It is well known that AACI’s success is due to the many dedicated volunteers who have been willing to share their time and talents over the years to advance the organization. I had the pleasure of meeting one special volunteer, Sarah Peters, who has chosen to commemorate her 92nd birthday by becoming a member of AACI’s Eleph Alaphim. *
Sarah, the youngest of six children, was born and raised in Wales. Although her husband, Harry (z”l) was from London, they chose to live in Cardiff. In addition to raising a son and daughter and running the household, Sarah worked in the wholesale clothing business.
On a visit to Israel in 1968, Sarah and Harry became members of AACI which helped them in their decision to move to Israel. After making aliyah in 1975 with their children and settling in Jerusalem, they became actively involved in many organizations as volunteers. Both taught English with the B’nai Brith organization. Sarah was also involved in Emunah activities.
Sarah’s relationship to AACI strengthened when she began attending the Wednesday morning Senior Programs at AACI with her brother. (In order to attend, she had to promise him that she would be quiet and not ask any questions!) It didn’t take long for her to become Program Chair for the seniors. For nine years she organized the weekly programs which included preparing the roster of presenters. Sarah recalls her days phoning recommended lecturers to invite them to participate in the programs. With no budget, she had to work her charm to convince people to lecture for free. The programs were (and continue to be) a success and very popular with many senior AACI members.
When questioned why a Welsh woman would join AACI, she points to the wonderful friends that she has made here throughout the years. In her words, “The Americans and Canadians were the only people I met when I was in ulpan.”
Sarah found many avenues to contribute her talents to AACI. She formed the first AACI Entertainment Committee which included creating a choir. She admits that the reason she organized the choir was because she loves to sing and has the unique ability to remember all the words to songs.
Sarah also enjoyed writing funny poetry and wrote her own words to songs which she also performed. The choir was asked to perform at many AACI functions over the years. One year, Sarah came up with the idea to write a play for the AACI Thanksgiving Dinner. Picture this: A proper Welsh woman, now a citizen of Israel, tying a piece of ribbon around her head with a feather in order to portray an American Indian in the play!
Sarah was also an active member of the AACI advocacy group that worked to ban smoking on buses (remember those days?). She was very involved in the national campaign and is proud of the results.
Touring the country on AACI Study Vacations was also one of Sarah’s favorite activities. Sarah raved about the excellent guides on the trip and said she enjoyed seeing Israel “with very intelligent eyes”.
For many years Sarah painted in acrylics and later began to sculpt after someone offered her a few free lessons in sculpture. After the first two lessons, she was totally captivated. Her home is filled with her beautiful terracotta sculptures, mostly of people. She takes great pride in her work.
Sarah continues to enjoy the Wednesday morning series for seniors and is enthusiastic about the stimulating programs that are offered. She also participates in the AACI bridge group. It’s clear she’s still sharp in her organizational skills and hasn’t lost her initiative. When the elevator was out of service one recent Wednesday, she knew she wouldn’t be able to climb four flights of stairs to meet her friends for an afternoon of bridge. That didn’t stop Sarah! She picked up the phone and organized a taxi to pick up her bridge partners and bring them to her home to play.
Two years ago when she turned 90, AACI made a party in Sarah’s honor, complete with a cake decorated with a Welsh flag. Sarah recently celebrated her 92nd birthday with family and AACI friends when her Eleph Alaphim plaque was uncovered on the donor board in the lobby of the AACI Glassman Family Center.
When asked why she chose to donate to Eleph Alaphim, Sarah responds, “I know everybody up there listed on the board at AACI. Why shouldn’t I be there too?” She notes that there is still plenty of room left on the board for additional names and she hopes that her action will encourage others to follow her lead.
She also said that she would like to serve as a personal example to her children. While she is confident that her children understand the importance of giving to charity, she wanted to teach them that it’s not only about giving to people in need. She told me that she feels that when there is something that you are involved in…an organization that you love… it is so very important to support it.
It is evident that Sarah has given herself, both in her effort of time and money to contribute to AACI and we are so grateful to have her as a dear friend and life member.
As you said in serenade, Sarah… (click to view video clip)
Don’t you know,
that it’s worth,
every treasure on Earth,
to be young at heart.
For as rich,
as you are,
it’s much better by far,
to be young at heart.
Mazal tov, Sarah! We wish you many more years of good health, joy and nachat. May you continue to be a source of inspiration to your family, your friends and your AACI community and always remain young at heart.
*Eleph Alaphim donors pledge $1.00 per day for three years, equivalent to about 1250 NIS per year for three years. The donation can be made in payments. If you are interested in more information about becoming a donor, please speak to Bryna Lee Jacobson in AACI’s Development department.
Tel: 02-5661181 ext. 324 email: email@example.com