Homeless survivor wills $100,000 to Hebrew U.

New Yorker spent last months of life helping man avoid parking tickets.

homeless woman 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
homeless woman 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A homeless, anonymous Holocaust survivor from New York who passed away recently at the age of 92 left $100,000 to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, even though she had no known connection to the institution. She left another $100,000 to her last employer. According to a Hebrew University spokesman, the Jewish woman, who had been living out of a shopping cart in Manhattan, apparently had no surviving relatives. Almost nothing is known about the woman except the unusual story of her employment during the last months of her life. A man apparently unaware of her background and her advanced age offered her a business proposition: She would help him avoid getting parking tickets in Manhattan, and he would give her food and a bed. "She moved his car in Manhattan from one place to another, and he gave her a room to sleep in and a hot meal once a day," said Carmi Gilon, vice president of external relations at the university. The man, who was Jewish, and his wife knew little about the elderly woman, who was surprisingly capable at her advanced age of maneuvering the car around the packed streets of Manhattan and out of the way of ticket-writing policemen. Gilon said the couple had been amused when the woman informed them that because of their generosity she would leave them all of her property when she passed away. They figured she had no money. But after the woman died, the couple received a phone call from a lawyer who informed them they were the beneficiaries of $100,000. The deceased woman's will also stipulated that another $100,000 be given to the university. Gilon said that the university had no known connection with the woman, and had been surprised by the donation. "Two days ago the woman's representative came to my office in Jerusalem and gave me a check for the money," said Gilon. "She had never visited Israel and had never been in any contact with Hebrew University or with our office in New York. We cannot understand why someone who has $200,000 chooses to live homeless." The woman did not stipulate in her will how the donated money should be spent, but Gilon said the university would probably use it to establish a scholarship for low-income students. "Every year, at least three or four students can enjoy this money, and I believe that such a lady would love to know this. We won't use the money for the regular budget," Gilon said.