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‘Truly remarkable’ letter from David Ben-Gurion proves rare wedding gift

David Schuman’s grandmother had received the letter in Minneapolis, sent by the former Israeli prime minister in 1965.

A letter from David Ben-Gurion to Jean Grossman, who died at the age of 91 in 2019. Credit: Courtesy of David Schuman.

A former Americans for Ben-Gurion University fellow has shared a letter his grandmother received from David Ben-Gurion in 1965, two years after the latter had served his second tenure as Israeli prime minister.

“Knowing that my grandma had a personal exchange with such an iconic Israeli figure was truly remarkable,” said David Schuman, who was part of the A4BGU Zin Fellows Leadership Program.

Schuman received the letter as a wedding gift from his aunt. His grandmother, Jean Grossman, who died at the age of 91 in 2019, had been “a noted philanthropist and a pillar of the Jewish community in Scottsdale [and] Phoenix, Arizona,” according to Americans for Ben-Gurion University.

In the letter, which seems to be dated Aug. 22, 1965, the Israeli founding father and former premier wrote from Tel Aviv: “Dear Mrs. Harold I Grossman, I am glad to know that your nephew followed your advice and is coming to Israel as a teacher. He should apply to the Ministry of Education; I will also be glad to see him. Yours sincerely, D. Ben Gurion.”

The address for Schuman’s grandmother was in Minneapolis.

“I was beyond thrilled to receive it as a wedding gift. I had a vague recollection of its existence, but it was almost like family folklore,” Schuman said. “It helped to bridge the gap between generations and connected me to the very roots of the institution I had grown to love. It deepened my appreciation for the visionary leader who played a pivotal role in shaping the university’s values and mission.”

He added that “my grandmother told me many times that Ben-Gurion was one of the best leaders of her lifetime.”

A letter from David Ben-Gurion to Jean Grossman, who died at the age of 91 in 2019. Credit: Courtesy of David Schuman.
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