Born in New York City in 1928, Irving Moskowitz was the ninth of thirteen children to parents who came to the US from Poland. His extended family suffered the loss of 120 members during the Holocaust. The family left New York when Irving was still a child, heading west to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. There he went to medical school and after earning his MD, moved to Los Angeles.
Moskowitz built a successful medical practice in Southern California, but soon found a talent for real estate, becoming wealthy in the business.
In 1967 Ben Gurion, the famed retired Prime Minister of Israel, wrote to Moskowitz, and others, to help Israel settle the newly liberated areas, saying in the letter that: “”We need more Jews in the liberated territories.”
Moskowitz became the local president of the California branch of a nationwide group called the Zionist Organization of America. In his capacity as president of the local ZOA he committed to helping Israel strengthen its sovereignty over Jerusalem, which had been united during the Six Day War of 1967. He encouraged and supported Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem.
He launched the Moskowitz Foundation in 1968, dedicated to improving and enriching the lives of people based on the idea that, “’He who has saved one life, it is as if he has saved the world.”
In 1980 Moskowitz moved to Miami Beach, where he continued to support his many causes on behalf of Israel. He was a key supporter of the Ir David Foundation and Ateret Cohanim, two organizations that help Jews move to neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.
In 2008 he and his wife Cherna created the Moskowitz Prize for Zionism, “as an expression of support for people who put Zionism into action in today’s Israeli society, acting for the benefit of the common good in order to ensure the strength and resilience of the national Jewish homeland.”
At the age of 88, Irving Moskowitz passed away, and was buried in his beloved Jerusalem, in June, 2016.