What is success? Laypeople generally define the term as making lots of money, but those actually successful sometimes have a broader, more open definition of the experience. According to serial entrepreneur Zalman Silber, a large part of being successful means being able to help those less fortunate. “My greatest joy comes from the happy faces and the smiles I get from the colleagues whose charitable organizations I am able to share my good fortune with,” he says. “While I look forward to a time when such assistance is not needed, I shall continue to do everything within my power to change the world, one soul at a time.”
To this end, Zalman Silber has endeavored to share his wealth through any number of non-profit organizations; in fact, the number of charities benefitting from his generosity rivals the number of businesses he has started up! Having first made his fortune with the New York Skyride, a simulated helicopter ride located in one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, the Empire State Building, Silber went on to found one company after another in a variety of industries from amusement rides and advertising and marketing to money management and multimedia. He is also a frequent guest lecturer on business topics at some of the leading forums for such discussions, such as Yeshiva University’s Sy Syms School of Business and Cornell University’s Department of Applied Economics and Management.
But despite such a portfolio of accomplishments, it is charitable donations that seem to give Zalman Silber the most pleasure of all. A complete list of all his good deeds would take up a whole website, but what follows is a survey of many of those nearest and dearest to his heart. Such especially beloved organizations include Arachim, Chesed L’Avraham, Meor Hatorah, Nachal Novea, Shvilim, and yeshivas such as his alma mater of Yeshiva Slabodka. These organizations promote Yiddishkeit and actively work to keep alive the Ashkenaz spirit around the world today. For example, Chesed L’Avraham is dedicated to helping abandoned or abused kinderlach in the land of Israel. Shvilim is another organization concerned with child welfare; specifically those of special-needs children whose families cannot afford the kind of care necessary to deal with issues such as congenital problems. Silber finds his greatest satisfaction – his success – in being a macher when it comes to the needs of his community. For such a mensch, money is but a tool and a happenstance. For the many touched by such righteous generosity, the man himself is an instrument of G-d’s mercy – and what is success but G-d’s grace?