Micah Raskin is a professional poker player, a gardening enthusiast, and a world-wide philanthropist. Although, those who know Micah well know that he hates the last appellation.
“I’m not a philanthropist. I’m just a guy who wants to help,” says Micah. But there are thousands of people being treated in a new wing of the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem that may disagree.
Micah Raskin is well known in Queens for his generous nature and his community programs. He created after school programs for underprivileged youth in Queens, hosts annual BBQs and swimming parties for the autistic children he works with, and works in soup kitchens on the weekends. “I was raised to believe that when the community gives to you, you give back,” says Raskin when asked about his generosity. “I love Queens. If you invest in something you love, you’ll always get your return on investment.”
Micah Raskin Discusses Shaare Zedek Medical Center
With over 1,000 beds, Shaare Zedek Medical Center is Jerusalem’s largest multi-disciplinary medical center. In their 30 departments and 70 out-patient clinics, they treat hundreds of thousands of patients annually.
Shaare Zedek – which means “Gates of Justice” – is also one of Jerusalem’s oldest hospitals. It has been providing quality care for residents since 1902. It started as a 20-bed hospital on Jaffa Road.
Jerusalem’s largest hospital is also one of the most progressive. “They treat patients of every race, creed, religion, and nationality,” says Micah Raskin. “That’s one of the reasons I’m so enamored with their success, and one of the reasons that I was drawn to help them.” Many of the best doctors and surgeons and the brightest minds in Isreal work for Shaare Zedek and they all work together to further the mission of their hospital.
Micah Raskin Donates To Build New Wing Of Jerusalem Hospital
Micah donated a significant amount (the hospital will not confirm the exact amount by Raskin’s request) of money to Shaare Zedek Medical Center for the development, construction, and staffing of a new bomb and burn victim wing.
“It’s a terrible thing that they have to have a wing even partially dedicated to the treatment of bombing victims,” says Micah Raskin. “I already knew about the good work they were doing, and when I heard about the need for this construction, I was moved to action.”
Shaare Zedek Medical Center is a non-profit institution that provides “care to the general public with no distinction over race, religion, or ethnicity.” They receive no financial support from the Israeli government. “We are wholly reliant on the generosity of friends across the globe to carry out research, upgrade vital equipment, and continuously upkeep and further expand our facilities,” says the Shaare Zedek Medical Center’s website.
Micah Raskin is proud to be counted among those friends. “I talk a lot about community,” says Raskin. “But community isn’t just the people near you. Community is worldwide. Community is humanity. When we see bad things in the world, we’re so fast to condemn them – but we’re not equally as fast to help when we see the good. The common good deserves help. The common good needs to be supported.”
Micah Raskin Urges Others to Reach Out
“Not everyone can support financially, and that’s okay, you find other, just as important, ways,” continues Raskin. “But when you’ve been financially blessed, you have an obligation to support the good in your community – whether that’s next door, or around the world.”
This seems to be an extension of his life philosophy in general. In light of the recent pandemic, Micah donated 5,000 medical masks and 1,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to the Soup Kitchen and Homeless Shelter in Hempstead, NY.
“Everyone deserves to be safe during this thing,” says Micah Raskin. “With shelters trying to practice social distancing, and the homeless population having no way to afford or access masks and other protective equipment…it’s just a recipe for disaster. And the least fortunate are the ones who suffer the most.”
With no or little access to the internet, public places being shut down or restricted, and people afraid to roll down their windows for someone with no mask, the homeless population of New York – and across the country – are among the most likely to succumb to the worst of COVID-19′s symptoms and consequences.
“It’s a nightmare for all of us,” says Raskin. “But imagine that you don’t have a home to quarantine in. Imagine that you know what’s coming and you have no way to prevent it, no way to get your hands on the protective gear you need. And on top of that, the shelters have to cut back on hours, are overwhelmed by the people who have lost their jobs and are going hungry.”
Micah urges everyone reading to consider making a donation of food or money to their local shelters, which are likely completely overwhelmed.
When asked how others can follow in his footsteps, he tells us to look at our communities and take stock. “Look at the needs. And then fill them. It’s as simple as that.”
Micah Raskin Honored for His Charitable Donations
Shaare Zedek Medical Center presented Micah Raskin with a plaque to honor his charitable donations to the hospital’s new wing. That plaque is now one of his most treasured possessions.
“It’s a strange thing,” laughs Micah Raskin. “It makes me uncomfortable to be recognized because I just feel like I’m acting the way good people are supposed to – the way I was raised. But it’s such a lovely reminder of the good that the hospital is doing and the people who are being helped now that may not have been able to seek treatment before.”
Micah says that he always keeps the plaque “right where I can see it. On my darkest days, I can look at it and remember that people who’ve experienced great trauma are recovering halfway around the world. If I could help, even in a small way, maybe the day isn’t so dark after all.”
Micah Raskin is a professional poker player with hundreds of games under his belt. Since his first live-event cash in 2007, Micah has earned a reputation as one of the country’s top poker earners. In his first four years as a professional player, Raskin won 4 major events, made it to 16 tables, and cashed 25 times. At the WSOP he earned almost $2 million.
A New York native, Micah Raskin graduated from Baruch College with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration. Today, he is the president of a direct marketing and software company. He also loves to play tennis, ski, and dabbles in landscape architecture.