Marcus Samuel (1853-1927) was born in London to a wealthy Iraqi-Jewish family originally from the Netherlands. On a trip to the Black Sea in 1890, he saw the potential in oil (still a novel resource at the time). Samuel ordered the construction of 8 tankers that met the highest safety standards, receiving permission to transport oil to Asia across the newly-built Suez Canal. Thus was born Shell Oil, taking the name of the Samuel family business, which began meagerly just a few decades earlier by selling painted seashells. Using one of his tankers, Samuel once saved the stranded ship HMS Victorious, a feat for which he was knighted. Previously, Sir Samuel had served as the Sheriff of London, and even its Mayor! For his role in fueling the Allies in World War I, he was made 1st Baron of Bearsted, and later 1st Viscount of Bearsted. Lord Samuel was known for his incredible devotion to his wife and four children. So much so, in fact, that he died less than 24 hours after the passing of his beloved wife. At death, he left his large estate to be transformed into a public park, an orphanage and a nursing home. Today, his company is known as Royal Dutch Shell, after having merged in 1907 with the Royal Dutch oil company in order to compete with Rockefeller’s Standard Oil. Shell is currently the 5th largest company in the world, with a yearly revenue of over $360 billion.
Seymour Schulich (b. 1940) A science and engineering major from Montreal, he made most of his fortune in the oil and mining industries, primarily by inventing a new system of royalty payments. Schulich is often considered Canada’s top investor, as well as Canada’s greatest philanthropist. He recently donated $100 million to fund scholarships for university students through the United Jewish Appeal. This is in addition to $250 million he has already donated over the course of his life to various schools, hospitals and charities. It is therefore not surprising that he is the namesake for many institutions, including York’s Schulich School of Business, Western’s Schulich School of Medicine, Calgary’s Schulich School of Engineering, Dalhousie’s Schulich School of Law, McGill’s Schulich School of Music, Sunnybrook’s Schulich Heart Centre, and Technion’s Schulich Faculty of Chemistry. He has received the Order of Canada.
Words of the Week
Most men worry about their own bellies and other people’s souls, when we all ought to be worried about our own souls and other people’s bellies. – Rabbi Israel Salanter