By Michele Justic
From Mini-Circuits to monumental projects, Harvey Kaylie left an indelible mark on the Jewish community as well as the community at large. How fitting that his name will forever be connected to Ohel’s camp promoting inclusion of children with special needs with mainstream campers: Camp Kaylie.
“Of all the many initiatives I have involved myself in, I am most proud of Camp Kaylie,” Kaylie said during one of his annual summer visits. “When I see the transformative impact of the Camp Kaylie experience — newfound friendships, a breakdown in stigma, a greater understanding and appreciation of one another — whatever our challenges, I know that all of our hard work has been worth it.”
Harvey Kaylie passed away leaving his wife, Gloria, daughters Roberta and Alicia Kaylie and grandchildren Lee and Hudson Kaylie.
Kaylie always worked hard to achieve his goals. According to InsidePhilanthropy.com, Kaylie received a B.E.E. degree from City College of New York and a master’s in electronic engineering from New York University. Kaylie worked as an electronics manager for Airborne Instruments Laboratory, as well as an engineer at Dumont, Phillips and ITT. In 1969, he founded Brooklyn-headquartered Mini-Circuits, a global leader in the design, manufacturing, and distribution of RF (radio frequency), IF (intermediate frequency), and microwave components and integrated modules.
Business In Focus Magazine gives some historical background to Kaylie’s accomplishments, recalling the landing of the lunar module on the moon in 1969 as “radio frequency engineer Harvey Kaylie was in his kitchen, working on his dream of founding a company specializing in radio frequency, intermediate frequency, and microwave signal processing products. Unlike the competition at the time, Kaylie wanted to manufacture high-quality products at a competitive price while remaining profitable.”
Harvey and his wife Gloria made it a priority to have their philanthropy benefit a wide range of causes. They support many organizations that help those with disabilities, such as Ohel, Aleh Negev Foundation, which supports a rehabilitation village for disabled children and adults in southern Israel, as well as educational institutions such as Yeshiva University and Yeshiva Har Torah. They also donate generously to the Palm Beach Orthodox Synagogue, Great Neck Synagogue, and various Jewish federations and the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.
Five Towns musician Shloime Dachs, a proud Ohel supporter, remembers, “Mr. Kaylie told me several times how much he enjoyed my davening at the Great Neck Synagogue and how important my work as an Ohel board member is to so many less fortunate people. ‘Don’t ever take it for granted and cherish the opportunity you were given to be on the frontlines of chesed to help others,’ he said. It was an honor and a privilege to know him personally as a friend and supporter of Ohel. He will be sorely missed.”
In Israel, the Kaylies’ support reaches to Ezrat Israel, American Friends of Jaffa Institute, Batya Friends of United Hatzalah and Friends of the IDF IMPACT Program, which provides former Israeli combat soldiers with higher education. The Kaylies’ worldwide generosity was noted in 2015 when Harvey was chosen to serve as the Salute to Israel parade’s grand marshal.
At a recent dinner, Ohel President Moishe Hellman praised Harvey and Gloria Kaylie’s selfless dedication to the organization. “Ashreinu, how lucky we are to have Gloria and Harvey fulfill this dream.”
Mr. Kaylie recently spoke at Kaylie Day, an annual visit Camp Kaylie. He spoke movingly about his own personal challenge of disability and stigma — and that while he now uses a wheelchair, he is still the same person he always was, “and towers with even greater conviction to the mission of Camp Kaylie.”
Dachs remembers Mr. Kaylie as “a man larger than life who amassed great wealth but said to me many times how he understood it was a gift from G-d to help others and make the world a better place to be. He loved children. The greatest achievement and gratification to both Harvey and his amazing wife, Gloria, was the establishment of Ohel’s Camp Kaylie. His face lit up every time he visited and he was so humbled knowing that in his lifetime a dream of a camp integrated with all types of children, especially children with disabilities, came to fruition.”
Camp Kaylie Director Rabbi Eli Brazil said, “He’s a very special man — a giant — and he will be sorely missed.”
In the greater community, Harvey Kaylie established the Kaylie Prize for Entrepreneurship in 2010 through an endowment. The prize was meant to encourage entrepreneurship amongst students at CCNY’s Grove School of Engineering.
“Kaylie’s wisdom, devotion, and vision were legendary,” said Dachs. “Harvey’s unparalleled feeling of community responsibility drove him to become one of today’s biggest philanthropists, impacting Jews all over the world.”