Chaim Azriel Weizmann (1874-1952) The first president of Israel, Weizmann was a chemist by training and lectured in universities across Europe. He developed the ABE process – a way of producing acetone from bacteria – which was relied upon heavily by the Allies in World Wars I & II to make explosives. Before the formation of Israel, he was president of the World Zionist Congress, working tirelessly for the establishment of a Jewish state. He was one of the founders of Hebrew University and the Weizmann Institute (recently ranked the best research facility in the world). When asked what reward he wanted in exchange for his invaluable contributions to the Great War, he answered “There is only one thing I want – a national home for my people.” The famous Balfour Declaration was issued just weeks later.
Words of the Week
If we use our fuel to get our power, we are living on our capital and exhausting it rapidly. This method is barbarous and wantonly wasteful, and will have to be stopped in the interest of coming generations.
Alexander Mashkevich (b. 1954) One of Kazakhstan’s “Trio” of super-rich men, he owns major reserves of natural resources, particularly aluminum and gas, all over the world. Mashkevich spends much of his time in Israel, where he is the 5th richest man with an estimated $3.5 billion. A very bright individual, he was made dean of a university at age 26. He is currently the president of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress and a close friend of Shimon Peres (current President of Israel) and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazabayev. His most recent move was to found a Jewish version of Al-Jazeera.
Words of the Week
The Jewish people are a single unit, as it says [Vayikra 19:18]: “You shall not take revenge and you shall not bear a grudge against the members of your people.” It is as if you were cutting meat and the knife slipped and cut your hand. Would that hand cut your other hand in revenge? – Talmud Yerushalmi, Nedarim 9:4