Dedication of Ofakim Student Village to Yitzchak Shavit z"l
written by Rebecca Caspi
I got home a little while ago from the dedication of a new student village in Ofakim (a development town in the Negev) in our good friend Yitzchak’s memory.
The sky was clear and a gentle breeze was blowing throughout the ceremony. It was held against the backdrop of ongoing construction noise – students are slated to move in next week and things aren’t quite finished. In fact, the Deputy Director of Ayalim who served as MC actually made a point of telling us all they would be “unplanting” all the shrubs that had been planted to make things look good for the ceremony so that irrigation lines could be run and everything could really be done properly – not just for show.
The village will be home to 28 students at Sapir College in Sderot and Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva who have opted to combine studying with building the Negev through volunteering in this challenged community. They will work with the youth of the city as well as with others – and the Mayor of Ofakim (Zvika Gringold) who spoke to the crowd has put a lot of stock in their ability to help turn things around. Others spoke as well representing funders, JAFI, and Yitzchak’s family. Also in attendance were federation colleagues, including long term friend and colleague, Barbara Promislow. Both Yitzchak's sons were there with their wives, his grandchildren came and so did his brother Gideon.
As I remember Yitzchak, he didn’t like to make a fuss about himself – he just liked to get things done. I think he would have been incredibly proud to know that it was exactly in this spirit that the village was envisaged, funded and built in the 8 short months since he left us. I’m not sure if this is an official record, but I can tell you that nothing gets built in Israel in 8 months. The only logical explanation I can think of for this having been accomplished was the unity of purpose of every individual and organization that needed to make it so.
May his memory be a blessing.
|Yitzchak Shavit z"l|