What the rich list doesn't tell you

By Anna Sheinman
April 25, 2013

Anita Zabludowicz and her husband Poju may now be number 48 on the rich list, but perhaps more excitingly in December 1973 Anita was one of three girls presented with an Eshet Chayil certificate at the Gosforth and Kenton Synagogue for passing the examinations of the Hebrew Classes of the United Hebrew Congregation of Newcastle, set by the headmaster Rabbi M M Baddiel.

Many know that Laurence Graff (31) began his work in the diamond industry as a diamond mounter in Hatton Garden aged 15. What only the JC archives remember is that in 1969 Laurence Graff (Jewellery Creations) Ltd. had almost completed their marketing plans for 1970 and were looking for “an above average Sales Executive, 30-50 years of age” to “help them complete their plans”.

Mark Pears and his brothers Trevor and David (36) grew up in Hendon and run the William Pears Group, named after the grocery business run by their grandfather Bernard, who changed his name from Schleicher on emigrating from Austria. In 1987 the wedding of Mark and Debra Groves at Marble Arch Synagogue was reported in the JC.

In 1984, Trevor Pears was on a team awarded most noteworthy event of the year by the Younger Jewish National Fund. That event was an “Any Questions” evening which we reported as “attended by dignitaries from the world of politics and commerce”.

He is not the only brother known for his philanthropy. In 1985, youngest brother David Pears, then a pupil at City of London was one of the pupils presenting a cheque for £21,000 to a multiple sclerosis charity. He then went on to be chairman of Young Jewish Care.

The Reuben brothers (number 8) are Iraqi Jews, who were born in Bombay, and moved back to Britain for secondary school, which Simon never finished.

Bernard Lewis’s Lewis Trust Group (60), which owns fashion chain River Island, began in 1948 in Hackney as women’s store Lewis. He is known to staff as “Mr Bernard” and calls the next generation of Lewises who work in the group “G2”.

Philip Green (17) went to the now closed Jewish boarding school Carmel College, but left at 16 with no qualifications.

Benzion Freshwater and family (90) are well known as Orthodox Jewish businessmen, the JC previously reported on the services held in the boardroom lead by Benzion’s father Osias. What fewer people know is that Benzion’s son Shlomo Yisrael became Rabbi of the Sassover Finchley Road Synagogue in 2003.

Lord Sugar (98) was in the Jewish Lads Brigade.

The arrival of media tycoon Richard Desmond (98) into the world was fittingly announced in a newspaper: “DESMOND – A son (Richard Clive) was born on December 8 at Queen Mary’s Maternity Home, Hampstead Heath to Millie (nee Harris) wife of Cyril Desmond. (A brother for Gerald and Janet)”

Eduard Shifrin (126), the Rich List will tell you is a former steel trader worth £700m. What it fails to mention is he is vice president of World Jewish Congress and was born in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, the location of world’s largest Jewish centre, which opened in October.

And finally, as a law student at UCL in the 1950s, lawyer and sportswear businessman Stephen Rubin (72) was the twice elected Chairman of the Younger Technion Society.


You must be logged in to post a comment.