MICHAEL, JAKOB (1894–1979), U.S. financier and philanthropist. Born in Frankfurt, he began his business career in 1910 with his father-in-law's metal-trading firm, Beer Sondheimer. Demobilized from the German army in 1917, he became active in trade and industry, but in 1933 left Germany for Holland, and in 1939 moved to the United States where he continued his activities in various industrial enterprises. He was prominent in many Jewish philanthropic, educational, and scientific institutions. He financed a high school and a children's home in Pardes Hannah, Israel; an institute of biomedical research at the Einstein College of Medicine, New York; the institute of nuclear science at the Weizmann Institute in Israel; and a college of Hebraic studies at Yeshiva University, New York. Much of his attention was devoted to religious institutions, and his special interests included the collecting of Jewish ceremonial objects and Jewish music. He donated a collection of 25,000 items of Jewish music to the Hebrew University and many valuable books and ceremonial objects to the Israel Museum (including a complete synagogue taken from Vittorio Veneto in Italy).
[Joachim O. Ronall]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.