Leah Hyman with her ESRA certificate
The ESRA Welfare Committee was thrilled recently to receive a donation from the friends of Dr. Leah Hyman of Protea Village in honor of her 90th birthday. This generous donation was organized by Diana Sandler a member of ESRA, resident of Protea Village and close friend of Leah.
Leah was born in 1927 in Benoni, South Africa, but her roots were in Israel. Her grandfather lived in Hebron in what was then Palestine, but emigrated to South Africa where he sought a better life for his young family.
Leah was one of four children and her ambition was always to be a nurse. However, because she showed so much potential, she was instead encouraged to become a doctor.
It took her six years to earn her medical degree and another 18 months of internships at Baragwanath Hospital, a wartime TB hospital established by the British.
She also spent two years working as a Senior Medical Officer in Pediatrics. During this time she was able to live near her parents and siblings, and to this day cherishes the time which they spent together.
After earning her medical degree, spending time with her family and working in her profession, Leah decided that before marrying and settling down, she would like to see the world. So she and another close friend, who was also a young doctor, hitchhiked all over England and Europe.
Being from South Africa, which at the time was part of the British Commonwealth, the two friends attracted the attention of Buckingham Palace, from which they received an invitation to have “afternoon tea with the Queen”. This was a royal command which they couldn’t refuse and a highlight of their hitchhiking adventure.
Meanwhile, back in South Africa, a young Al Hyman waited patiently for Leah to return from her adventures. Not long after she returned they became engaged and married in July 1957. They had three children – two sons and a daughter – who now live in different parts of the world.
When Al passed away, Leah decided that it was time to leave South Africa: most of her friends and family had already left. She wanted to be nearer to her daughter who lived in London.
However, she didn’t want to live in London and decided that at the age of 75 she would finally retire from her beloved profession as a doctor, make aliyah and join some of her family and friends in Israel. Her daughter, Barbara, gave her blessing and encouragement.
Leah decided that she would join her relative, Daphne Davis, who lived in Protea Village, and so she moved to there, which seemed to be the perfect place for her.
Life in Israel was so different from the life she had known until then – with a new language and culture to master, but that didn’t deter her. With her newfound friends, reconnection with old friends, encouragement from family and the exceptionally helpful staff at Protea Village, Leah was able to face and overcome this new challenge.
When she’s not playing bridge, taking long walks and attending the many lectures and films at Protea Village, she can be seen riding her motorized vehicle around the beautiful grounds.
Leah has had a full, rich and challenging life packed with interesting and meaningful experiences.
When she turned 90, her friends and relatives gathered at a hotel in Tel Aviv to celebrate this milestone event in the life of a remarkable and much-loved very special lady.
Many of Leah’s friends, especially Diana Sandler, have been involved with ESRA for many years and felt that there was no more fitting way to honor Leah than to give a donation to ESRA in her honor. They decided to give this donation to the ESRA Welfare Fund to help just one of the deserving families ESRA helps.
This donation was given to a young widow with three young children whose husband died suddenly leaving her with many unpaid debts.
Because of this generous donation, this family’s life will never be the same but it will alleviate some of the burdens.
A sincere thank you from the Welfare Committee, and Happy Birthday Leah!