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Cookie – a Volunteer and a Friend 1930-2024

Cookie and I both made aliyah on the 24th August 1964 – she from the U.S. by sea and I from the U.K by air. We discovered this coincidence when we first met a few years later, at our children's kindergarten, and thus began a friendship that has lasted ever since.

Cookie was born during Chanukah 1930 and grew up with her two brothers and two sisters in Milwaukee. Having obtained her Master's Degree, she taught English until she left the States.

In Israel she married Yosef Rabban, an immigrant from Iraq, and they settled in Herzliya where they brought up their two sons. Cookie worked from home, typing for her husband's office and coaching children in English; one of her pupils was the daughter of Abba Eban.

In the 1980s she began her real "career" – volunteering.

For fourteen years she worked at the Herzliya ESRA office, four days a week, sharing with me - the secretary - the ups and downs of ESRA life over cups of tea, coffee and instant soup.

She was coordinator of the mailing list and ESRA Magazine distribution, involving many hours in and out of the office – including shlepping heavy bundles of magazines. She would welcome all visitors to the office with warmth and patience, using her knowledge of Yiddish to converse with elderly Russian olim.

She was a valued member of ESRA's Golden Friendship Club committee, organizing activities and serving refreshments. She also joined ESRA's English Tutoring Program, helping high-school students with their Oral Bagrut.

In recognition of her outstanding services she became the first recipient of ESRA's Award of the "Volunteer of the Year". Ari Rabban, her son wrote: "My Mom loved ESRA".

During this time, Cookie also began volunteering at the Herzliya Municipality Library and after ESRA, worked there four days a week, up to eight hours a day, coordinating the books from the English section.

Last year her co-workers, family and friends were excited to see her actually appear on television on a News Channel in an interview as the oldest – in age and in service –volunteer in the Herzliya Library.

She stayed at the library almost 40 years, right until the end of her life.

We never lost touch with each other and had been meeting for coffee on Tuesday mornings – Cookie's day off from the library. Our last conversation – just a short time ago - centered around her intended trip to the States in May 2024 to celebrate her sister's 90th birthday.

Unassuming, caring and optimistic, her looks and spirit belying 93 years, Cookie will be missed by many – especially me.

 

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Saturday, 20 July 2024

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