About the Founder


Fischel’s rags-to-riches story stands out in two ways. One was his service to the Jewish community, especially in the field of education, and the other was his dedication to public service in general, to the point where at various times when still in his prime, he dedicated more time to public service than to making money for himself. For the 8-year period from 1903 to 1911 he focused his energies almost exclusively on his philanthropic work, and again later as Chairman of the Building Committee of Yeshiva College. Although many lost their fortunes during the panic of 1907, because he was devoted primarily to philanthropic work during that period, Fischel was insulated from the catastrophic effects of this panic, and his fortune was preserved. While it was affected by the Great Depression, the story of his life and his achievements after 1929 show that Fischel still managed to do far more good on behalf of far more people after the Great Depression began than most philanthropists did before it hit. Fischel did not waver in his faith in G-d, and was rewarded for this faith.


Fischel, Harry, Continuation of My Biography (autobiographical), “Forty Years of Struggle for a Principle” 1928—1941 (per title page); a/k/a  Continuation of Biography of Harry Fischel… (per cover),  Unpublished, 1941.

Goldstein, Herbert S., Forty Years of Struggle for a Principle (1928), Bloch Publishing: New York.

Levine, Yitzchok, “The Multimillionaire Who Remained True to Orthodoxy,” The Jewish Press, April 19, 2006 (front and last page).

Levine, Yitzchok, “Harry Fischel (1865—1948) Orthodox Jewish Philanthropist – [Part] I,” The Jewish Press, May 3, 2006, p. 36.

Levine, Yitzchok, “Harry Fischel (1865—1948) “Orthodox Jewish Philanthropist Par Excellence – [Part] II,” The Jewish Press, June 1, 2006. p. 70.

Levine, Yitzchok, “The Founding of Yeshiva Etz Chaim,” The Jewish Press, May 2, 2008, pp. 48, 49.

Ophir (formerly Offenbacher), Natan, “Rav Kook and Dr. Revel: A Shared Vision for a Central Universal Yeshiva?” The Torah u-Madda Journal, 15/2008-09, 188—208.

Pfeffer, J., ed. Distinguished Jews of America (New York) 1917, pp. 126—130.

Reichel, Aaron I., The Maverick Rabbi. (Norfolk: Donning, 1984; 1986).

Reichel, Aaron I., “Pioneers of American Orthodoxy: Mr. Harry Fischel and Rabbi Herbert S. Goldstein, The Commentator (April 18, 2005). Significantly revised and supplemented in:

Reichel, Aaron I., “Pioneers of American Orthodoxy: Mr. Harry Fischel and Rabbi Herbert S. Goldstein,” in My Yeshiva College: 75 Years of Memories, Menachem Butler and Zev Nagel, eds. (Yashar Books, 2006), 114—117.