By COLlive reporter
Most of the money donated to Chabad Houses and institutions around the world come in small amounts and by private individuals.
So the fact that the ranks of the world’s billionaires was slashed by 30% in 2008, does not have much of a direct effect.
However, some known names on Forbes magazine latest count of the world’s richest people are familiar to Chabad-Lubavitch.
Lev Leviev, a major contributor to Chabad in the Former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, was rated #468 on the list with a net worth of $1.5 billion.
“Born in Uzbekistan, his Lubavitcher Jewish family fled to Israel in 1971,” the magazine wrote. “Made his name undercutting De Beers diamond cartel, striking his own deals with diamond-producing countries like Russia and Angola.
“World’s largest cutter and polisher of diamonds is trying to hold his empire together. Selling select properties, acquired via his Tel Aviv-traded conglomerate, Africa Israel Investments, to meet debt obligations; stock down 84% over the past year. High end diamond business slowing as demand dries up; jewelry stores in Russia holding their own as Russians flock to gems because of unsteady banking sector.”
The Jewish Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg was positioned at #17, worth $16 billion. He has friends in Crown Heights but is not accustomed to donating to religious Jewish causes.
#35 on the list, Ronald Perelman, the New York Orthodox Jewish investor personally influenced by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, is worth $10 billion.
Perelman’s finances are stable, according to Forbes. Perelman’s spiritual teacher is Rabbi Avraham Shemtov of Philadelphia, Chairman of the umbrella organization for Chabad-Lubavitch.
#62 is Joseph Safra, Brazilian Jewish banker worth $7 billion, is friendly with local Shluchim Rabbi Shabsi Alpern and Rabbi David Weitman and has hosted in the past an evening saluting their work.
Safra’s fortune was hit by the global financial turmoil and large drop in the value of the Brazilian currency against the dollar.