“Philanthropy and social activism are values upon which I was born and raised. As a child, I remember how my parents, who founded the Strauss Dairies, hosted weddings, Bar-Mitsvas and other events for their employees, made sure they had everything they needed, and contributed to the community in which they lived. I see myself following the path set by my parents, and the concept of giving is a fundamental value that gives satisfaction and meaning to my life.”
Raya was born in Neharia to Dr. Ricard and Hilda Strauss – the founders of the Strauss Food Concern. Together with her brother Michael, she led the company for many years, until her retirement in 2005. Today, as the co-President of the Strauss Investment Company together with Michael, she dedicates all her time to social activism in Israel. In recent years, her work focused on creating the conditions to improve the quality of life in the Western Galilee, while promoting and fostering the region’s unique assets. Those include the city of Akko, a UNESCO world heritage site; Keshet Eilon, which provides some of the best training classes to violinists; the Kibutz Contemporary Dance Company, considered one of the best dance companies in the world; the Ghetto Fighters House Museum, the first Holocaust museum in the world; the Western Galilee Hospital, including the establishment of the Medicine Department’s research labs, and more. Together with the Reut Institute, Raya also leads the Israel 15 Vision, which aims at creating a regional model that would help the State of Israel take a leap forward which will help secure its future.
Raya is also active in a variety of national social organizations focused on three main issues: 1. Providing opportunities for at-risk youth and young adults – through Bet HaShanti, Aharai, and Tseva (“Youth Building a Future”); 2. Activities to promote social responsibility and leadership in Israel – through initiatives such as the IDC’s Rabin Leadership Program, the Academy for Quality Government, Committed to Give and more. Raya was also a co-founder of Maala – Business Leadership for the Community; 3. Jewish Unity – Raya served for five years as a member of the Jewish Agency’s Board of Trustees and as global chair of the “Partnership2gether” program. Today, Raya partners with JFN, and she is a co-founder of the organization’s Israeli office.