Ambassador Isaac and Mrs. Perla Gilinski


Ambassador and entrepreneur Isaac Gilinski and his wife Mrs. Perla Gilinski of Colombia are true partners of Reichman University, who have made a significant contribution towards turning Reichman University into an internationally renowned institution.


Isaac Gilinski was born in Barranquilla, Colombia in 1934, the son of Lithuanian immigrants who arrived in the country in the 1920s after a brief stay in pre-state Israel. Gilinski studied chemical engineering at the Indiana Institute of Technology and received an MBA in Industrial Management from the Universidad del Valle - Cali. In 1953 together with his brother Lazar, z”l, established his first business, Rimax, which manufactures plastic furniture and consumer goods.


Mrs. Perla Gilinski was born in Cali, Colombia in 1934, and studied chemistry at Indiana University Bloomington. The two met when they were only 13 years old, but Isaac waited until he returned from his studies in the United States before he proposed. The couple married in February 1957 and have three children – Haim (Jaime), Ruthy and Tania.  Perla is known for her academic achievements and her business acumen.  As an entrepreneur, she started three companies in the video, construction and food business. When she was in her seventies, she received a master’s degree in social work from Barry University, the only woman of her age at the university.


Isaac Gilinski's plastics company formed the basis for the establishment of the Gilinski Group, which became one of the largest corporations in Colombia. In 1977, Gilinski established a tool manufacturing company, and a year later founded Yupi, a snack distribution company that operates in nine countries. Two years later, Gilinski entered the banking and finance sector with the acquisition of the International Financing Company (Compañía Financiera Internacional).


Today, the banking group is run by Isaac and Perla’s son, Mr. Haim (Jaime) Gilinski, who began working alongside his father in the early 1980s.  Isaac is still active and heads the other areas of business. The company has holdings in banking, hotels, real estate, communications and technology, and operates throughout Latin America, the United States and Europe.


In 2009, Isaac Gilinski entered the diplomatic world when he was appointed by the president of Colombia as ambassador to Israel, a role that his late brother Lazar held from 1986 to 1989. Ambassador Gilinski submitted his credentials to the late President Shimon Peres in January 2010 and served as the ambassador of Colombia to Israel until August 2013. He was then appointed as the Alternate Ambassador to the Permanent Mission of Colombia at the UN Headquarters in New York.


The Gilinskis are active in the Jewish community and in philanthropy. Ambassador Gilinski has held senior positions in the B'nai Brith organization in Colombia and in the United States, and served as president of the Jorge Isaacs Jewish High School in Cali. He contributed to the establishment of a daycare facility at the Ohr Simcha boarding school in Kfar Chabad and to the establishment of the Isaac Gilinski Chair of Entrepreneurship, Technology, Innovation and Management at Tel Aviv University. Mrs. Perla Gilinski served as president of B'nai B'rith in the city of Cali and was a member of WIZO in Miami.


The Gilinskis have a deep connection to Reichman University. They donated a study hall in their name in the Law and Sustainability building, and in 2011, Ambassador Gilinski inaugurated a scholarship fund named for his late brother Lazar. Ambassador Gilinski has donated dozens of scholarships to needy students of the Raphael Recanati International School, as well as to students of Ethiopian origin.


During Isaac and Perla’s time in Israel, the couple wholeheartedly opened the doors of the embassy and residence to Reichman University. They promoted the international school throughout Colombia and Latin America, and thanks to their activities, dozens of students chose to study at Reichman University. Isaac and Perla served not only as ambassadors of Colombia, but as ambassadors of Reichman University and the State of Israel.