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Ludwig Jesselson

JESSELSON, LUDWIG (1910–1993), U.S. businessman and philanthropist. Jesselson was born in Neckarbischoffsheim, Germany, where he began a career in business at a young age. In 1934 he left Germany, and after three years in Holland he arrived in New York (1937), joining the firm of Philipp Brothers, which specializes in oil, metal, and chemicals, eventually becoming president and chairman. Jesselson collected Judaica and Hebraica and was highly active in Jewish life, concentrating on Orthodox and educational institutions. He was a trustee of Yeshiva University, was a founder of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and was a director of the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute. In 1973 he and his wife, Erica, founded the Yeshiva University Museum. In Israel he was a member of the boards of Bar-Ilan University, the Haifa Technion, and the Shaare Zedek Hospital. He was also involved with the Jewish National Library of The Hebrew University and the Israel Museum and Bezalel School of Art.

To encourage originality and excellence in Judaica design, Jesselson and his wife established the Jesselson Prize for Contemporary Judaica Design, awarded by the Israel Museum to an outstanding Judaica artist. They also purchased the Steiglitz Collection. The largest private collection of high-quality Judaica, it constitutes almost the entire Judaica section of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

The Ludwig and Erica Jesselson Institute for Advanced Torah Studies at Bar-Ilan University is dedicated to advancing a synthesis of Torah and academic study. Made up of the Institute for Men and the Midrasha for Women, it provides students the opportunity to engage in traditional talmudic and Judaic studies, combined with full university degree programs.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.