How Birthright Was Born Against All Odds

The view from Michael Steinhardt’s office in New York City shoots straight up Fifth Avenue, cutting along the east side of Central Park, with the gracious tower of the Sherry-Netherland on the right and the top of the Crown Building on the left. One of the original hedge fund gurus, Michael launched his fund in 1967, making him a pioneer in what has become an industry of staggering size and scope.

Michael grew up in a lower-middle-class neighbourhood in Brooklyn. Money was scarce, so he was motivated. Working exhaustively at trying to beat the market, by the age of 55 he had made pots of money. He is truly a self-made billionaire. But when Michael retired from the hedge fund world, he was still young and was looking for what he calls a “practical application” for some of his fortune. He wanted to invest in something meaningful.

“When I decided to retire, I said to myself, ‘I’m going to do something from this point in my life which is ennobling and virtuous.’ I decided to devote basically full time and effort to what I called the Jewish future.” He began to deploy his analytical thought process to the notion of youth trips to Israel as a means of “enriching and deepening” the long-term staying power of the Jewish People.

Read more at eJewish Philanthropy


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