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Ed Wolfe 1926-2023 and Betty Wolfe 1928-2023

All who knew them in ESRA were greatly saddened to learn of the recent passing away of both Ed and Betty Wolfe within two weeks of each other. On behalf of ESRA, I wish to express our condolences to the family and a huge appreciation for the part Ed and Betty played in helping to build our organization.

Ed and Betty Wolfe were both born in the Bronx, New York. They met in a Bnei Akiva group in the local synagogue. Betty was 11 and Ed was 13. Ed was educated in a local Yeshiva and Betty went to a local school.

During the Second World War Ed served in the US Navy as an electronics technician and Betty worked as a bookkeeper and volunteered in many social projects.

They were married in June 1948. In August 1969, they and their four children made aliyah and settled in Haifa, where Ed worked for the Elron Electronic Group. In 1983 the family moved to Kfar Saba and Ed and Betty began doing volunteer work in their respective fields with Ed helping new immigrants with the technology to set up new businesses.

It was in 1996 that they joined the ESRA family. Initially Betty volunteered in our Kfar Saba secondhand shop and two years later she brought in Ed who became heavily involved in both the Kfar Saba and the Raanana secondhand shops.

Ed lived and breathed the shops, visiting at least once every week, working with the managers and staff and collecting contributions from far and wide. His work on the Shops Committee and his passion to ensure their success was remarkable. The driven way he put his time and endless energy into keeping the shops well equipped included him shlepping clothing and bric-a-brac from all over and bringing it to the shops where, in Kfar Saba, Betty would be responsible for sorting, discarding what was not suitable, and putting the good stuff on display.

This process was all-embracing and seemingly never-ending, involving them on most evenings during the week including Motza'ei Shabbat. For the disadvantaged in the community these shops provided an opportunity to purchase needed items at greatly reduced cost.

They should be proud to know that all these years later both shops are still going strong and have consistently proven to be a major source of income for ESRA, contributing greatly towards financing our Welfare and Education Projects.

In 2018 Ed and Betty were jointly presented with the ESRA's Chairman's Award, "in recognition and appreciation of outstanding volunteering with ESRA over two decades, giving freely of time and effort, whether on the Executive Committee or in ESRA'S Secondhand shops, with untiring dedication towards aiding and supporting the work of ESRA".

With the Ethiopian aliyah, Betty began making stuffed animals which she donated to the newly arrived children and this hobby developed into the ESRA Teddy Bear project in which, over a period of ten years, 170,000 teddy bears were donated and shipped from the USA, washed by Betty to ensure hygiene, and distributed to children in hospitals throughout Israel. It was such a successful project that NBC aired a video about it, helping to spread the name of ESRA internationally.

Today that small family of six who made aliyah 54 years ago has grown multifold and has gone from generation to generation which became a huge source of pride to Ed and Betty.

As a fellow believer in the work of ESRA it was a privilege to have known Ed and Betty. They were a shining example of a wonderful couple who truly were "a couple". They held similar values and were not frightened to get their hands dirty and get done what they believed needed to be done. They will long continue to be remembered with deep affection by all who knew them and particularly their many friends and colleagues in ESRA. 

The Wolfe family on Ed’s 90th birthday


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Friday, 19 July 2024

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