Moti Zisser z”l and The Shopping Centers that Saved Lives

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The walls of the homes of Holocaust survivors often whisper: “Produce! Produce! Replace what was destroyed.” Moti Zisser z”l grew up in such a home and heeded the unsaid call. From a simple upbringing, he became a tycoon, branching out all over Israel and around the world. Giant ventures, huge shopping centers were the bricks of his world. Torah and chessed were its products.  Together with his wife, Bracha hbl’c, he established Ezer Mizion’s International Bone Marrow Donor Registry in Israel, which has already saved the lives of over 2,000 people.  He was one of the founders of Mer’orot Hadaf Hayomi and supported this tremendous enterprise all his life. Private individuals also knew how to reach his listening ear. Impoverished newlyweds often would find their needs well taken care of by a clandestine visit from a ‘mysterious angel’.   Some may say that his life ended in tragedy with his succumbing to cancer at age 60. But the word ‘tragedy’ can never describe a life that accomplished so much.

In the capital market world, Zisser will be remembered primarily thanks to his purchase of the Elbit Company into which he poured his real estate activity in Eastern Europe. The beginning of Zisser’s business career flowed partially from motivations of helping the chareidi public. In 1980, together with his cousin Pinchas Ehrenreich and the British Jewish businessman Zalman Margulis, he founded the “Kochav Hashomron” company, which developed the chareidi settlement of Emanuel in Shomron.

“They say of some people that they are ‘larger than life.’ Moti was not larger than life; he was life itself,” so Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, Rabbi of Tel Aviv-Yaffo began his eulogy of businessman Moti Zisser, who recently passed away. He was a big-hearted, visionary businessman, who has many great accomplishments chalked up to his merit. About twenty years ago, Zisser was diagnosed with cancer. From that point on, he and his wife, Dr. Bracha Zisser, began dedicating themselves help others who were experiencing the frightening horror which they themselves knew too well.  They founded Oranit under the auspices of Ezer Mizion. Oranit is a home for families with a member under treatment which enables the patient and his parents/children/siblings to remain together and to avoid tiring trips to treatment centers. In addition, it offers varied forms of therapy such as Music Therapy, Sand Therapy and even a Petting Zoo to better enable them to cope with the nightmare that has entered their lives.

They also founded Ezer Mizion’s  International Bone Marrow Donor Registry, at the cost of tens of millions of dollars. The Registry was established in response to the urgent need for a world Jewish registry.

In the meantime, Zisser recovered, but tragically, the cancer was to return after a long hiatus and attack Zisser with a vengeance. He benefited from a bone marrow donation from the very Registry that he had helped to establish. “Just as when a person opens a bank,” Moti had quipped, “Hashem sends him in the end to be a client of that bank, so I became the client of my own bank, and the banker herself took care of me,” he concluded, motioning towards his wife Bracha, who directs the Registry to this day.

After his death, Ezer Mizion, which benefited greatly from Zisser’s generous support, described him as “a true and precious partner in our journey, a man with a broad and loving heart, a man who epitomizes unremitting chessed and giving for the Klal and for each individual. Ezer Mizion has lost a beloved and very special friend, and we embrace his family at this difficult time. He has so many merits. Moti knew that when a person stands before the Heavenly Court, neither silver nor gold accompany him – just mitzvot and good deeds.”

One of his major life works was the Me’orot Hadaf Hayomi enterprise, which he founded together with Hagaon Rav Chaim David Kovalsky shilta.

“The death of Moti’s father, who passed away a few months before the idea came up, was the impetus for the decision to start an organization through which people, even those who are not connected to the chareidi world and have never opened a gemorah, could learn the daily daf every day,” explains Rav Chaim David.

“Moti wanted everyone to learn. Even on his sickbed, he was always concerned about it. He merited that thousands of Jews are learning Torah thanks to him. He was also instrumental in publishing the sfarim, V’tein Chelkeinu, which explain the Gemara in a reader-friendly form, making it accessible even to those who are not used to studying Gemara and reading Aramaic.

“He was the founding seed of the first shiur, in his father’s memory, and from there, everything developed and flourished. Thanks to him, we later established the beit midrash for maggidei shiurim, which trains learned avreichim to deliver shiurim on Daf Yomi throughout the country,” says Hagaon Rav Chaim David.

“From there it mushroomed into thousands of siyumei masechet, until it became a Torah enterprise of stunning proportions.” “Moti loved to give,” Hagaon Rav Chaim David continues, “whenever possible, and preferably without fanfare.”

His friend of many years, Attorney Chanoch Vinderbaum, speaks about the unique personality that characterized this many-sided businessman. “Beyond his being a successful tycoon, Moti was a model of utilizing one’s time. He made the most of every minute of his life. Some people live for 90 years and do not succeed in doing a fraction of what Moti did in only 60 years. That was Moti, always doing, always giving. “Moti was a meitiv, a doer of good. Good to his family, good to his friends, and good to everyone around him. Yehi zichro boruch.

{Matzav.com Israel News Bureau}

 

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