ESRAmagazine

Channi Hurwitz 1950 - 2019

Channi Hurwitz ... a sister, a friend, an extraordinary confidante

We are sad and dismayed to announce the sudden passing of our much beloved Channi Hurwitz on November 15, 2019. To the many people who knew her, Channi was an angel amongst us, divinely sent by the creator to uplift our souls.

There are no superlatives to be said about Channi. Around her there was love, energy, optimism, enthusiasm, caring, laughter, creativity, giving and forgiveness. She collected people around her as a jar of honey attracts bees, and she was loved by all.

Channi lived a colorful, adventurous, exciting life. Born in South Africa, she grew up in difficult circumstances. She lost her father at the age of 13 and having an ill mother, was faced with the task of raising her five junior siblings virtually alone.

Despite having her own life challenges to contend with, including living in the nurses' home in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, Channi remained a pillar of strength to her siblings, a true friend, mentor, guide, always providing steadfast support.

Whether we called her Channi, Channelah or just good old Chan, she was to us a precious sister, a dear and special friend and an extraordinary confidante.

With Channi, the sun was always rising, it will never set …….

It was her wonderful, non-judgmental optimism and infectious good humor, that provided her with the tools to negotiate the difficulties, tools which she used all her life, and from which we all benefited.

She became a qualified nurse and midwife, met and married her sweetheart Bernard, a veterinary student, had two daughters, Chaya Leah and Simone, and together in 1977 the family emigrated to Israel.

Channi and her husband Bernard, with their grandson Avishai Michael at his wedding in Kfar Chabad, February 2019

A staunch Zionist, Channi dedicated her life to supporting her new country and her people with what she did best, spreading love, light, optimism, and laughter.

Initially the Hurwitz's lived in Raanana but moved to Moshav Yanuv in 1990. Bernard, an animal communicator and lover, turned their home and backyard into a zoo with animals such as dogs, cats, monkeys, donkeys, sheep, goats, porcupines, foxes, raccoons, coatimundis, crocodiles, snakes of all sizes, axolotls, a lungfish and poultry of all sorts …… the list continues, but is too long to enumerate. Channi once shared her bed for six months with her husband and a diaper wearing baby baboon.

Her life was rich and fulfilling.

Channi attracted people far and wide. Her youthful, adventurous nature was a magnet for young hippie rainbow youth. On the farm, numerous tent dwelling communities flourished, with different lifestyles, bringing color, song, dance, music and vegetarian food, circles and rituals, into the lives of all her friends and family.

ESRA outing organized by Channi Hurwitz with Russian olim. Channi is second on the left

 Writes Merle Guttmann, ESRA's Founder and Life President:

Channi was an exceptional and exciting volunteer in ESRA for 10 years. Her involvement started in the mid-1980s, reading to an elderly blind man in a retirement home. Soon she was writing a column for ESRAmagazine called "The Battle of the Bulge" – Channi was a partner in a slimming clinic in Raanana. Travel was one of her loves and she organized adventurous local outings, day and overnight, and six overseas Theater Tours to London. From 1989 to 1990, she was chairperson of ESRA, and it was Channi who started ESRA Raanana. In Beit Fisher she created the ESRA bookshop and organized a monthly Open House with stalls, food, music.

Another of her loves was folk music, and so she founded the ESRA Folk Club and an ESRA publication called "Folk Notes". It was Channi who was instrumental in helping found the ESRA Hadar branch in Kfar Yona, and the ESRA Garden Club. Amongst her other ventures was tree-planting on Tu'bishvat, and an ESRA delegation to an anti-Katsav demonstration in Jerusalem.

And so much more did Channi do in ESRA with her boundless energy and enthusiasm. Channi worked in the retirement home, Beth Protea since its inception in 1992, initially as a nursing sister, then as the cultural director, and finally as head nurse in the Assisted Living Unit (ALU). Both as nurse and cultural organizer, Channi was adored by all the residents, patients and staff. They loved her and she loved them.

Channi was loved by so many people. Her funeral was at 22.00 on a Saturday night and attended by over 400 persons.

October 2000: ESRA on the Hilla Bagalil Walk for Women’s Health (from left) Marigold Bergman, Channi Hurwitz, Merle Guttmann and Rika Meyerowitz

Here are quotes from some of the tributes received from persons all over the world:

Margaret Ann Becker: … Although I knew her for so few hours she immediately made me feel like a lifelong friend. She had the gift of connection. She enjoyed life and made people feel special and energetic around her…

Lisa Waldbaum: Beautiful. Every time I light a candle, I think of Channi.

