Jewish philanthropist Marcus Katz, the Holocaust survivor renowned for his contribution to promoting the connection between halkha and modern life, passed away Tuesday night at age 89. His funeral will be conducted Thursday evening at Givat Shaul Mount Menuchot.
Katz established the Marcus Katz Award which for 41 years has been given to outstanding contributors to building harmony between Jewish law and tradition and the modern world, among them Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Rabbi Yehoshua Yeshaya Neuwirth, Rabbi Tzvi Herschel Shachter, Dr. Hanna Katan, and Rabbi Avi Gisser’s Mishpetei Eretz institute.
Born to a Hasidic family in Krakow, Poland, Markus Katz and members of his family fled to Palestine after the Nazi occupation. His mother, who spent the war in the labor camps, arrived in Haifa in 1946. In 1947 the family moved to Mexico, where Marcus became a principal of a Jewish school at age 20. He married Adina and the couple embarked on a life of business and industry, as well as the law, while constantly maintaining their relationship with the fledgling Jewish State.
They established the award in 1975, after the death of Markus’ mother, Golda. In 1985 the established the Zionist, modern Orthodox Emuna yeshiva in Mexico, catering to Jewish children from the first to the twelfth grade.
Over the years Adina and Markus Katz cultivated their close relationship with Israel, and developed personal friendships with many prominent figures in Israel’s society and politics, while continuing to influence through their charity work the lives of hundreds of thousands of Jews.