Jewish philanthropist Morton Mandel dies at 98

Jewish philanthropist Morton Mandel, who was well-known in Israel as well, passed away at his home in Florida.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Memorial candle
Memorial candle

Jewish philanthropist, entrepreneur and businessman Morton Mandel passed away on Wednesday at his home in Florida. He was 98.

Mandel was chairman and CEO of Parkwood Corporation in Cleveland. He was also chairman and CEO of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation.

Mandel was raised on Cleveland’s east side, where his parents, Simon and Rose Mandel, owned a dry goods store, reported the Cleveland Jewish News.

In 1940, the brothers, Joseph and Jack Mandel, formed Premier Industrial Corp., an automotive supply company that evolved into an electronics distribution powerhouse that in 2006 merged with the British firm Parnell Electronics to become Premier Farnell LLC.

The Parkwood Corp. website says that the Mandel brothers began donating modestly to charities in the late 1940s. As their business success increased, so did their giving.

In 1953, the brothers founded the Mandel Foundation (now named the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation), which supports civic and philanthropic activities in their various areas of interest. In 1990, the foundation launched the Mandel Foundation-Israel.

In 1939, Mort Mandel was awarded an academic scholarship to attend Case Western Reserve University, which was interrupted when he enlisted in the U.S. Army. While in the Army, he continued his studies at Pomona College in 1943 and the University of California at Berkeley in 1944. Mort completed his Bachelor’s Degree at Case Western Reserve University in 2013.

Since 1950, Mort Mandel has devoted a substantial amount of his time to philanthropy. He personally founded, or helped found, more than a dozen nonprofit organizations, including Cleveland Tomorrow and MidTown Cleveland. He served on the boards of many local and national nonprofit organizations, including serving as president of United Way Services in Cleveland.

He received numerous awards recognizing both his business acumen and his commitment to philanthropy, including the Distinguished Alumni Award from Case Western Reserve University; the Cleveland Heritage Medal; and the Presidential Award for Private Sector Initiatives presented by President Ronald Reagan.

He was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2011 and in 2016, he received their Scholar Patriot Award.

He received 12 honorary doctorates from universities including Case Western Reserve University, Brandeis University and Hebrew University.

Mandel was well-known to many Israelis because of his many donations to institutions across the country, a leadership institute named after him, and his book, which was translated into Hebrew and became a bestseller.

William Daroff, incoming CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, wrote on Twitter, “A great leader of the Jewish people has passed: Morton Mandel dies at age 98. May his memory forever be for a blessing.”

Dani Dayan, the Consul General of Israel in New York, tweeted, “Deeply saddened by the passing of Morton Mandel, a leader, a philanthropist whose contributions to the Jewish People and to the State of Israel are immeasurable.”

Yuval Rotem, Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel, wrote, “Morton Mandel was a visionary and leader who empowered others and made our world a better place. May his memory be a blessing.”

Mandel is survived by his wife, Barbara. They have three grown children and seven grandchildren.