Memorial fund for Keren Tendler


04 October 2006 ORT memorial fund for fallen soldier ORT America and World ORT are collaborating to establish a memorial fund for fallen heroine Sergeant Major Keren Tendler. Keren, a graduate of the ORT technological school in Rehovot, was a helicopter flight mechanic. She became the first Israeli woman soldier to die on active duty since the Yom Kippur War when her aircraft was shot down over Lebanon during the war against Hezbollah. She was 26. Following a meeting with Kerens family, the decision was made to set up a scholarship to be funded primarily by ORT America in her name that would help other young women to break into the male dominated world of flight mechanics. Judy Menikoff, the National Director of Womens American ORT (which is merging with American ORT to form ORT America), WAO Board of Directors member and Co-Chair of World ORTs Control Commission, Dorene Berger, World ORT Deputy President Dr Jean de Gunzburg, World ORT Director General Robert Singer and World ORTs Head of Education Gaby Meyassed were in the group that met Kerens family. Ms Menikoff said: Losing a child has to be the worst thing in life youre not supposed to bury your children. But the fact is that this has happened so often in Israel and they all have to go on with their lives. You have to be extraordinarily strong to do that. Ms Berger said Kerens mother, Viryona, an English teacher at ORT Syngalowski, was proof of that strength. She was unbelievable. There are pictures of Keren all around their home and her mother told us how they wake each morning to look at her pictures, have a cry and then get on with their day. She wanted everyone to remember Keren and the memorial fund is a very good way to do it because her mother will be involved in selecting the beneficiaries. The fund will enshrine not only Kerens name but also what she stood for. In an interview with the Israeli newspaper Maariv four years ago, Keren said: My goal is to show other women that this position, an on-flight mechanic, can be performed by women. Viryona Tendler, Robert Singer, Dan Tendler, Judy Menikoff, Dorene Berger and Dr Jean de Gunzburg. In an interview with Haaretz, one of Kerens teachers, Victor Zilberstein, remembered asking her why she opted for the male-dominated mechanical path at school. She replied that she would show how a girl could not only be as good as the boys at mechanics but do better. In 12th grade, Mr Zilberstein said, she joined other students for a course at the Tel Nof air force base. Keren was so enthusiastic and prepared her work so well that even the boys were jealous, he said. She was better than they were in most subjects. Keren Tendler zl. The Mayor of Rehovot is also considering renaming a street in the town, south-east of Tel Aviv, after Keren. Should the municipality proceed with the plan, ORT America will contribute to the cost. At the meeting with Kerens family, World ORT presented them with a new computer to help them store the many photographs and other memorabilia they have of her, much of which is in digital form.