Dear Osnat, how we miss you! It was you who worked so hard to find a suitable venue for the Tel Aviv Knitting Circle, and in the end it was you who found our comfortable airy room.  How proud you were of the club – we shall continue to make you proud – this will be our future motto.

Osnat was born in Lithuania in 1925.  At the age of two or three she traveled with her parents first to Copenhagen for a few years, and then to Malmo in Sweden, because her father who was actually a rabbi became a teacher for the Jewish congregation.  There she was known as Ase pronounced Ooseh.

At the age of 6, she and the family moved back to Copenhagen where her father was re-employed by the Jewish community.  But in October 1943, like so many Jews, they fled from Hitler with the help of the kind Danish fishermen, to Sweden.  There she lived from October 1943 until the end of the war in 1945, where she attended the special Danish school for war refugees, in Lund.  Then aged 20, she returned to Copenhagen to study law at the university.

In 1955/1956 she visited Israel, liked it, and decided to stay.  Because of the diploma received from the Danish university, she was employed in Haifa as a probation officer (also known as a social worker) for disturbed adults.  This was her first job.

In 1960 she received a scholarship to the University of Chicago, which was awarded by the National Council of Jewish Women to further her knowledge.  One of the council members, Leona Rosenberg, recognized her ability and she became Osnat's sponsor.  Osnat lived in her home – they became friends and remained extremely close to the very end.  After the two year course, she received her M.S.W. – Masers degree in Social Work.

On her return to Israel she qualified as a psychotherapist, and eventually worked at the Kupat Holim's mental hospital Shalvata in Hod Hasharon.  As a qualified social worker and psychotherapist, she set up a social service department where she supervised many workers and students, and became a founding member of the group therapy organization.  Besides being involved with the groups in the hospital, she also ran her own private groups.

At the age of 64 she retired, but she was involved with ESRA.  When a branch was founded in Tel Aviv she was a committee member – here again serving the community with all her heart.  In December of 2002 she received an ESRA Award for her excellent volunteering efforts.

In 2001 she began a support group for new immigrants, held in her home, to help ease immigration to Israel, to soften the transition, answer everyday questions and solve problems the new arrivals may have encountered – again this wonderful characteristic strain of helping others.  She was also caring, hospitable, warm, friendly and lovable.

Concerning the knitting circle she helped to organize, we remember how she used to visit us during our weekly meetings, settle down and then ask for her knitting.  Because it was difficult for her to knit, it was kept in our box (instead of taken home), so it was handy to give t her at her request.  It is still in the box and will always remain there as a remembrance of this wonderful gentle person, a real lady.

The last few years were So difficult for her, but whenever asked, “How are you?” she always said,  “Okay.” She never complained, only said how very happy she was that she had moved to the Ramat Aviv Mishan.  But for us, and probably many others, it was awful to watch her steadily become increasingly frail as failing health dominated her life.

I remember when I first met her on the Tel Aviv Committee, and as a member of the Short Story group.  We always looked forward to hearing her comments and ideas of the particular story in discussion – so fresh and intelligent.  Her observations and comments were welcome and illuminating, when we made a hash of the story we were reading.

I, Lucie, know Osnat for thirty years, initially on a professional basis.  She was firm but calm and understanding, and extremely helpful.  Many years later when I knew her in a personal relationship, she was a good friend with an excellent memory.

She enjoyed concerts, plays and especially bridge.

We have all lost a truly wonderful friend. We miss you.

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Shirley Kirsch

Shirley Kirsch was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. At the age of four she began to take ballet lessons and danced almost all her life – it was her love! After she married, she immigr...
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