Max M. Fisher 1908-2005
Jewish Community Leader, Zionist, Public Figure
The son of Russian immigrants, Max Fisher grew up in a small town in Ohio, and attended Ohio State University. Through decades of an outstandingly successful business career, Fisher also worked energetically on behalf of public causes. He played a leading role in the Republican Party and served as advisor to four U.S. presidents.
Listed as the oldest member of Forbes 400, Fisher originally made his wealth in the oil business and real estate, to become a leading industrialist in Detroit. He championed the economic revitalization of his adopted home city, and actively supported numerous charities and civic organizations.
Mr. Fisher played a leading role in almost every major Jewish community organization, including the American Jewish Committee, B'nai B'rith International, the Council of Jewish Federations, HIAS, United Israel Appeal, the Jewish Agency for Israel, and United Jewish Appeal. Max Fisher was the founding chairman of the Jewish Agency`s Board of Governors and received numerous awards for his dedication to public service in Israel and the Diaspora.
Max Fisher led across the board, making the impossible happen, both as a Jewish and a public figure. He was instrumental in pushing through the airlift of U.S. arms to Israel, during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the country's lifeline to survival.
Sallai Meridor, Chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive, said at the funeral:
"Today, we have lost the greatest Jewish leader in the Diaspora since the foundation of the State of Israel. Max Fisher established the new Jewish Agency for Israel and was the most prominent leadership figure in mobilizing identification with and support for the State of Israel in world Jewry, and the United States, in particular.
"He was the prime mover in canvassing support for Israel during the wars of '67 and '73 and he played the decisive role in placing Aliyah at the top of the agenda, following the opening of the gates from the USSR. Through his endeavours, one million Jews came to Israel from the USSR, rather than going elsewhere. Among his many and diverse activities in the Jewish world and Israel, he was also involved in Aliyah from many countries, in different periods: from the Aliyot from the Arab world in the 1950s, to Operations Moses and Solomon. He also headed the Jewish Agency's campaign for rehabilitation of Israel's underprivileged neighbourhoods, at the behest of the late Prime Minister, Menachem Begin.
"His family follows in the footsteps of his great Zionist heritage, and his daughter, Jane Sherman, is an eminently active member of the Jewish Agency's Board of Governors, a generous donor, and heads the United Israel Appeal today."
Max Fisher was born in Pittsburgh on July 15th 1908. He died at his home on Thursday, March 3rd in Detroit at 96.
May his memory be blessed.
Sources reproduced with permission:
Fisher College of Business, Ohio State University http://fisher.osu.edu/about/the-max-fisher-story