About the Founder
The Road to Riches
It was not easy for a young immigrant barely off the boat, with a meager knowledge of English, to obtain a job at a firm of architects. Once Fischel managed to obtain such a job, it was impossible to keep the job for as long as a week if one observed the Sabbath, as the young immigrant did. On his first and only Friday on the job, he asked for permission not to come in the next day, Saturday, offering to forgo half his salary to be allowed to take his Sabbath day off. Instead, he was given the ultimatum: “If you don’t come tomorrow, you need not come on Monday.” He wasn’t even paid for that week. And thus, his life became a nightmare. Fischel was reduced to eating bread and coffee while improving his training in architecture and his knowledge of English, and looking for another job. His road to riches was not an easy one, but in fact a rather unconventional one. He figured out how to develop irregularly shaped lots of land that were not being utilized, bought them at bargain prices, developed them far beyond their apparent potential, and before long, according to his biographer, “the story of the next few years reads like a fairy tale.” Harry Fischel, the poor immigrant, overcame the restrictions of his religion to develop not just land into buildings, and buildings into institutions, but also uneducated students into scholars with unlimited repositories of Jewish culture, tradition, and scholarship, via a combination of educational, spiritual, and charitable organizations.