My connection to Israel stems from growing up around tremendous anti-Semitism. Fighting from the inside to protect the rights of Jewish people became a core commitment of mine. This dedication found its much fuller expression when many years ago, I chanced upon a flyer for Pnina Becher’s legendary piano lessons. I began studying piano with Pnina (wife of JNF's beloved Itzik Becher) and quickly became a member of the beautiful Becher family -- and if you know the Bechers you know they’ll speak to you in Hebrew until you have no choice but to respond in Hebrew yourself in no time.
With Itzik and Pnina I began to explore the most incredible happenings in Israel and have been since unable to satisfy my curiosity and will to contribute. So many parts of my life have come together and thrived under the umbrella of my connection to Israel -- from my commitment to standing up for the livelihood of the Jewish people, to music, to horses.
Speaking of horses, I've loved them since I was a little girl. I loved their beauty, their freedom, their majesty. I had to wait until I was an adult to pursue my passion for horses, and doing so animated me to begin working to achieve another dream: learning to play the piano.
On the JNF President’s Mission (my first visit to Israel), I was shown horses in the Palestinian horse community in Chavat Ariela (Ariela Arabians), among many others. These experiences allowed me to identify the strong connection between my beloved Arabian horse breed and my respect for and excitement about the US/Israel relationship. The opportunity to connect physically with the incredible horses further deepened my strong bond to Israel.
I am passionate about doing whatever I can do ensure people are treated and taken care of with the utmost respect. This commitment comes to expression in both my professional life and my personal philanthropic commitments. I built my company, Thema Health Services, on the foundation of my love for helping people with their transition at the end of life, specifically tending to the core values of dignity, respect, and individuality.
More recently, my company identified a gap in our services for the family transition at end of life. In an effort not to leave anyone unattended, Thema established the Crossing Hospice Foundation, which uses 100 percent of donations to provide grieving children a wide range of therapy services. I am excited that my work with JNF enables me to continue transferring my passions and building on them. I recently became a Century Council member, and I know that through my work with Aleh Negev I will be able to refine and extend my passions so my impact grows.
It is my intention to leave behind a stronger place for children and adults to get the life-long care and love they need and deserve.
By Theresa Lungwitz