The Donors - Leonore and Larry (z''l) Zusman
Longtime, dedicated friends of Israel, Larry z"l and Leonore Zusman's commitment to our Jewish State raised the traditions of philanthropy and mitzvoth to the very highest level. Together, the couple's exceptional dedication to the well-being of those most vulnerable – improved conditions for the mentally and physically challenged, the elderly and youth at risk, among others.
This year, as we mourn the passing of Larry Zusman, we can recall how immensely this remarkable couple contributed to Israel and the Jewish world, and look forward to the continuation of a legacy the two established during Larry's lifetime.
Exceptionally caring and warm-hearted, the Zusmans turned their success in the retailing, real estate and investments businesses to the benefit of Jews around the world. Their leadership and vision was evident wherever they went: in their hometown of Dayton, Ohio, endowing a Chair of Judaic Studies at Wright State University, as well as in the Jewish communities of Columbus, Ohio and Boca Raton, Florida.
Larry and Leonore's long-standing partnership with JDC, has been reflected in their active involvement in a wide range of JDC programs, partnering with JDC to help people with special needs, the ultra-Orthodox, and Ethiopian-Israelis, including Larry's longstanding service as a permanent Honorary Board Member of JDC. The Zusmans' support has also enabled JDC to provide live-sustaining welfare assistance to thousands of destitute elderly Jews in the former Soviet Union.
The Zusmans' powerful connection with Israel is evident in the many initiatives in which they have been deeply involved in this country, including the Larry and Leonore Zusman Center for Independent Living for People with Special Needs in Jerusalem, and many other initiatives for those with disabilities including the unique Zusman Visitors Center for Education and Tourism for People with Special Needs in Jerusalem's Old City, and Beit Zusman, a comprehensive center for the hearing impaired.
Larry and Leonore also sponsored initiatives to create employment opportunities for Israel’s Ultra-Orthodox through job training, vocational courses and the establishment of Zusman Job Opportunity Centers for Haredi men and women in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak.
The Zusmans' rare commitment to Israel's disadvantaged children and youth was demonstrated through support of the Neve Ruchama school, the Zichron Menachem Day Care Center for Children with Cancer and their Families, the Child Development Center in the Soroka Hospital in Beersheva, the Shiluvim Head Start program to enhance the integration of Ethiopian-Israeli schoolchildren, scholarships to needy students at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the much-needed Har Homa Community Center.
The Zusmans also established the Zusman Psychiatric Center at Hadassah Hospital, the Department of Pediatric Neurology at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, and the Columbus Ohio Jewish Hospice.
The Leonore and Larry Zusman-JDC Prize for Excellence in the Field of Social Services in Israel, which has been proudly presented successively for the last seven years, constantly enriches Israel’s social sector through both the support it provides and the promotion of the Zusman's personal example.
The Zusman connection to Israel also extends to the family level. Their daughter Francie is married to Avner, a native-born Israeli, and is raising her family here. In addition two of their grandchildren – whose parents Marilyn and Stuart live in Columbus, Ohio – have recently moved to Israel. Both families share the Zusmans' commitment to Israel and Jewish causes.