Sol Linowitz passed away at 91. He deserves mention on Jewlicious after a lifetime of involvement in American public life as a confidant to Presidents, great success at business, heavy diplomatic credentials, a successful law career, and…a committment to Jewish organizations.

He was a lawyer who had played roles for the US government as early as WWII where he was typically assigned to roles involving Latin America. He was a key player in the ’70s, for example, in the US returning the Panama Canal to the Panamians. He worked extensively with Presidents Johnson and Carter – who named him special ambassador to the Middle East in 1979 – and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Clinton in 1998.

After WWII, Linowitz, in private practice as an attorney, had a client who had come across an interesting invention called electrophotography. Together, he and Linowitz created Xerox. Over the years, Linowitz had senior roles in the company and in 1960, was named chairman. Six years later, when he resigned, sales had quintupled to $500 million/year.

From 1969 through his retirement in 1994, he was a lawyer at the international firm, Coudert Brothers. He became a lawyer on the advice of Elihu Root, a former secretary of state who told him (when he was still a student) to choose law over the rabbinate because, “I have found that a lawyer needs twice as much religion as a minister or rabbi.” The son of Russian immigrants who suffered greatly in the Great Depression, Linowitz, who could also act and play the violin (seriously, imagine what a catch this guy was as far as his wife’s parents were concerned 😆 ), took Root’s advice and never looked back.

Clinton said about him,

“Advice from Sol Linowitz on international diplomacy is like getting trumpet lessons from the angel Gabriel.”

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