It is with great sadness I announce the passing of Robert Israel Lappin. Successful businessman, philanthropist, and visionary, Bob Lappin was well-known and highly regarded locally and internationally for Lappin Foundation’s innovative Youth to Israel Adventure (Y2I), which he created 50 years ago and has funded ever since.

The majority of Bob Lappin’s philanthropy focused on serving Jewish youth of the North Shore of Massachusetts. The impact of his philanthropy spans decades and will reverberate for generations.  Israel had a special place in Bob Lappin’s heart, and he was passionate about sending Jewish teens to Israel, which he has been doing for the past half-century and which will continue for the next 50 years and beyond.

Lappin Foundation’s mission of enhancing Jewish identity across generations reflects Bob Lappin’s deep desire to nurture Jewish pride in our children. He funded programs of Jewish living and learning that brought Judaism into the homes and into the hearts of countless number of Jewish and interfaith families. He believed it wasn’t enough to teach about the beauty of Judaism; people needed the knowledge, tools and the authentic experience of all that Judaism offers. 

Bob Lappin’s philanthropy extended beyond the Jewish community with his generous support of organizations that service people in need and of a variety of educational and cultural institutions. Bob Lappin was awarded honorary doctorates from Salem State University and Gordon College in recognition of his contributions to society.

Bob Lappin took great pride being a lifelong resident of the North Shore, spending his childhood in Salem and living his adult years in Marblehead and Swampscott.  Following graduation from Salem High School in 1939, he attended Dartmouth College and graduated in 1943. Upon graduation he proudly served as a Naval officer for four years on the USS Cecil, a relief communication ship that saw action in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

Bob Lappin’s professional life spanned more than 70 years, beginning in manufacturing and ultimately working in real estate, owning and managing Shetland Park, one of the largest office parks in Massachusetts, which he sold in 2019. He loved going to work every day and meeting challenges head-on.

Ninety-eight years is a long life, and Bob spent most of it with the love of his life Mimi, his wife of nearly 72 years, who passed away in March 2018. Bob truly embraced life and all that came his way, appreciating the good and dealing with the bad, including the Madoff fraud in 2008, which wiped out all of the assets of the Robert I. Lappin Supporting Foundation, totaling eight million dollars.

Bob Lappin held many leadership positions in the Jewish community, including president of the Jewish Federation of the North Shore and president of Lappin Foundation. He was a founding member of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, reflecting his deep admiration and appreciation for Christian love and support for Israel and the Jewish People.

Bob recently shared with me one of his school notebooks from 1939.  At age 14 he wrote: “My idea of success is to earn an honest living, be a respected citizen in the community, and most of all live happily. There is, however, one point I failed to mention which I believe is an absolute necessity in securing real success. This is to be of service to my fellow man.”  Bob Lappin truly lived a life of success.

We express our heartfelt sympathy to his children Andy and Diane Lappin, Peter Lappin and Nancy Lappin, and to his grandchildren, of whom he was so very proud–Lauren, Danielle, Alex, Ben, Jackie and Matt.

Burial is private.

זיכרונו לברכה Zichrono livrahchah–May the memory of Robert Israel Lappin be for a blessing.


Deborah L. Coltin

Executive Director