Health System, has been named a Blue Distinction Center for Hip and Knee Replacement by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts for demonstrating overall quality of care and patient results. The national designation is awarded to medical facilities that have demonstrated expertise in different areas. Melrose-Wakefield Hospital has a nationally recognized bone and joint program that provides comprehensive inpatient knee and hip replacement surgeries. . . . A dedication ceremony was recently held for the Sharon Mills Interfaith Garden at Renaissance Gardens at Brooksby Village. More than $6,000 was raised to establish the garden. Sharon Mills, business office manager at Renaissance Gardens, died last year after a 14-year battle with breast cancer. Jim Wingardner, executive director of Brooksby Village, presented Mills’s daughter, Katelyn, with a $20,000 college scholarship at the ceremony. Katelyn Mills of Peabody plans to attend Curry College in the fall.

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