The Jewish world lost a major supporter of many worldwide Torah sustaining causes this past Monday. Zev Wolfson, z”l, a resident of Lawrence, NY, passed away after a short illness at the age of 84. His levaya was at Shor Yoshuv Yeshiva in Lawrence. He was buried in Israel.
Born in Vilna, he immigrated to America with his mother and brother at the age of 17, and, sending his brother to learn in yeshiva in a classic Yissachar-Zevulun relationship, began working in business. By the time he was in his twenties, he had become wealthy through real estate investments.
He devoted money, time and care to Jewish education, developing and maintaining yeshivot, Bais Yaakovs, and other Torah institutions in the U.S., Israel, France, Morocco and Russia. “He did everything in a modest way,” said Rabbi Moshe Greene, one of the rabbaim at Shor Yoshuv. “No one would see his name on the buildings. No pride. No fanfare.” Rabbi Greene said that Wolfson was close to government officials throughout the world, and that he “lobbied hard for Jewish affairs and communities throughout the world. He was business-like, straight, professional.”
Wolfson was also known for bolstering the State of Israel financially, when they were struggling in the 60s and 70s and onward. He worked to decrease interest on loans from the U.S. government and helped finance Torah and kiruv institutions in Israel.
“He was close with Rav Aharon Kotler, zt”l; he was his partner to rebuild Klal Yisrael,” said Rabbi Greene. “It was his real mission, not just living. His whole life force was to rebuild Klal Yisrael after the Holocaust and he knew that’s why he was given the money.”
“He not only funded these projects, he kept on top of them to make sure they were running efficiently,” continued Greene. “He and his sons sent people to ensure that they were doing what they were supposed to do. He trained his sons well to continue in this legacy. They give away millions every year to Jewish causes. He is still alive through his legacy.”
Yhi Zichro Baruch.