Theodore Arisohn (1924-1999) was born in Tel-Aviv, a third-generation Israeli of Jewish-Romanian heritage. During World War II, Arisohn fought with the Jewish Brigade of the British Army, and then as an IDF Lieutenant Colonel during Israel’s War of Independence. In 1952, Arisohn moved to the US (becoming “Arison”) in the hopes of better financial opportunities. In 1966, now living in Miami, Arison teamed up with Knut Kloster to create Norwegian Cruise Lines. The company started with one small cruise ship offering cheap Caribbean tours, and grew very quickly. By 1972, Arison left Norwegian and started a new company: Carnival Cruise Lines. It was here that Arison made his fortune, and transformed the company into a multi-billion dollar enterprise. The Carnival Corporation now owns 9 other cruise lines, including Costa, Holland America, and Princess Cruises. Arison was a noted philanthropist, too, creating the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, as well as his own Arison Foundation. In 1988, Arison brought professional basketball to Florida by forming the Miami Heat NBA team. His final big move came in 1996, when he led a group that purchased Israel’s largest bank – Bank Hapoalim – for a record sum of over $1 billion.
Today, Bank Hapoalim is led by Ted’s daughter, Shari Arison (b. 1957). Born in New York, Shari spent half of her youth in Israel and the other half in the US, before returning to serve in the IDF. She further expanded her father’s businesses after his death, and is now the richest woman in the Middle East (and the only woman listed among the Middle East’s Top 20 richest people). Shari heads The Ted Arison Family Foundation, with its many philanthropic branches. One of these is dedicated to helping people find “inner peace”, while another is for promoting global unity, and a third for inspiring volunteerism in youth and creating International Good Deeds Day. Shari published her first book in 2009 and it became an Israeli bestseller. Her second, Activate Your Goodness: Transforming the World through Doing Good, was a New York Times bestseller, too. She has been selected “Woman of the Year”, has been ranked among Forbes list of the World’s Most Powerful Women, and the World’s Greenest Billionaires, as well as Jerusalem Post’s 50 Most Influential Jews.
Words of the Week
Such is the way of creation: first comes darkness, then light.
– Talmud, Shabbat 77b