Lawrence Joseph Ellison is an American businessman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist who is a co-founder and the executive chairman and chief technology officer (CTO) of Oracle Corporation. As of March 2019, he was listed by Forbes magazine as the fourth-wealthiest person in the United States, and as the seventh wealthiest in the world, with a fortune of $66.1 billion, increased from $54.5 billion in 2018. Larry Ellison was born in New York City, to an unwed Jewish mother. His biological father was an Italian American United States Army Air Corps pilot. After Ellison contracted pneumonia at the age of nine months, his mother gave him to her aunt and uncle for adoption. He did not meet his biological mother again until he was 48.
Ellison moved to Chicago’s South Shore, then a middle-class neighborhood. He remembers his adoptive mother as warm and loving, in contrast to his austere, unsupportive, and often distant adoptive father, who had adopted the name Ellison to honor his point of entry into the United States, Ellis Island. Louis Ellison was a government employee who had made a small fortune in Chicago real estate, only to lose it during the Great Depression.
Although Ellison was raised in a Reform Jewish home by his adoptive parents, who attended synagogue regularly, he remained a religious skeptic. Ellison states: “While I think I am religious in one sense, the particular dogmas of Judaism are not dogmas I subscribe to. I don’t believe that they are real. They’re interesting stories. They’re interesting mythology, and I certainly respect people who believe these are literally true, but I don’t. I see no evidence for this stuff.” At age thirteen, Ellison refused to have a bar mitzvah celebration. Ellison says that his love affair with Israel is not connected to religious sentiments, but rather due to the innovative spirit of Israelis in the technology sector.
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