A Violin With Long Hadassah Strings

March 31, 2022

A Violin With Long Hadassah Strings

Before Iris Jourdan of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., died at age 87, she bequeathed some of her estate to Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America. She also had a specific wish that she confided to Lisa Smith, of Hadassah's Trusts and Estates Department. A Zionist and devoted Hadassah member, Iris wanted her beloved antique spruce and maple violin to be gifted to a talented Israeli musician. So the violin, made in Italy more than a century ago, began its next journey, carried to Israel by Philanthropy Coordinator Viviane Kovacs and delivered to the Bonnie Lipton Center for the Performing Arts at the Meir Shfeyah Youth Aliyah Village by Hadassah CEO Naomi Adler.

The connection to Meir Shfeyah was easy. The village has a famed mandolin orchestra celebrating its centennial next year. Among the graduates who made their home at Meir Shfeyah in their teens and played in the Shfeyah orchestra is Ksenia Kozodoi, now a violinist in the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. Ksenia and her husband, Slava, also a musician, live in a youth village and pass on not only their musical expertise but also the values of inclusiveness they absorbed as students. When Ksenia was presented with the violin, she took it out of its case and held it in wonder. “My dream come true,” she said as she turned and examined it. “I can't thank Iris Jourdan and Hadassah enough.”

Ksenia, who was born in Ukraine, welcomed the group of Ukrainian teenagers who have just come to Shfeyah after escaping the violence in war-torn Ukraine by recording a message in Ukrainian. In her message she acknowledged the challenge of arriving in a new country but promised that they will realize they have come to the best place ever—to Meir Shfeyah.

And then she played the Ukrainian national anthem and Hatikva for those back in Ukraine and for the newcomers.

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