Donor's Legacy Helps Fulfill Ben Gurion's Dream
David Ben Gurion's hut at Sde Boker-the desert kibbutz where Israel's first prime minister retired-remains exactly as he left it at the time of his death in 1973. Today, the kibbutz is a thriving community of nearly 450 inhabitants, and Ben Gurion's preserved residence is a major tourist attraction. Another wooden structure, adjacent to the hut, contains an exhibition highlighting Ben Gurion's special relationship to the Negev. The location hosts workshops on leadership, the Negev, and Jewish identity for students, educators, soldiers and tourists from Israel and abroad.
Jewish identity mattered to New Yorker Judith Friedjung (nee Nussenbaum), who bequeathed one third of her residuary estate to Jewish National Fund. This substantial legacy is being used to support the expansion of the facility at Sde Boker, which will promote educational tourism in the region and impart Ben Gurion's vision for the Negev on thousands of visitors.
A survivor of the Holocaust, Judith was born in 1923 in Czernowitz, Romania, a city of learning and culture quickly changed by the Nazi and Russian occupations. After World War II, she left Romania, arriving eventually in the United States.
Judy came here barely knowing the language, but was excited and looked forward to her new life. With spunk, determination and the help of a relative, she became one of the very first women to trade on the stock exchange- working for Josephthal & Co. and Oppenheimer & Co. She found a career that she truly loved, one that was both personally and professionally rewarding. For her, it was not "work," it was fun.
Judy embraced her life in America and found beauty, joy and success in her adopted country. The bad memories-the ghetto in Czernowitz, the fear of deportation, the loss of her father in the death camp-stayed buried and were never mentioned.
Judy and her husband Hans were enthusiastic travelers and took marvelous trips to all parts of the world-including, of course, Israel. Her leisure time was devoted to her many interests. She continually had a needlepoint canvas or sewing project that kept her occupied. She also loved flowers and plants and the wonders of New York City-the gardens, parks, waterfront, museums, theatre and performances at Lincoln Center. Her feelings for New York were reflected in her photography. She really had a talent for capturing the glory of the city, recalled Judith Rosen, her friend of 25 years.
Her life in America was everything she could have desired. She was happy and successful and in close touch with her many relatives who had emigrated to Israel, Venezuela, and Switzerland. Judy was particularly thrilled that her three closest friends from her happy youth in Czernovitz settled here.
The late David Ben Gurion said, "In Israel, in order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles." Judith Friedjung believed in miracles, which is why she selected JNF as a major beneficiary of her estate. She knew that its work as caretaker of the land of Israel would ensure that the Jewish identity she was so connected to would continue for future generations. Her generosity, strength and compassion will always be remembered by those whose lives she touched.
To designate JNF as a beneficiary in your will, contact a Planned Giving specialist at 800-562-7526.