Irene Pollin wanted to get to the root of societal problems

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By Elisa Posner

WJW Intern


Josh Weinberg knew Irene Pollin from a young age. His father, Rabbi Joseph P. Weinberg, was senior rabbi of Washington Hebrew Congregation in the 1980s and 1990s, and Pollin was a member there.

Josh Weinberg said Pollin was interested in getting to the root of societal problems, solving those problems and “being humble after solving them.” 

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Pollin, former co-owner of the Washington Wizards and Capitals and Mystics, died in Amherst, Mass., on July 28. She was 96.

Pollin was known for her philanthropy, including her involvement with the United States Holocaust 


Memorial Museum and Yachad, which works to preserve affordable homes and revitalize neighborhoods in the Washington area. 

“She was interested in asking all kinds of questions, wanting to know what made people tick, and what kept them ticking,” Weinberg said. 

Weinberg, a member of the Yachad board, said he, Irene Pollin and her husband, Abe Pollin, worked together on Yachad projects. As the Pollins developed real estate in the Washington area, they worked with Yachad to ensure the residents who already lived in those areas were not left out of the redevelopment process. 

Weinberg said that the Pollins were deeply concerned with the well-being of the residents who already lived in the areas they sought to redevelop. 

“They always knew that the important thing was to look out for the whole community,” he said. “They were these incredible humanitarians who also happened to be incredibly smart business people.” 

Two of the couple’s four children died from a heart condition. Irene Pollin, who was also a psychotherapist, founded Sister to Sister: the Women’s Heart Health Foundation.  

Abe Pollin died in 2009. Irene Pollin is survived by her children Robert (Sigrid) and James; grandchildren, Emma Grock (Paul) and Hannah Pollin-Galay (Asaf); great-grandchildren, Ruth, Leah and Leila; and niece and nephew, Howard Goldstein (Jill Schick) and Ilene Ellenbogen.

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