Dr. Mark Goldfarb is no stranger to the Nashville Jewish community. For 33 years, he lived and raised his family in town, and worked at St. Thomas Hospital. He was on the Board of the Gordon Jewish Community Center where he also coached his children’s sports teams, and he was a Board member at both The Temple and Vanderbilt Hillel. Now remarried, semi-retired, and living in Park City, Utah, the cardiologist says his years in Nashville, and the friendships he made, inspired him to make a lasting contribution to the future of the community. “Whenever I would enter the JCC and see the names Eugene and Madeline Pargh, and Joel and Bernice, I knew that someday I wanted to make a similar contribution. They were very special role models for me. They truly provided the infrastructure to ensure the vibrancy of the Nashville Jewish community,” he says.
As a result, The Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville is announcing a donation by Goldfarb to fund a Young Leadership Program. “The prior generation was so powerful and giving and led by example. I want to help the youger generation identify leaders to engage their peers. I think it is critically important to have knowledgeable and dynamic leaders who can relate to and motivate their generation to move us forward as a people. We face diﬀerent challenges than we did 20 or 30 years ago, with the rise of antisemitism and the goal of keeping interfaith marriages invested in Judaism.”
The seven-month program is aimed at community members ranging from mid-30s to mid-40s. Participants will meet regularly to listen to speakers on a range of topics designed to provide a deeper understanding of the local Jewish community and its needs. According to Michal Becker, Director of Engagement for The Federation, “The goal of this program is to provide potential leaders with the information and tools they will need to further their involvement. The program will enforce a sense of belonging among the participants to increase their motivation to do more to meet the community’s needs.”
At the completion of the program, the participants will be tasked with helping to plan for the next year’s cohort. The overall structure is like other civic leadership development organizations, and one Federation professionals believe is most effective. Scott O’Neal, Director of Development for The Federation says, “We are so pleased with, not only Mark Goldfarb’s tremendous gift, but also his vision for this program.” Plans for the first cohort will soon be underway and is expected to begin in October 2023. In the process of setting up this fund, Goldfarb hopes that by being proactive, he will inspire others in his generation to become similarly involved.
As another example of his giving spirit, Goldfarb has also recently established an endowment at his alma mater, at the University of Michigan Hillel, for ongoing Shabbat programming for the academic year. He has commented that he remains constantly amazed at the passion of Jewish students who attend services during their busy school year.
Goldfarb had intended to return to Nashville on a regular basis to see his close friends and colleagues, but the Covid19 pandemic has limited his travel to basically seeing his elderly parents, ages 98 and 94, in San Diego and his two children, Brittney and Eliot in Chicago. He is now also the very proud grandfather of his daughter’s identical twin girls, Danielle and Olivia.
Not only has Goldfarb given financially, but he gives of his time as well. He currently sees cardiac patients twice a month at a free medical clinic in Park City for those individuals without health insurance. He also volunteers at the National Ability Center, a nationally recognized nonprofit, working with individuals with significant physical, emotional or mental challenges. The team is still able to get candidates up skiing and biking on appropriate adaptive equipment. Lastly, he volunteers as a Doc on the Mountain at Deer Valley Resort working closely with the Ski Patrol Team.
When not volunteering, he can be found on the slopes or mountains in the Park City area, skiing, mountain biking, hiking, swimming, or playing pickle ball or golf. He says, “Life is incomplete without giving back. I feel I’ve had a wonderful balance of both.”