Sieff, Israel Moses, Baron

(1889–1972)
   British merchant and Zionist. Israel Sieff was the son of an immigrant family from Lithuania that had settled in Manchester. He took a degree in commerce and entered his father’s textile importing firm. In 1915 his former schoolmate Simon MARKS invited him to join Marks and Spencer. For the next half-century, the two men formed a harmonious and brilliant team that revolutionized the retailing business. They were also double brothers-in-law, having married each other’s sisters. Their personalities complimented each other - where Marks was the driving and at times exacting innovator, Sieff was calm and perceptive. After Marks’s death in 1964, Sieff succeeded him as president of the company. When he died, ‘M & S’ remained a family concern, with his younger brother Edward (b. 1905) as president and his son Sir Marcus (b. 1913) as chairman. From 1913, Sieff and Marks, together with another brother-in-law Harry SACHER, were disciples and aides of the Zionist Dr Chaim WEIZMANN, then a lecturer in chemistry at Manchester University. Weizmann described them as energetic, buoyant and practical. ‘They were not hampered by ancient Zionist dissensions, nor were their lives scarred by recollections of persecution.’ In 1918 Sieff went to Palestine as secretary of the Zionist Commission headed by Weizmann. After the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, he returned there with his wife Rebecca (Becky) for eighteen months. In 1934, Israel and Becky SIEFF established the Daniel Sieff Research Institute in Rehovot in memory of a son who had died young. Out of this nucleus grew the worldfamous Weizmann Institute of Science.
   Sieff’s Jewish commitment extended into many fields. He was president of the British Zionist Federation, chairman of the British section of the World Jewish Congress, and a patron of Jewish education. Probably his proudest distinction, and the one which moved him most, was when he was made a freeman of the city of Jerusalem in 1969, the first non-Israeli to be given this honour. By that time he was the acknowledged elder statesman of Anglo-Jewry, and a respected figure throughout the Jewish world.
   One of Sieff’s contributions to British life was through Political and Economic Planning (PEP), a voluntary, non-profit-making and non-party research group born out of the depression years. He became its chairman in 1931, and brought to bear on its work his wide business experience and contacts, and his own special quality of pragmatic optimism. It exercised a stimulating influence through discussion panels, mixed study groups and papers on specific industries. Sieff was given a life peerage in 1966. His memoirs, published in 1970, reveal him as a warm and sagacious man with wide interests, a talent for friendship and a zest for life.

Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament. . 2012.

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  • Israel Sieff, Baron Sieff — Israel Moses Sieff, Baron Sieff (4 May 1889 – 14 February 1972) was a British businessman. He was educated at Manchester Grammar School and Manchester University. One of the theatres at the Manchester Grammar School is named in his honour.Sieff… …   Wikipedia

  • Israel Sieff — Israel Moses Sieff (4 mai 1889 – 14 février 1972), baron Sieff, fut un homme d affaires et pair britannique à vie avec le rang de baron. Biographie Sieff était le PDG de Marks Spencer de 1964 à 1967. En 1966, il fut créé pair… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • MARKS, SIMON, BARON — (1888–1964), British businessman, philanthropist, and Zionist. Born in Leeds, Simon Marks was the son of Michael Marks, who emigrated in 1882 from Russia to the U.K. where he began as a peddler. In 1884 he opened a market stall in Leeds and later …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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  • List of British Jews — is a list that includes Jewish people from the United Kingdom and its predecessor states.Although the first Jews may have arrived on the island of Great Britain with the Romans, it wasn t until the Norman Conquest of William the Conqueror in 1066 …   Wikipedia

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