Baroness Bat Sheva de Rothschild

Baroness Bat Sheva de Rothschild (September 23, 1914 - April 20, 1999) was a scion of the renowned Rothschild family and a significant patron of the arts, notably dance. It was through her support that I acquired my very first computer. She was an extraordinary woman, a staunch Zionist, and a silent benefactor on a grand scale.

Biographical Overview

Bat Sheva de Rothschild was the great-granddaughter of James Mayer Rothschild (1792-1868) and the youngest daughter of Baron and Baroness Édouard and Alice de Rothschild. Her father managed the family bank in France alongside his cousin, Robert de Rothschild. Born in London, she was educated in Paris, France, and earned her undergraduate degree in biology in the suburbs of Paris.

She later worked at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. In 1940, in the midst of World War II, she left for New York with her family and pursued science studies at Columbia University. Subsequently, she enlisted in the Free French Forces in New York.

She later stationed in London and was deployed with the Allied forces in Normandy, participating in the liberation of the city of Paris. There, she served as a liaison officer between the French and American armies. Following the war, she returned to New York, where she began studying dance at the Martha Graham School. From 1948 to 1951, she was married to Donald Bloomfield.

Her Journey to Israel

In 1951, she visited Israel for the first time, and in 1962, she made Aliyah (immigrated) and settled there permanently. She established the dance group "Bat Sheva" and supported it with financial contributions over the years. In 1965, she founded, along with Jean Erdman, a dance school and later the "Bat Dor" dance troupe.

Beyond her philanthropic activities in the field of dance, de Rothschild established two foundations to support science and technology. One of them, the Bat Sheva de Rothschild Foundation, was transferred to the management of the Israeli National Foundation for Sciences.

Some of the art collections inherited from her grandfather were sold by her to raise funds for charitable purposes, fetching record prices, including a Rembrandt painting that sold for $28.7 million. Her philanthropic endeavors earned her the Israel Prize in 1989 for her exceptional contributions to society and the nation.

Baroness de Rothschild passed away in Tel Aviv in 1999 after a prolonged illness and was laid to rest in the Yarkon Cemetery.

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