Meyer and Sylvia KwitkoMeyer Kwitko was born in 1909 in a town near Kiev. His mother died when he was 8, and it was a precarious time for Jews living in Ukraine. In 1921, Meyer escaped the pogroms by traveling through the night with his grandfather, hiding on farms until they reached Romania. The lived in Romania for two years and then made their way to the U.S. The duo came to Chicago, where they were hosted by Meyer's aunt and uncle; two years later, Meyer's father joined them. The family was assisted in this immigration process by HIAS, and Meyer never forgot the support received by the Jewish Federation and its agencies.
Friends introduced Meyer to Sylvia Kazanovitz and they were married in 1943.
Meyer and Sylvia had four things in common---their love for family, their love for Yiddishkite, their love for Israel and their love for giving tzedakah. Meyer worked as a stockbroker at Mesirow Financial for over 50 years, and believed in sharing of this success. He and Sylvia supported five synagogues and were involved in all Jewish charities: social welfare, education, synagogue and JUF --- which was always their favorite. Between them, they served on the JUF Congregations Steering Committee, Pacesetters, Financial Division, Treasurer's Committee, Collections Committee, Phonothon and chaired their synagogue events. They were honored by JUF, Israel Bonds, JNF, Hadassah, and Friends of Jewish Education.
Meyer and Sylvia instilled their beliefs in their children and grandchildren. They had two daughters and sons-in-law - Ruth and Glenn Lym and Zenia and JUF Senior Vice President of Campaign Jeffrey Cohen - and four granddaughters.
Meyer and Sylvia contributed to the JUF Annual Campaign for more than 50 years, and left a bequest to JUF to establish the Meyer and Sylvia Kwitko Campaign Continuity Fund to forever perpetuate their gift and support the community they loved.