Emanual “Manny Crystal” (1926 – 2007)
Beth Israel Congregation’s website is dedicated in loving memory of Emanuel “Manny” Crystal. A long-time leader of Jackson’s Jewish community, Manny was serving as President of Beth Israel when the synagogue was bombed by the Ku Klux Klan in 1967. His strong leadership helped guide the community through this tumultuous time.
He would become known on the national scene as an influential advocate and philanthropist for Jewish causes. He served on the national board of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (“AIPAC”) and traveled many times to Israel as part of the national leadership of the United Jewish Appeal.
Manny believed strongly in his responsibility to serve the larger community. His warm and gracious personality enabled him to touch and influence people throughout society. He and his beloved wife and life partner Elaine helped push for racial reconciliation during the Civil Rights Movement, and he later served on the board of Tougaloo College. He was a significant sponsor of Jackson’s cultural institutions, and served on the boards of the Mississippi Museum of Art, the Mississippi Ballet, the Mississippi Opera, and New Stage Theater.
The son of Russian immigrants, Manny moved to Jackson when he was 10 years old and in his own words, “fell in love with the South.” After serving in the Air Force and graduating from the University of Iowa, he returned to Jackson in 1949 with his new bride Elaine. Manny joined his father; his uncle and his younger brother Jerry in the family’s scrap metal recycling business, Jackson Iron and Metal Company, Inc. Over the next fifty-plus years, Manny helped turn the small family business into the internationally successful and diversified enterprise it is today. As a well respected business leader, Manny’s business acumen was not limited to his own pursuits. Business leaders across Mississippi will attest they got their start through the generous advice and support of Manny Crystal.
On a personal level, Manny was a person who lived life to the fullest, whether it was enjoying tennis, snow skiing, playing lots of golf, or enjoying a perfectly made martini. Always charming and gracious, Manny was friends with many people from across all walks of life. He especially cherished the time he spent with his family.
As an innovative businessman, Manny was always looking down the road for the next new thing and always looking for new ways to communicate ideas. In that spirit, Beth Israel’s website is dedicated in his loving memory.