NOVEMBER 16, 2017 – Bob Rose, a retired MIT professor who has served on the Jewish Journal Board of Overseers for 25 years, completed his term as the board’s president last week. Rose will remain on the board and serve on its executive committee, and will work with Bradley Sontz, a Marblehead businessman who was elected president last week.
“Bob is a leader like no other I’ve ever encountered,” said Sontz. “His thoughtful insight and wisdom of the world is something I cherish.”
“Bob’s professorial, statesman-like demeanor, generosity, and strength have put us in a position to nurture and grow a paper that connects our community, is financially viable, and editorially sound,” added Neil Donnenfeld, who was elected last week as the board’s first vice president and treasurer. “The community owes Bob a tremendous debt of gratitude.”
Rose, who grew up in New York, is the husband of Martha Rose, and the father of Cindi, James, and Joshua Rose. As a child, Rose helped load trucks for his father’s hardware business, and his family moved from Brooklyn to Queens where he attended Forest Hills High School.
Rose enrolled at MIT in 1954, and earned his bachelor’s degree and doctorate there. At 24, he was named an assistant professor, and is considered one of the founders of the field of material science. In addition to teaching at MIT, he also served for 12 years as a professor at Harvard Medical School, and is the author of several textbooks. At MIT, a presidential fellowship has been named for him, and he is credited for developing the engineering of superconductors for high field magnets and microwave devices.
Rose, of Topsfield, is a strong believer in freedom of the press and believes the country’s founding fathers used print to circulate their ideas.
“During the American Revolution, what held them together was journalism, communication,” he said. “The writings of the founders of our country circulated and it got them to act together in their own interests.”
Rose began reading the Journal after the publication was founded over 40 years ago. “The most important Jewish institution we may have here is the Journal, because it connects people who are dispersed, geographically and ideologically,” he said.
Rose said he was able to connect to many Jewish programs and organizations over the years by reading the paper. In the 1980s, he noticed an article on Jews who had formed a study group in Boxford, Georgetown, Hamilton, Wenham, and Topsfield, and decided to join. “We called it ‘Jews in the Sticks,’” said Rose, who studied and celebrated Jewish holidays, religion, and culture with his new north of Boston friends. The Jewish Journal also led to his active participation in the Dolphin Yacht Club, where he served as Vice Commodore; to Hillel Academy, where he served as a Board member and where his children and grandchildren attended at various times; and to Chabad-Lubavitch of the North Shore.
Rose, who has previously served on other nonprofit and corporate boards, lauded the current Journal Board of Overseers. “This board is remarkable in terms of their congeniality and their ability to collaborate and work together. I think that a couple of years from now, they’ll be proud and happy about what they accomplished,” he said.
Rose said the Journal’s board is assisting the paper by creating committees to help establish financial stability and advance the publication in the digital era from fund-raising to technology.
He said the most important issue facing the board is building a business model that will allow the newspaper to remain free, and to continue to grow. Currently, the Journal’s revenue comes from three sources: advertising sales, donations from the community, and a $46,000 annual grant from Combined Jewish Philanthropies. The paper’s current annual budget is $646,000.
“We need a model that will achieve our goal of building an inclusive community and one that will be viable, financially, and capable of bringing people together, he said. “And I must thank Martha for putting up with all this mishugas.”