Sampson Simson

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Sampson Simson (born 1780, died 1857) was an American philanthropist most remembered as "the father of Mount Sinai Hospital" and as benefactor, posthumously, to the North American Relief Society for Indigent Jews in Jerusalem, Israel.[1][2]


Simson was born in Danbury, Connecticut. He studied under Aaron Burr, attended Columbia University in New York City, and graduated in 1800 with a degree in law, becoming one of the first Jewish lawyers in New York City.[3]

After a few years practice, however, Simson abandoned his law career and retired to his Yonkers farm to devote himself to charitable work. Described as a very pious man with a "New England conscience", a combination of a "public-spirited citizen" and "conformist Jew", Simson received great pleasure from his charitable contributions, be they to a Catholic church, a Protestant church or a synagogue.[2]

From 1825 until 1832, Simson served as Grand Commander of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry (Northern Jurisdiction).[4]

In 1852, Simson, along with eight other men representing various Hebrew charitable organizations, came together to establish the "Jew's Hospital", the institution that eventually (in 1866) became Mount Sinai Hospital. Its location, West 28th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues in New York City, was on land donated by Simson; he served the first president of its board of directors and personally assumed many of the young hospital's financial burdens.[5] "The Jew's Hospital" opened two years before his death.

That same year, Simson joined Samuel Myer Isaacs and Adolphus Simeon Solomons to help found the Beth Hamedrash Hagodol.[3]


Simson's estate bequeathed large sums of money to Jewish and general institutions, including $50,000 that, after the death of a nephew, should be paid "to any responsible corporation in this city whose permanent fund is established by its charter for the purpose of ameliorating the condition of the Jews in Jerusalem, Palestine." In 1888, the New York State Supreme Court decided that the sum, plus 30 years' interest, was to be paid to the North American Relief Society for Indigent Jews in Jerusalem.[6]

Mount Sinai Hospital was recently ranked as one of the best hospitals in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.[7]


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