“Weizmann was never introduced to us,” says Linda Schoenheimer McCurdy. “It was always present in our lives, just as philanthropy was always present.”

For Linda and her sister, Joyce Schoenheimer Oleshansky, supporting the Weizmann Institute was “a given,” thanks to their father, the late Pierre Schoenheimer. A visionary leader and generous friend of the Institute, Pierre was a member of the American Committee’s National Board, the Institute’s International Board, and the prestigious President’s Circle.

The family’s legacy at Weizmann began with Pierre’s parents, Ellen and Fritz Schoenheimer, who fled worn-torn Europe in 1941 and emigrated to the United States. Pierre, who was born in France, was eight years old at the time and had narrowly survived, after being critically wounded in a German bombing south of Paris.

Honoring Genius

The family settled in New York, where Fritz’s brother, the pioneering biochemist Rudolf Schoenheimer, had joined the faculty of Columbia University. Rudolf’s groundbreaking discoveries made it possible, for the first time, to trace the paths of organic substances through animals and plants, revolutionizing metabolic studies. Sadly, Rudolf passed away at the age of 43. Had he lived, he was believed to be a contender for the Nobel Prize.

“My grandfather felt strongly about honoring Rudolf’s memory and his contributions to science,” Joyce explains.

In 1968, the family established the Rudolf Schoenheimer Memorial Scholarship at the Weizmann Institute. The scholarship supports PhD students in the life sciences at Weizmann’s Feinberg Graduate School.

“Aside from philanthropy and community, an equally strong value in our family was education,” Joyce adds. “For Fritz, this scholarship was a way to pay tribute to Rudi and support future scientists who have the potential to help the whole world. Having gone through the war, he was also motivated to support an institution in Israel.”

A Family Tradition

Inspired by his parents’ example, Pierre Schoenheimer not only continued the family’s philanthropic commitment, but deepened it. Described by loved ones as an entrepreneur and “tour de force,” he became highly successful in the business world, founding the Radix Organization, a private investment banking firm, among other ventures. Throughout his storied career, he believed in the importance of giving back, supporting a wide range of Jewish and educational causes.

Pierre Schoenheimer.JPG

On the Weizmann campus, Pierre Schoenheimer stands by a monument to German Jewish scientists who were persecuted by the Nazis, including his uncle, Rudolf Schoenheimer.

“On every birthday, my father made a toast acknowledging how grateful he was to be in the United States,” Joyce recalls. “From his parents, he learned that being involved in his community was a privilege and an obligation. And from his Jewish faith, he embraced the value of tikkun olam—the moral imperative to improve the lives of those who were less fortunate.” 

At Weizmann, Pierre became a beloved leader, known for his wry sense of humor and his ability to take younger supporters “under his wing.” His daughters recalled that he regularly spoke to colleagues and friends about the Institute, encouraging others to join him in advancing science for the benefit of humanity.

He also ensured that his children had the opportunity to experience the Institute firsthand. Linda and Joyce remembered touring the campus for the first time when they were still in elementary school, following their brother Daniel’s bar mitzvah.

“We saw the plaque with our great-uncle Rudi’s name on it,” Joyce recalls. “For us, Weizmann was always revered in a way.”

For us, Weizmann was always revered in a way.

Later, the family’s support of the Institute became even more personal. Pierre established the Schoenheimer Foundation Endowed Fund for Multiple Sclerosis after Linda was diagnosed with the disease.

Linda recalls a dinner her father arranged with her neurologist in New York and Prof. Ruth Arnon, the trailblazing Weizmann biochemist whose research led to the development of the frontline multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone®.

“Seeing that there was someone at Weizmann who had done something that directly impacted me and others with MS was a very strong reason to get involved,” Linda says.

She soon began attending American Committee events in New York, where she lives and works as a financial advisor. “I would come home from every one of those talks amazed by what these scientists and students were doing,” she says. “They were such wonderful ambassadors for Weizmann, for science, and for education. Their enthusiasm was contagious.”

Joyce Schoenheimer.jpg

Joyce Schoenheimer Oleshansky (center) at Weizmann House in 2015.

Joyce, now a psychologist in Honolulu, also developed her own connection, visiting campus with her family in 2008 after her son’s bar mitzvah and participating in an American Committee mission in 2015. She will return to the Institute this November during the International Board meeting.

“Being on campus is wonderful,” she says. “It provides continuity with a part of our family that is very vibrant.”

Inspiring the Next Generation

Like their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, Linda and Joyce’s children also feel a deep sense of connection. “It was my father who passed on his love of Weizmann to the grandchildren,” Linda explains.

Joyce adds, “The kids were all devoted to Pierre, and they understand that we, as a family, will stay involved.” Her son Jacob visited campus in 2013 while he was in Israel on a Birthright trip.

Jacob Schoenheimer.jpg

Jacob Oleshansky (right) at the Levinson Visitors Center.

She notes that the family’s partnership with the Institute over the years has been one of mutual respect and appreciation: “We cherish Weizmann and Weizmann, in return, cherishes us. This is what deepened Pierre’s involvement and allowed for multigenerational potential.”

We cherish Weizmann and Weizmann, in return, cherishes us.

Today, through the Schoenheimer Foundation, Linda and Joyce continue to support the scholarship fund that honors their great-uncle. They enjoy learning about the outstanding PhD students who benefit from their generosity and who are poised to become leaders in their chosen fields.

“By advancing young scientists who are training at one of the most prestigious and excellent institutes in the world, our giving is magnified a thousand-fold,” Joyce explains.

Channeling the man who served as her greatest role model, she puts it another way: “How can we not support a place like Weizmann?”

