LA philanthropist is buyer of Israeli judoka’s name patch
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LA philanthropist is buyer of Israeli judoka’s name patch

Shlomo Rechnitz paid $52,100 in Yarden Gerbi's auction; Olympic medalist to donate the funds to Tel Aviv's Sourasky Medical Center

Israel's Yarden Gerbi points to the Israeli flag, after defeating Japan's Miku Tashiro to win the bronze medal in the women's under-63kg judo contest, at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on August 9, 2016. (AFP Photo/Jack Guez)
Israel's Yarden Gerbi points to the Israeli flag, after defeating Japan's Miku Tashiro to win the bronze medal in the women's under-63kg judo contest, at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on August 9, 2016. (AFP Photo/Jack Guez)

Shlomo Rechnitz, a Los Angeles businessman, has been identified as the person who bought the Olympic name patch of Israeli bronze medalist judoka Yarden Gerbi.

Rechnitz paid $52,100 for the autographed patch on eBay, the proceeds of which were pledged to charity. Gerbi is to donate the money from his winning bid to the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center; it will be used to purchase medical equipment.

On Tuesday, a spokesman for Rechnitz identified him as the buyer. Rechnitz, who operates a chain of California nursing homes, has pledged to re-auction the name patch and donate those proceeds to the Tel Aviv hospital as well.

“Everyone must learn from Yarden how to use their skills to help people in need,” Rechnitz said in a statement.

Rechnitz has gained publicity for other colorful philanthropic acts. In January, he bought 18,000 Powerball lottery tickets for his employees and was briefly fooled into believing one of his workers had won. Last November, he bought $50 dinners for 400 US soldiers while they were on a stopover in Shannon, Ireland.

Gerbi won her medal in the women’s 63 kg weight class at the Rio Games last month.

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