The sad news arrived this morning that the businessman, newspaper publisher, and conservative pro-Israel activist Ricky Greenfield has died.
There will be more remembrances to come, but it is not too soon to recall that Greenfield was an accomplished figure in many ways, and to call particular attention to his contributions to this site.
Greenfield was successful enough on Wall Street at places like Wertheim and Bear Stearns that he was able to spend his later years in the Jewish newspaper business, which hasn't recently spawned many great fortunes.
In addition to the Connecticut Jewish Ledger, which he bought a part of in 1992 and entirely in 1994, and which he owned until last month, and the Massachusetts Jewish Ledger, which he sold last month, he distributed information through a series of active email lists that he maintained.
The different email lists typified his overlapping interests and passions — there was one for Israel and Jewish-related matters, one for economic and financial news, including sometimes material from FutureOfCapitalism, and one for political news. Those email lists were complied with a shrewd news sense that made them a frequent source of items for this site. They were sometimes credited here to "reader-participant-community member-watchdog-content co-creator NRG," using the initials for N. Richard Greenfield.
He wrote two articles for this site under his own byline — "A Report from Massachusetts," on January 26, 2010, following Scott Brown's U.S. Senate victory, and "The Massachusetts Earthquake, One Year Later."
There are plenty of Jews who are hawkish on Israel and foreign policy but who are not economic free-market conservatives. Greenfield was not one of those. He was a supporter of Commentary and the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America and the Middle East Forum and the Zionist Organization of America and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. He was close to the political consultant Arthur Finkelstein and to the Israeli politician Avigdor Lieberman, who he spotted as a rising star early on. And he also regularly circulated the supply-side economic commentaries of Larry Kudlow and David Malpass and the income-inequality commentary of FutureOfCapitalism.
He enjoyed his time on Cape Cod, where, he said, he took his shoes off at the beginning of the summer and didn't put them back on until the end of the summer, but he could also be found in a suit and tie in New York City at the annual dinner of Commentary.
We appreciated his passion for politics, for ideas, for America, for the Jewish people, and for freedom. We particularly appreciated his participation in the community here at FutureOfCapitalism, his generosity with his time on the phone and feedback over email, his readiness to make introductions, and his generosity with space in his newspapers to promote my books about Samuel Adams and about John F. Kennedy.
His last note directly to me came in February, in response to a column I wrote about Jeb Bush's presidential prospects:
Ira...I circulated, but don't agree....Latinos vote more out of self interest than ethnic politics...the santa claus party will hold their votes..
I worry more about the 4 million non voters for romney.....it's like a sliding scale....the more you go to the middle, the more you lose on your wing.
you're prbbly aware that Jeb is also speaking at the Prescott Bush dinner in Ct, I think...that is not expensive and you might want to go..I'll see if I'm right and what the tickets go for etc.
that's why Reagan was great...he held his wing and won the middle.
Greenfield will be missed. Our condolences to his family.