The Schoenheimer Family: 50 Years of Philanthropy

TAGS: Community, Leadership, Philanthropy

“Weizmann was never introduced to us,” says Linda Schoenheimer McCurdy. “It was always present in our lives, just as philanthropy was always present.”

For Linda and her sister, Joyce Schoenheimer Oleshansky, supporting the Weizmann Institute was “a given,” thanks to their father, the late Pierre Schoenheimer. A visionary leader and generous friend of the Institute, Pierre was a member of the American Committee’s National Board, the Institute’s International Board, and the prestigious President’s Circle.

The family’s legacy at Weizmann began with Pierre’s parents, Ellen and Fritz Schoenheimer, who fled worn-torn Europe in 1941 and emigrated to the United States. Pierre, who was born in France, was eight years old at the time and had narrowly survived, after being critically wounded in a German bombing south of Paris.

Honoring Genius

The family settled in New York, where Fritz’s brother, the pioneering biochemist Rudolf Schoenheimer, had joined the faculty of Columbia University. Rudolf’s groundbreaking discoveries made it possible, for the first time, to trace the paths of organic substances through animals and plants, revolutionizing metabolic studies. Sadly, Rudolf passed away at the age of 43. Had he lived, he was believed to be a contender for the Nobel Prize.

“My grandfather felt strongly about honoring Rudolf’s memory and his contributions to science,” Joyce explains.

In 1968, the family established the Rudolf Schoenheimer Memorial Scholarship at the Weizmann Institute. The scholarship supports PhD students in the life sciences at Weizmann’s Feinberg Graduate School.

“Aside from philanthropy and community, an equally strong value in our family was education,” Joyce adds. “For Fritz, this scholarship was a way to pay tribute to Rudi and support future scientists who have the potential to help the whole world. Having gone through the war, he was also motivated to support an institution in Israel.”

A Family Tradition

Inspired by his parents’ example, Pierre Schoenheimer not only continued the family’s philanthropic commitment, but deepened it. Described by loved ones as an entrepreneur and “tour de force,” he became highly successful in the business world, founding the Radix Organization, a private investment banking firm, among other ventures. Throughout his storied career, he believed in the importance of giving back, supporting a wide range of Jewish and educational causes.

Pierre Schoenheimer.JPG

On the Weizmann campus, Pierre Schoenheimer stands by a monument to German Jewish scientists who were persecuted by the Nazis, including his uncle, Rudolf Schoenheimer.

“On every birthday, my father made a toast acknowledging how grateful he was to be in the United States,” Joyce recalls. “From his parents, he learned that being involved in his community was a privilege and an obligation. And from his Jewish faith, he embraced the value of tikkun olam—the moral imperative to improve the lives of those who were less fortunate.” 

At Weizmann, Pierre became a beloved leader, known for his wry sense of humor and his ability to take younger supporters “under his wing.” His daughters recalled that he regularly spoke to colleagues and friends about the Institute, encouraging others to join him in advancing science for the benefit of humanity.

He also ensured that his children had the opportunity to experience the Institute firsthand. Linda and Joyce remembered touring the campus for the first time when they were still in elementary school, following their brother Daniel’s bar mitzvah.

“We saw the plaque with our great-uncle Rudi’s name on it,” Joyce recalls. “For us, Weizmann was always revered in a way.”

For us, Weizmann was always revered in a way.

Later, the family’s support of the Institute became even more personal. Pierre established the Schoenheimer Foundation Endowed Fund for Multiple Sclerosis after Linda was diagnosed with the disease.

Linda recalls a dinner her father arranged with her neurologist in New York and Prof. Ruth Arnon, the trailblazing Weizmann biochemist whose research led to the development of the frontline multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone®.

“Seeing that there was someone at Weizmann who had done something that directly impacted me and others with MS was a very strong reason to get involved,” Linda says.

She soon began attending American Committee events in New York, where she lives and works as a financial advisor. “I would come home from every one of those talks amazed by what these scientists and students were doing,” she says. “They were such wonderful ambassadors for Weizmann, for science, and for education. Their enthusiasm was contagious.”

Joyce Schoenheimer.jpg

Joyce Schoenheimer Oleshansky (center) at Weizmann House in 2015.

Joyce, now a psychologist in Honolulu, also developed her own connection, visiting campus with her family in 2008 after her son’s bar mitzvah and participating in an American Committee mission in 2015. She will return to the Institute this November during the International Board meeting.

“Being on campus is wonderful,” she says. “It provides continuity with a part of our family that is very vibrant.”

Inspiring the Next Generation

Like their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, Linda and Joyce’s children also feel a deep sense of connection. “It was my father who passed on his love of Weizmann to the grandchildren,” Linda explains.

Joyce adds, “The kids were all devoted to Pierre, and they understand that we, as a family, will stay involved.” Her son Jacob visited campus in 2013 while he was in Israel on a Birthright trip.

Jacob Schoenheimer.jpg

Jacob Oleshansky (right) at the Levinson Visitors Center.

She notes that the family’s partnership with the Institute over the years has been one of mutual respect and appreciation: “We cherish Weizmann and Weizmann, in return, cherishes us. This is what deepened Pierre’s involvement and allowed for multigenerational potential.”

We cherish Weizmann and Weizmann, in return, cherishes us.

Today, through the Schoenheimer Foundation, Linda and Joyce continue to support the scholarship fund that honors their great-uncle. They enjoy learning about the outstanding PhD students who benefit from their generosity and who are poised to become leaders in their chosen fields.

“By advancing young scientists who are training at one of the most prestigious and excellent institutes in the world, our giving is magnified a thousand-fold,” Joyce explains.

Channeling the man who served as her greatest role model, she puts it another way: “How can we not support a place like Weizmann?”