Dr. Irving Moskowitz: The Montefiore and Rothschild of Our Time
Dr. Irving Moskowitz — a Jewish hero, a man who has rightfully been called the Montefiore and Rothschild of our time, passed away last week. A prominent philanthropist, he had a steadfast dedication to the Jewish people and the state of Israel. Condolences to his wife, Cherna — his wife and partner for the past 60 years — a true eshet chayil (woman of valor).
Dr. Irving Moskowitz was concerned with good deeds, and was a man of action. He was a steadfast supporter of the right of Jews to live anywhere in the land of Israel.
He was born on January 11, 1928 in New York City, the 9th of 13 children. He was a semi-professional baseball player before entering the University of Wisconsin, where he received the Phi Beta Sigma scholastic award for academic excellence. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree in medical science, Dr. Moskowitz began practicing medicine in Long Beach, California, and then transformed his career as a physician into an entrepreneurial career of building and managing hospitals.
As the Irving Moskowitz Foundation website notes, the man believed “…that everyone should have the opportunity to succeed in life. He believes in extending to a disadvantaged student the scholarship that will enhance his or her life by ensuring that a child experiences the pride, fun and teamwork of playing on a sports team; or in seeing that inner city sixth graders have an outdoor, hands-on learning experience at science camp.”
Dr. Moskowitz said, “I remember growing up hungry, but I cannot sit idly by and watch children in our community grow up without food to eat.” He helped so many people in need “regardless of race, creed, politics or religion,” and so often quietly and across so many walks of life.
Over the more than 20 years I knew him, I found Dr. Moskowitz to be clear minded, devoted, passionate, humble and caring. He was soft-spoken, yet determined — and he worked tirelessly.
Irving Moskowitz realized the difference that every single person can make in this world. Israel and Jewish issues were foremost on his philanthropic priorities. He was deeply influenced by the fact that he lost 120 family members in the Holocaust, noting that his tireless work was about “doing the natural thing for a Jew — trying to save our nation.”
The great prophet Hillel noted: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, what am ‘I’? And if not now, when?” Dr. Irving Moskowitz epitomized this quote.
Baruch Dayan Emet.
May his wife Cherna, their eight children, and more than 40 grandchildren be comforted among the mourners of Zion. May the remarkable life and dedication of Dr. Irving Moskowitz be a legacy for all of the Jewish people.