Rebecca Schweitzer’s generosity helped underwrite early, important projects throughout Palestine and inspired others to give what they could. Born Vera Garbovitsky, Schweitzer married Peter Schweitzer at age eighteen and immigrated to America in 1904. There, her husband created what became the largest importer and exporter of cigarette paper in America. The couple, both passionate Zionists, supported Hadassah to build the first hospital in Tiberias in 1921. Schweitzer also contributed to Keren Hayesod (later named United Israel Appeal) and helped inspire their 1920 Jewel Campaign, where women of lesser means could contribute their jewelry. She was principal shareholder in the Palestine Development Council, which funded major projects throughout Palestine. In 1925 she became president of the Home for the Daughters of Jacob and founding president of the New York chapter of the Palestine Lighthouse for the Blind. She was a charter member of the American Friends to the Jewish Blind of Palestine. She also funded charitable projects in France, where several of her husband’s factories were housed, and in 1926 the French government awarded her a knighthood in the Legion of Honor.
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Jewish Women's Archive. "Rebecca Schweitzer." (Viewed on January 23, 2021) <https://jwa.org/people/schweitzer-rebecca>.