FEINBERG, ABRAHAM


FEINBERG, ABRAHAM (1908–1998), U.S. businessman and organization leader. Feinberg, who was born in New York City, received his law degrees from Fordham and New York University. He occupied a number of prominent executive positions, among them chairmanship of the board of the Kayser-Roth Corporation until 1964 and chairmanship of the executive committee of the American Bank and Trust Company. He served for several years on the New York City Board of Education. Feinberg was highly active in American Jewish life and on behalf of the State of Israel. He helped to organize Jewish support for Democratic presidential candidates (e.g., John F. Kennedy). He had a long relationship with Brandeis University, serving as a trustee in 1953; chairman of the board of trustees from 1954 to 1961; a Brandeis Fellow in 1953; and was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1961. And through his generous donation, the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life was established at Brandeis University. Feinberg and his family also endowed the Feinberg Graduate School at the Weizmann Institute in Israel.

Feinberg was the founder and first president of Americans for Haganah, a group formed in the early 1940s to help provide arms and other critical materials to the yishuv in Palestine. He offered his home to Zionist leaders who were trying to gain support of the U.S. government, and he aided European Jews seeking refuge. He accompanied Chaim *Weizmann, Israel's first president, to his first meeting with President Harry Truman. Active in American politics, Feinberg worked informally with the United States and Israeli governments during Middle East crises, led many Democratic fund-raisers, and served as a confidant to U.S. presidents Harry Truman, John Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson.

In 1960 Feinberg was named B'nai B'rith's Man of the Year, an event that was attended by Harry Truman.

Feinberg served as president of the Development Corporation for Israel, which conducts the worldwide sale of Israel Bonds, and as president of the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science. In 1966 he led a syndicate of American Jewish businessmen that successfully bid for a franchise to produce and sell Coca-Cola in Israel, thus breaking the company's long-standing acquiescence to the Arab boycott.

In 1983 Feinberg established three scholarships at the Weizmann Institute (The Belle and Philip Feinberg Scholarship; The Lillian Feinberg Scholarship; and The Shirley and Judge Wilfred Feinberg Scholarship). Feinberg also supported numerous medical causes, including schizophrenia research in both New York and Israel. He endowed the psychiatric wing at Schneider Children's Medical Center for Israel.

[Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.