Esther ZiskindWeltman

1901 – 1994

by Nanette Stahl

Trustee and philanthropist Esther Ziskind Weltman was instrumental in giving shape and focus to Jewish philanthropy in the United States in the post–World War II years. As a trustee of the Jacob Ziskind Trust, she oversaw the contribution of buildings and funds to major Jewish institutions both in the United States and Israel.

Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, on June 21, 1901, she was one of six children of Rose (Elkin) and David Ziskind, Lithuanian Jews who had immigrated to the United States in 1898. She graduated from Smith College in 1922 and the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1924. After her marriage to Sol Weltman, she lived in Springfield, Massachusetts, where she was a founder of the National Council of Jewish Women’s Springfield Scholarship Clearing House. She was also a charter trustee of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education and served at one time or another on the boards of twelve colleges in Massachusetts. She had a daughter, Elienne (Squire), and a son, David.

In 1951, she became a trustee of the Jacob Ziskind Trust for Charitable Purposes, created by her brother at his death. Under her leadership, the trust established buildings at the Weizmann Institute and the Technion in Israel, and buildings named after her brother at Smith College and the New England Medical Center. The trust also endowed programs at Brandeis University, Brown University, Colby College, the Jewish Theological Seminary, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and Yale University. In 1976, Weltman was awarded the Smith College Medal for her leadership in supporting higher education. She received a degree of honorary doctor of laws from Colby College.

Esther Ziskind Weltman died on April 30, 1994.


Weltman, David L. Letter to author, 1996.


Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

How to cite this page

Stahl, Nanette. "Esther Ziskind Weltman." Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. 27 February 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on September 19, 2019) <>.


Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

The JWA Podcast

Can We Talk?

listen now

Get JWA in your inbox