October 09, 2007

Today in Jewish History - Tishrei 27

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In 1927, the Israeli city of Netanya was founded on a plot of empty land. Netanya has since grown to become the fourth-largest city in Israel, with a population of 165,000. Netanya has one of the most beautiful stretches of beach in Israel, with white sands and inviting waters. Netanya was named for Nathan Straus (1848-1931), an American merchant and philanthropist. Straus was a co-owner of R.H. Macy & Co., yet he never amassed personal wealth because he was always using his money to help people. For example, in New York's winter of 1893, he gave away more than two million five-cent tickets good for coal, food or lodging. His greatest devotion, however, was to Israel. He gave more than two-thirds of his fortune and devoted the last 15 years of his life to this cause.