Oct 23, 2008
Chabad Donor Ben Weider OBM
Ben Weider receiving an award from California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger * by Isaac Hinds

Ben Weider, pioneer in the bodybuilding industry and donor to Lubavitch causes in Canada, passed away suddenly at the age of 85. The building of Bais Chaya Mushka Seminary and the Yeshiva Zal are named after him. "He was always interested in yiddishkeit," his friend Rabbi Avraham Cohen told COLlive

By Binyomin Weiss, COLlive

Ben Weider, Jewish-Canadian businessman well-known in two areas: Bodybuilding and Napoleonic history, passed away suddenly on October 17 in Montreal, city of his birth and lifelong home. He was 85 years old.

In his more than sixty years of involvement in bodybuilding, as Founding President of the International Brotherhood of Body Builders (I.F.B.B.), Mr. Weider worked in close association with his older brother Joe Weider, an iconic figure known as the Father of Modern Bodybuilding.

Montreal, where he was a very well-known figure, has such testaments to his philanthropy as the Ben Weider Jewish Community Center and two Lubavitch institutions - Bais Chaya Mushka Seminary and Rabbinical College of Quebec-Yeshiva Zal headed by Rabbi Leibel Kaplan.

"He used to tell me, 'Judaism won't continue because of people like me, but because of people like you,'" recalls Rabbi Avraham Cohen, executive director of the seminary who visited Weider every Friday.

Weider frequently attended Shabbos and Pesach meals at the Cohen residence in the Snowdon neighborhood, where he enjoyed experiencing authentic Jewish tradition.

"He was a very private person," Cohen added in a phone conversation with COLlive. "He has achieved a lot in the secular and Jewish worlds and his passing is a very big loss to the Jewish community."

Weider’s Jewish connection dates back to his humble upbringing in Montreal’s old Jewish immigrant quarter, known as "The Main."

Ben was the third son of Louis and Anna Weider, immigrants from Poland. He, like his older brother Joe, had to drop out of school at the end of the seventh grade to help support the family, which was hit hard by the Great Depression of the 1930s. Young Ben took jobs in garment sweatshops and restaurants before enlisting in the Canadian Army and serving during World War II. After Ben left the Army, then-overt anti-Semitism kept him out of entry-level positions in Montreal architecture firms, his dream career path at the time.

While he sought work, he pitched in to help his brother Joe, a passionate believer in bodybuilding, who published a physique magazine and operated a mail-order business in weights and exercise gear.

"He was always interested in yiddishkeit," Cohen added. While Weider never got to meet Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, he would frequently write notes asking for blessings and send it with Cohen when he departed to New York.

As every year, the Cohen family expected him at their Sukkah this year.



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Ben Weider’s first visit to the Great Pyramids and Sphinx of Giza, 1947
Ben Weider’s first visit to the Great Pyramids and Sphinx of Giza, 1947
Eric, Joe and Ben Weider - "Keepers of the Fitness Flame" from the cover of the March 2000 Montreal Business Magazine * by Laszlo
Eric, Joe and Ben Weider - "Keepers of the Fitness Flame" from the cover of the March 2000 Montreal Business Magazine * by Laszlo
Wider with Rabbi Avraham Cohen
Wider with Rabbi Avraham Cohen


Opinions and Comments
1
Boruch dayan hoEmes
He will be missed.
(10/23/2008 6:42:38 PM)
2
A VERY GOOD MAN!!!!
(10/23/2008 7:49:31 PM)
3
Boruch dayan hoEmes
Ben Wieder loved chabad,
and was always ready to help another jew
(10/23/2008 7:39:01 PM)
4
Pictures
You missed the famous picture of Weider with Arafat, taken in Rammalah in the heights of the Intifida.
(10/27/2008 12:31:22 PM)
5
T0 4 & 5
ENOUGH U IDIOTS! THE GUY NEBACH DIED! CONCENTRATE ON THE GOOD THAT HE DID IN HIS LIFE
(WHICH IS A TON) NOT THE NO-GOOD!
MAY G-D BLESS U GUYS, THAT U SHOULD HELP AS MUCH PEOPLE AS HE DID, AND ALWAYS FIND THE GOOD IN A PERSON AND STOP LOOKING AT PEOPLE WITH A BAD EYE!
(10/27/2008 7:06:38 PM)
6
Ben Weider meeting with Arafat in June 1999
click here and see for yourself

http://www.ifbb.com/reports/IronDiplomacy.html
(10/31/2008 11:24:15 AM)
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