Kurt Rothschild – Jewish Leader, Philanthropist & President of the World Mizrachi Movement Dies at 101
Edited by: Fern Sidman
Kurt Rothschild, the president of the World Mizrachi Movement, passed away Sunday. He was 101 years old.
“Rothschild, the president of the World Mizrachi, who dedicated his life to strengthening the State of Israel and to Jewish education was one of the leaders of Canadian Jewry and a partner with Religious Zionism, passed away today,” the World Bnei Akiva Movement announced Sunday night, as was reported by Israel National News.
He will be laid to rest tomorrow in Jerusalem.
INN also reported that Ehud Tal, secretary-general of the World Bnei Akiva Movement, said Rothschild was “known throughout the entire Zionist enterprise in Israel and around the world.”
“He was a true friend of the Bnei Akiva Movement and dedicated his life to the spirit of Torah V’Avodah. Thanks to him, connected to their Jewish identity and to the Jewish people and the Torah,” he added.
Born in Germany in 1920, Rothschild was sent to England by his parents in 1937, before being relocated by the British to Canada in 1940. Along with other German refugees, Rothschild was interned in Canada for 18 months, as was reported by Israel National News.
For more than half a century, Rothschild was actively involved in philanthropic activities, working on behalf of Israeli institutions including Bar-Ilan University, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Yeshiva HaKotel, the Jerusalem College of Technology, the Bnei Akiva Movement, and towns across Israel.
INN reported that as a Zionist activist, Rothschild worked in a variety of Jewish organizations, including the United Jewish Appeal, the Canadian Zionist Federation, the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Jewish National Fund, Israel Bonds, the Jewish Agency for Israel, and the World Zionist Organization.
In 2012, Rothschild and his wife, Edith, immigrated to Israel from Toronto.
The World Mizrachi Movement eulogized Rothschild in a statement Sunday night, dubbing him the “legendary president” of the organization, according to the INN report.
“Kurt was ‘one in a generation’ with an unmatched love of the People, Torah and Land of Israel with his signature humility, unshakable determination and exceptional menschlichkeit,” the World Mizrachi Movement said on the passing of Mr. Rothschild.
INN reported that Rabbi Doron Perez, Executive Chairman of World Mizrachi said: “Kurt was small in physical stature but was a giant of a man in his never ending contribution and commitment to Klal Yisrael in general and Religious Zionism in particular. We are heartbroken and our hearts go out to his wife Edith, and children Lenny, Naomi, Michael and the extended Rothschild family at this time.”
In an op-ed piece that appeared in the Jerusalem Post on the occasion of Mr. Rothschild’s 100th birthday in 2020, author David M. Weinberg wrote:
“Until the coronavirus pandemic hit earlier this year, the president of the World Mizrachi movement reported for duty in his Jerusalem office every day to preside over a lifetime of philanthropic and community activities. Every institution in the Religious Zionist world, from the poorest to the most prominent, has benefited from Kurt’s counsel and assistance.”
Weinberg added. “Everybody calls him “Kurt,” not Mr. Rothschild. He would not have it any other way. Kurt is modest beyond imagination, a model of respect for all Jews and towards all Jews, the deepest believer in Klal Yisrael – the unity of the Jewish people – and the greatest practitioner of Kol Yisrael arevim zeh lazeh, all Jews are responsible for one another.”
“It is not at all an exaggeration to say that Kurt is beloved and broadly respected like few other men in today’s Jewish world. What I can put to pen in this short column is miktzat shivcho befanav, just a small expression of admiration without causing him to blush too much.” (Sources: israelnationalnews.com, thejerusalempost.com)