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December 9, 2016 / 9 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘founder’

Israeli Millionaire Philanthropist, Founder of Emanuel, Motti Zisser Dies at 61

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

Israeli businessman Motti Zisser passed away Thursday morning after a lengthy struggle with cancer. He had been in remission since the 1990s, when he first came down with the illness and became sick again two years ago. Zisser, who made his fortune in real estate and construction across Europe and in South Africa, was engaged of late in a lengthy dispute with Bank Hapoalim over a debt that was growing to close to $300 million.

Mordechai Kalman Zisser was born in the poor neighborhood of Hatikvah in south-eastern Tel Aviv to Polish Holocaust survivors who belonged to the Hassidic dynasty of Sochatchov. When he was two, his family moved to the Haredi city of B’nei B’rak, where he joined the religious youth movement Ezra. He studied at the Netiv Meir Yeshiva and served in the IDF as an Armor officer while attending the hesder yeshiva Kerem d’Yavne. He acquired a BA in Economics from Bar-Ilan University.

Zisser captured the Israeli public’s imagination, especially in the religious sector, in the early 1980s, when he initiated the founding of the city of Emanuel in Samaria, the first urban settlement in the newly captured territories. Since then Zisser went on to build across Israel and in Eastern Europe. He was known as a generous philanthropist, especially focusing on Jewish communities in Hungary.

In the 1990s, after recovering from a bout with cancer, Zisser and his wife established the first bone marrow bank in Israel. The couple also contributed to the Oranit rehab center for children and teens with cancer. The Zissers also contributed millions of dollars to charity and educational organizations in Israel and around the world.

In 1999 Zisser purchased Elbit Medical Imaging, a holding company with activities in real estate, medical imaging, hotels, shopping malls, and retail, for an estimated $128 million. Zisser integrated his real estate activities into the company and restructured Elbit Medical Imaging as a holding company, focusing on real estate and hotels development, shopping and entertainment malls, industrial manufacturing and supply of components for the medical imaging, as well as venture capital investments in high-technology and bio-technology companies.

At some point Zisser’s company started a downward spin which eventually landed it in Israeli court, which wiped out close to half a billion dollars of its debt in exchange for transferring 95% of its stock to the creditors. Zisser, who lost control over his company, still owed more than a quarter of a billion dollars to the bank, which asked the court to declare him bankrupt.


A Founder of Dimona Reactor Calls on Govt. to Shut It Down Over Numerous Faults

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

Prof. Uzi Even, one of the founders of the nuclear reactor in Dimona, called on the government to shut it down after numerous faults had been discovered in its core and its mantle. Prof. Even told israel Radio on Tuesday that the Dimona reactor has completed its mission and is no longer needed. He added that he had been warning for a long time that the reactor, which has been in operation for 53 years and could be the oldest operating reactor in the world, must follow the example of its contemporary facilities, in keeping with international safety rules.

But Even pointed out that the Dimona reactor is much smaller than the failed reactors in Chernobyl and Fukushima. According to him, even if the Dimona reactor springs a leak, the resulting damage would be minimal.

According to Ha’aretz, citing a research work that was presented in a Tel Aviv conference this month, an ultrasound examination has discovered 1,537 faults in the reactor’s metal core, which are being monitored continuously by scientists. Other topics that were discussed by the same researchers were ways to protect the reactors against earthquakes and missile attacks.

David Israel

Failing in Order to Succeed

Monday, August 19th, 2013

The rabbis teach that we can only truly understand Torah when we allow ourselves to fail at it (Gittin 43a). Unless we push ourselves to reach for deeper understanding, where we inevitably get it wrong before we can get it right, we will not grasp the very essence of the Jewish enterprise. Rashi here seems to think that it’s the public shame of getting it wrong (and the concomitant rebuke) that strengthens one’s intellectual rigor. It is not hard to think about giving constructive feedback (“rebuke”) when it comes to moral matters, but do we care enough about ideas that we (respectfully) challenge others when ideas are misinterpreted or misapplied? How much do we really value the marketplace of ideas and the assurance that we as individuals and as a society get it right?

History is full of examples of leaders who acknowledged that persistence in the face of failure was more important than individual failures. President Abraham Lincoln, whose army suffered many crushing defeats in the early years of the Civil War, said: “I am not concerned that you have fallen — I am concerned that you arise.” A century later, Robert F. Kennedy echoed the optimistic spirit of youth when he said, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” Besides for being tragically assassinated, what these presidents have in common in that their causes lasted, their legacies carried on, and they are remembered as being among the greatest and most successful men to occupy the Oval Office.

Very often, one can be lured by the traps of conformism (just follow others’ ideas or practices) or isolationism (just follow one’s own marginal ideas and practices). Our job as Jews is to break free from these ploys for mediocrity. We must challenge ourselves and the status quo to reach higher by engaging with societal ideas but without blindly accepting them.

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, the great-grandson of the Baal Shem Tov (the founder of the Chassidic movement) and founder and intellectual-spiritual leader in his own right, was anything but a conformist. He not only told his followers to be happy, but he also encouraged them to do silly things, highly unusual for a religious leader. Rebbe Nachman stated that each person had to fall in order to rise, and stressed the universality of this concept:

[E]ach person who fell … thinks that these words weren’t spoken for him, for he imagines that these ideas are only for great people who are always climbing from one level to the next. But truthfully, you should know and believe, that all these words were also said concerning the smallest of the small and the worst of the worst, for Hashem is forever good to all.

However, Rebbe Nachman went further, stating that it is “a great thing for a person to still have an evil inclination.” Even the tendency to evil could serve G-d, as people worked through these passions and eventually overcame them. To Rebbe Nachman, it seems, spiritual stasis is the only unacceptable path.

We must be willing to learn and debate with others. Ideas matter. Inevitably that will lead to some level of shame when we get it wrong, but the promise land afterwards is much greater. It offers a culture of more honest, informed, connected individuals who are willing to be vulnerable for the sake of truth and who are willing to be wrong in order to get it right. Our great rabbinic and presidential leaders wouldn’t have it any other way.

Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/failing-in-order-to-succeed/2013/08/19/

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