Who was Elie?
Yad Elie was established on the 15th of December 2002 in memory of Elie Saghroun z”l , who had passed away on this date three years before. Elie came to live in Israel in 1995 and loved Israel deeply. The welfare of the country and particularly of its children was of great concern to him. Elie would have been appalled to see how many Israeli youngsters today are living under the poverty line, and are not being fed properly. A recent estimate of the Israeli government has shown that some 730.000 children are not receiving proper nutrition on a daily basis. Many are going to bed hungry.
Founding Director Marion Kunstenaar
Marion was born in Holland in 1937 and immigrated with her partner, Elie Shagroun, to Israel in 1995. Marion has been very active in Jewish community life and in the span of her long career she co-founded the Arnhem Progressive Community, the Faculty for Jewish Studies (Leerhuis), and the Dutch Council of Christians and Jews (OJEC).
She has been a steady contributor to the Dutch Jewish Weekly (NIW) writing especially on interreligious affairs.
She decided to establish Yad Elie three years after Elie passed away, after learning the shocking facts about a little boy in the neighbourhood school who did not bring anything to eat to school and lived on the leftovers of his classmates. She decided to name the organisation after her partner Elie who had passed away earlier. The fate of Jerusalem’s children was always very dear to him. Marion has three daughters and three grandchildren.
Marion Kunstenaar, our founding director works hard with the whole team to give our children proper nutritious and regular meals.
David Lilienthal was the Senior Rabbi of the Liberal Jewish Congregation in Amsterdam from 1971 to 2003. After retiring he founded the Levisson Institute for the training of rabbis, cantors and teachers for the Dutch Jewish Community. He has served on the board of several local and international Jewish organisations. He and his wife came on Alyah in 2013. They live in Jerusalem with their three daughters and six grandchildren.
Lilienthal has been a supporter of Yad Elie from the beginning and since his alyah has become more involved in its activities. In 2016 he has taken over the chairmanship of Marion Kunstenaar. After his appointment, Mrs Kunstenaar was named Honorary Life President as an appreciation for her pioneering work.
Rafi Rothman moved to Israel from New York City in 1982. He is guidance counselor at the Keshet School which emphasizes on dialogue between people with different outlooks in life. Rafi has always tried to provide opportunities for students whose family situations were less fortunate and kept them from reaching their potential. For 8 years Rafi found kids on the street and brought them to a school for kids at risk, allowing them to complete their high school educations. Rafi believes in interfaith cooperation and therefore it was natural for him to volunteer as board member for Yad Elie which provides Arab and Jewish children a good meal which allows them to concentrate on their studies. Rafi is married to his magnificent wife Randi and has four wonderful children!
Lea came to Yad Elie ten years ago when Jerusalem was confronted with violent attacks, an economic crisis and a growing poverty. She became Yad Elie’s coordinator out of a desire to nourish school kids and to nurture a constructive dialogue between Jerusalem’s Jews and Arabs.