About the Founder

A Life of Charity

Among Harry Fischel’s numerous distinctions were his service as:

Rare Involvement in a secular Charity

Although almost all of Fischel’s communal work had a Jewish component, he made an exception when personally asked by then-Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt, the future President of the United States, to serve as the President of the Board of Visitors of the Pilgrim State Hospital for the Insane. Fischel, unanimously elected by the other Board members, served in this capacity for more than a decade.

Yeshiva University

Fischel chaired the building committees of all of the entities that eventually evolved into Yeshiva University, including Yeshiva College itself. He even donated the plot of land for one of the buildings. Fischel served as Acting President of the College. The Harry Fischel Study Hall (bet medrash) remains the largest study hall in the original building on the main campus. In 1945, Fischel established the Harry Fischel Graduate School for Higher Jewish Studies at Yeshiva University. Rabbi Dr. Bernard Revel, the long-time first president of Yeshiva College, stated that Harry Fischel “invested in this enterprise more than any [other] man.” It was Fischel, more than anyone else, who rescued Yeshiva College from the brink of bankruptcy and closure during the Great Depression in the 1930s, personally intervening with banks and business associates, and putting money from his Foundation on the table.