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Press Release


Gift from Joseph B. Schwartz Boosts Yale’s Jewish Singing Group as 30th Anniversary Nears

New Haven, CT, December 21, 2022 – Magevet, Inc., Yale University’s a cappella singing group devoted to Jewish, Hebrew, and Israeli music, reached a new milestone in its campaign to establish a permanent endowment. With a generous gift from Joseph B. Schwartz, donations and pledges to the Magevet Endowment Fund now exceed $100,000, approaching 90% of the campaign’s fundraising goal. The campaign, designed to coincide with the ensemble’s 30th anniversary in the spring of 2023, will support Magevet’s musical work in perpetuity. 


“We’re so grateful to Mr. Schwartz for this amazing gift,” said Eric Risch, the group’s Business Manager. “His support, and the outpouring of support from other donors, has been remarkable.”


Magevet, whose name means “towel” in Hebrew, was founded in 1993 and has been operating continuously since. The mixed-gender group is a registered student organization at Yale, comprising 14–18 undergraduate members at any given time. ​Their repertoire spans modern Israeli pop and Renaissance choral pieces to Ladino lullabies and liturgical classics. 


Joseph B. Schwartz, a Yale alumnus, and his wife Marilyn, have been long-time supporters of numerous philanthropic causes. When Mr. Schwartz served as a Trustee of the Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale, he established endowments for Jewish student publications and Israel education. The Schwartzes have set up funds to supplement a wide variety of arts programs at the Hopkins School in New Haven. They have also endowed funds in support of cultural, educational, and religious activities both in Israel and in New York, where they reside.


“I’ve been listening to and enjoying my Magevet CDs for many years,” Joe enthused, “ever since I heard them perform at the Stephen Wise Synagogue here in NYC. Not only do they promote and spread Jewish music to a wide audience, participating in the group offers unique opportunities for Yale students. Also, a permanent and strong endowment will definitely serve many future generations of students.”


Part of the ensemble’s mission is to spread Jewish music far and wide. In addition to regular performances throughout the northeastern United States, tours have taken Magevet to locations across the continent, as well as to Europe, Africa, South America, and Israel. 


“In starting this fund, we wanted to do two things: Help maintain the group through disruptions like COVID, and give Magevet the resources to travel to underserved Jewish communities,” said Eric Halpern, a member of the fundraising committee and founding member of Magevet. “We’ve been so gratified by the response of parents, alumni, and all of the group’s supporters. Joe’s significant gift puts us within close proximity of our target – and we have every confidence our dedicated constituency will help us reach our ambitious goal.”  


The Magevet Endowment Fund, playfully termed the “Memdowment” by alumni, has been established in partnership with the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford. Tax-deductible donations to the Magevet Endowment Fund are invested alongside the Foundation’s other $150 million in assets under management, and investment income from the Fund will be distributed to Magevet according to the Foundation’s standard distribution policies.


“It’s inspiring to see Magevet’s success,” said Kathryn Gonnerman, Vice President of Philanthropy for the Jewish Community Foundation, and herself a Yale alumna. “I hope many other groups follow their lead to establish more permanent support.”


Donations to the Magevet Endowment Fund can be made through, or via

About Magevet


Founded in 1993, Magevet ( is one of the nation’s premiere Jewish a cappella singing groups. A coed ensemble of undergraduate students at Yale University, Magevet is known for its choral focus, unique arrangements, and lighthearted performance style. ​The group’s repertoire spans Renaissance choral pieces and liturgical classics to modern Israeli pop and to Yiddish folk tunes. The members of Magevet are equally diverse with respect to background and interest, all united by camaraderie and a love of singing.


Magevet is devoted to spreading Jewish music to the far corners of the globe and embarks on two major tours each year, traveling as near as Boston and New York and as far as Buenos Aires, Paris, and Jerusalem.


About the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford


The Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford (the Foundation, was founded in 1972 with an initial gift of $50,000. Thanks to the vision and generosity of individuals, families, businesses and organizations, past and present, the Foundation currently has $168 million in assets under its management and stewards grants of approximately $4.6 million annually.


The Foundation unlocks the power of personalized and collective philanthropy to solve problems, strengthen community organizations, and provide permanent support for Greater Hartford’s Jewish community. The nonprofit is a proud partner to the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford and a member of the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy.


For more information, contact:


Eric Risch

Business Manager '22, Magevet



Madison Hahamy

Previous Business Manager, Magevet



Kathryn Gonnerman

Vice President, Philanthropy, Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford


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