AGAINST ALL ODDS
The Murray Koppelman Story
by Joshua M. Sklare
The son of Jewish immigrants, Murray Koppelman grew up in Brighton Beach. As a youth, he joined the Hashomer Hatzair movement. Back home he served in the U.S. Army, received a degree in Accounting and worked in the brokerage business at DH Blair, Eastlake Securities, and Bear Stearns. A philanthropist, he was president of American ORT and has received the Best of Brooklyn Award and the Presidential Medal.
Brooklyn, New York, 2013 is now a very hip place. There is the newly built Barclay Center; housed at that beautiful venue is Brooklyn’s very own basketball team. There is the favorite son of the borough, who is one of the owners of that team, Shawn Corey Carter, otherwise known as rapper Jay-Z. There are the high-priced residences of Park Slope and the lofts of Williamsburg. Brooklyn College, alma mater of Murray Koppelman, is perhaps the most exciting institution of all of the city colleges. It is even possible that some longtime Brooklynites, the ones who grew up sitting on stoops and playing punchball and stickball, may have recovered from the collective trauma heaped on it in 1957, when a certain baseball team headed west. Yes, it is a new day in Brooklyn.
It was a bit different back on July 7, 1931. That was the date that Murray Koppelman came into this world. Two years into the Depression, 1931 was a tough year for Americans. It was an even tougher year for Americans who were barely holding body and soul together, as was the case for so many immigrant families like the Koppelmans. For someone like Murray, who would make his mark in the stock market, 1931 did not portend good things. It had started out bullish, then became more bearish than many could bear. 1931 was a year for soup kitchens and selling apples.