Debbie Shany: … What a grave! Could only be Channi's! Full of love, colors and so much more. How she loved to walk on the beach and find shells and unusual stones. Such a special lady…

Dianne Faktor: My darling friend Ri - Channi Riva (Anne Hurwitz), left our world suddenly after a very short illness, on Friday 15 November… Your yin to my yang, my soul sister and confidante of 56 years, the other mother to my children, can never be replaced. You saw rainbows for me when I was living in so many storms - I already feel lost without you. But your positivity will continue to help us be strong…

Leah Newstead: … Channi was an amazing woman - always cheerful, kind, caring and giving of herself… Channi was one of a kind - definitely one of the most special women it has ever been my privilege to have known.

Phyllis Waldbaum: I'll miss your laughter, your exuberance for everything you created, your insights, and so much more but I know without a doubt that you are in the hearts of all who love you. You are watching over all of us and you are in the heaven you deserve to be.

Dvora Kain-Rainish: … She was such a beautiful person inside and out. She had a special light inside her. Goodhearted, funny, happy, all around with her special touch and curiosity and enthusiasm. She touched me in many ways…

Rona Kruger: Channi leaves a legacy of love and warmth. She was inspirational and helped everyone who needed her. This was a unique, beautiful person.

Carol Levine: … You have left us…way too soon, your bubbly, fun stories, a caring, loving friend to everyone who knew you.

Arlene Rose Pukach: A special beacon of light in a sometimes dark world; a kind, loving, compassionate, energetic, caring friend, Channi Hurwitz.

Valda Oken: We were friends and 'sisters' for 43 years, so different but so much alike… I will miss you terribly as there was not a day that we did not speak to each other …

Nomi Levy: ... She was one of the kindest, most warm-hearted special human beings I have ever known and a gift to every person who knew her.

Tamara Rabinowitz: Remember her laughter, remember her light, remember her creativity, remember her love, remember her warmth, remember her spirit, so that even through the pain and hurt and total disbelief, you yourself can continue to shine and make a positive impact on the world.

Beth Troy: … I cannot fathom how her last months led to such a shocking outcome… She never let on to the nature of her suffering, pain…. She was a joy, she was light, she was love…Memories of her good nature, her wide umbra and her light will be her legacy…

Glenda Sobel: What a blessing to have known Channi. Such a wonderful, pure soul.

Sarah Spinner: Channi was such an amazing woman. A strong spirit and a loving heart. She would sing "Here comes the sun" like it was yesterday, always bringing joy even on the tough days. She had such an amazing impact on my life. She was an incredible woman and will live on through all the people she touched and brought great joy to.

Lynn Lokoff, Director of Beth Protea at the recent Chanukah ceremony in Channi's name called "Channikah":

I sat down and I thought

Now what can I say

About our Channi who had such a way

of looking at only the bright side of life

and pushing aside all the hardships and strife

She started here all those years ago

as a nurse we would all get to know

as the lady who lived and loved to the full

and friends and family just felt the pull

Her stories she told made us laugh out loud

and so often around her she gathered a crowd

She told of her life with her man and 2 girls

and she so often came out with beautiful pearls

She made everyone feel that they were the best

and with all her ideas she never did rest.

Four grandchildren she loved and then

along came the special great grandchild,

the love was the same

A coffee with Channi never went by

without another idea and "come on let's try"

From the wigwam she put up in the back field

to so many other ideas, many were their yields

Channi had friends from far and wide

and in each one of them, she took a pride

She wrote and she sang and she danced so much

and her friendship she dealt out with not a fuss

Her home always open to everyone

and both young and old enjoyed the fun

With Bernard and his animals roaming around,

a little heaven on earth these animals found

When I think of Channi, It's with such a big smile

she always did go that extra mile

She loved to the full and laughed out loud

and her wonderful family she made so proud

For you dear Channi we laugh and we sing

as this was your life only happiness to bring

We were all so lucky to be around you,

to know and love you through and through

Her girls she so loved, as well as her man

and of all of her offspring she was a big fan.

How can it be that in the prime of her life,

she was taken so cruelly. We all felt the knife.

When Channi was so ill and we stood round the bed

with Bernard, Chaya Leah and Simone, and we shed

just so many tears we were so bereft

as we slowly realized there was no time left

How can it be the end had come

for one so amazing and full of fun

There was nothing to do but accept the worst

and remember the great disposition she nursed

How can I talk of you in the past,

just know that your memory will always last

That laugh and that smile that you always wore,

you are here in our hearts forever more 

 

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Thursday, 26 November 2020

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