Greg grew up in a small but proud Jewish family. As a teen, after his own Bar Mitzvah, he visited Israel for his sister's Bat Mitzvah. In college, he joined Zeta Beta Tau. The books (The Silhouette Man & The First Thirty) based on Greg's story tell the tale of a young teacher's efforts to make a difference, and the grandparent (& other influences) who shape his interest in service, social justice & philanthropy. The books include sections that reflect on his response to anti-Semitism as a teenager and his response to living in Louisiana during the infamous Edwin Edwards - David Duke gubernatorial election. The First Thirty's page 1 reviews include one from the head of the Holocaust & Genocide Foundation in South Africa. (Scroll down for next paragraph)
The books &/or companion workbook (A Place To Sit) have been used by many schools, companies & organizations (i.e. The Jewish Center got copies for its Bar Mitzvah students, Am Yisrael Conservative Congregation got copies of The First Thirty for its Tikkun Olam curriculum, DK Jewish Academy got copies for their faculty). Organizations (i.e. Genesis Mitzvah Fund & Jewish Association of Aging) have ordered the books, workbooks &/or related posters for Jewish people in their communities. Locations like U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (D.C.), National Museum of American Jewish History, Virginia Holocaust Museum, Museum of Jewish Heritage (NY) & The William Breman Museum of Jewish Heritage have selected the books for their on-site stores. The book-related Legacy Posters have been used with Jewish audiences of different ages (i.e. a donor ordered copies for dozens of attendees at an event for Jewish philanthropists in the Midwest; South African Holocaust & Genocide Foundation gave copies to students who won its art & writing contest). (Scroll down for next paragraph)
Greg has been invited to speak on topics like volunteerism, social justice & philanthropy - including many events that have involved Jewish leaders &/or Jewish audiences. For example, at a day-long event in the USA, Greg & Nobel Peace Prize honoree Elie Wiesel were the two speakers. Other events have included young student audiences (i.e. Twin Cities Jewish Youth Service Conference), college student audiences (i.e. Bradley University Hillel), people who work with students (i.e. event for staff & counselors of multiple JCC's day camps), philanthropists (i.e. a dinner for donors of an organization that supports Jewish seniors) & older adults (i.e. private event for Holocaust Survivors in California). He has been invited to speak at annual events for students (i.e. Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education's Bystander to Upstander Youth Leadership Summit) & adults (i.e. Mid-Kansas Jewish Federation). He also has been invited to do Readings of his upcoming picture book, The Milkshake Man, for Jewish kids & seniors.
At events for adult Jewish philanthropists, the topic has typically focused on specific ways they can help get their kids & grandkids involved in service & philanthropy at a young age. In some cases, a group has both utilized the books & had Greg speak at an event. For instance, a program for emerging Jewish leaders got the books for its participants in advance of their group trip to Israel - & had Greg serve as Scholar-in-Residence for a Shabbaton Retreat. The group repeated the same process with their new cohort the next year. Its sister chapters in Canada ordered the books for their participants, too. Zeta Beta Tau got copies for 200 attendees at its Convention & had Greg serve as keynote speaker. He also was honored as ZBT's annual Man of Distinction. Greg's connections with the Jewish community &/or Jewish leaders have extended into the media as well. The Washington Post wrote a kind story comparing the paths & legacies of Greg & Steven Spielberg. In addition to other mainstream media like Good Morning America and USA Today, he has been featured by outlets like Cleveland Jewish News, Chicago Jewish News & Jewish Journal. At times, he has written for the media as well - including an article he wrote for Canadian Jewish News. To read a sample of book/workbook/event-related feedback from Jewish groups & media, click here.