Three Generations of B’nai B’rith Leadership, One Strong Belief in “Giving Back”
Eric Book’s parents provided a strong Jewish foundation for him and his siblings, deeply rooted in the value and importance of charity and giving back to the community.
Another strong influence on Eric’s Jewish identity was the pluralistic yeshiva where he went to middle school outside Philadelphia. Eric fondly remembers the challenging curriculum and writing book reports in Hebrew. While there, he also developed an important connection to Israel. This education, along with the upbringing provided by his parents and involvement in BBYO, cemented a future of charitable involvement in the Jewish community and the community at large.
Eric was born in Montclair, New Jersey, one of six children. His father, Milton, was an electrical engineer. His mother, Eileen, was a bookkeeper for the family business, and later for an attorney in California. His family moved several times, but, wherever they lived, they were active in their local synagogue.
In college, Eric studied political science, 20th century political thought and biology. Pursuing a pre-med curriculum, he also worked nights in the restaurant industry. He was an active member of AEPi, a Jewish fraternity, where he continued his charitable work.
Soon after graduating from California State University, Northridge, in 1975 with a degree in political science, Eric joined the B’nai B’rith Lodge in Encino, in California’s San Fernando Valley, where he had moved to enjoy the beautiful weather and be closer to his newly relocated parents. Initially, he was interested in the lodge’s bowling night and other social activities. He wouldn’t have guessed that weekly bowling would eventually lead to a lifetime of leadership with B’nai B’rith, both locally and internationally.
Professionally, Eric has been a financial consultant since 1976 and has been with Morgan Stanley since 1983 as a first vice president, financial advisor and senior investment management consultant.
Additionally, Eric has served twice as board chair of the Child and Family Guidance Center in Northridge, California, and also served as president of Magen David Adom, Israel’s national ambulance and blood-services organization, for the West Coast.
Just as Eric learned from older B’nai B’rith members when he became lodge president in his 20s, he continues to pass his knowledge and his values down to the next generation.
Eric and his wife Julie, who works at a Herman Miller furniture dealership, The Sheridan Group, doing account sales and design, have been married for 36 years. They have one son, Robert, who lives in the Houston area. Robert is an associate with Arroyo Energy Investment Partners, focusing on renewable energy. In addition, he is currently in the B’nai B’rith Young Leadership program and is very charitably focused as well.
Eric believes in giving back to the community, participating in charitable work and passing on charitable values. “The Planned Giving Department has been so grateful to Eric for helping us to facilitate a number of well-received professional estate planning seminars in Southern California over the years,” said Marna Schoen, director of Planned Giving. Then, about 15 years ago, Eric decided to name B’nai B’rith International as a beneficiary in his trust. By making this commitment, Eric became a member of B’nai B’rith’s esteemed 1843 Society, which acknowledges individuals who have made a commitment to the organization through their charitable estate plan.
“I felt it was important that I became an 1843 Society member if I were asking others to do the same. I believe the future of B’nai B’rith is in our hands,” Eric said. “We have to lead by example to support the organization for the next generation.”
Ruby Diamond Foundation for its recent generous contribution.