views updated


SOURASKY , Mexican family of industrialists, bankers, philanthropists, community leaders, and active Zionists, originally from Bialystok, Poland, from where the family emigrated in 1909. In 1917 the brothers leÓn (1889–1966), jaime (1894–1962), and elÍas (1899–1986) settled in Mexico. Each of them acted independently in many areas of general and Jewish community life in Mexico: assistance to the needy, institutional organization, Zionist activity, promotion of excellence in scientific research and education, promotion of Jewish and Hebrew education, defense against antisemitic attacks. They were also very active in the political and material support of the Zionist idea, and the establishment of the national Jewish homeland in Ereẓ Israel, the establishment of the State of Israel during the War of Independence and its strengthening afterwards. Many general and Jewish institutions in Mexico and Israel were supported by them and subsequently named after them. They also instituted many prestigious prizes in Israel and Mexico. In 1968 Elías Sourasky received from the Mexican government the "Águila Azteca," the highest decoration Mexico awards foreigners.

[Efraim Zadoff (2nd ed.)]