Nathan Straus: Jerusalem Health Center
Upon touring the Mediterranean in 1904, Nathan (1848-1931) and Lina Straus (1854-1930) stopped over in Palestine, expecting it to be but one stop of many. He wrote, "On reaching Jerusalem, we changed our plans. All that we saw in the Holy Land made such a deep impression on us that we gave up the idea of going to other places. Visiting the holy sights of which one hears and reads since childhood, watching the scenes in life as pictured in the Bible, was most soul-stirring. From that time on we felt a strange and intense desire to return to the land."
Nathan and Lina became staunch Zionists. He built soup kitchens for the aged and the blind and the physically disabled in 1917. He supported workrooms so that unskilled laborers could train for employment. He built health stations which ministered to the victims of malaria and trachoma. He believed strongly in palliative care. He provided $250,000 ($5 million today) for the establishment of the Jerusalem Health Center (pictured) and made possible the founding of a Pasteur Institute. He lent moral and material support to the farmers and colonists of Israel and labored in the interests of the Hebrew University. They began calling him "The Great Giver."
So great was the depth of Lina's commitment, she donated her jewelry to Hadassah in Palestine in 1918. It was valued at more than $18,000 ($306,000 today).
“Nathan Straus 1848-1931” Straus Historical Society Newsletter Vol. 6 No. 1 (New York: February 1998); pp. 4-8.
“Nathan Straus 1848-1931” Straus Historical Society Newsletter Vol. 6 No. 2 (New York: August 1998); pp. 4-7.
“Nathan Straus Pasteurized Milk Laboratory” Straus Historical Society Newsletter Vol. 4 No. 2 (New York: February 2002); pp. 4-9.
“Nathan Straus, Public Servant” Straus Historical Society Newsletter Vol. 4 No. 2 (New York: February 2003); pp. 4-8.
“The Nathan Straus Soup Kitchens in Palestine” Straus Historical Society Newsletter Vol. 16 No. 1 (New York: August 2014); pp. 1-5.
Source: The Straus Historical Society