As we celebrate AACI’s 60 year anniversary, we give tribute to the memory of a special woman who epitomized the activist, volunteer spirit of AACI’s founders – Lynn Davison z”l. Many of our members, including Executive Director David London, remember Lynn greeting them at the airport upon aliyah, with a warm “welcome home,” and assisting them in their first steps.
AACI was saddened by the death of Lynn Davison, who passed away on Oct 12, 2010, shortly before her 90th birthday.
Lynn grew up in New York at a time when ideologies were discussed, debated and argued with great intensity. Lynn was a feminist long before it became fashionable, and was not afraid to speak up and fight for what she believed in. In the US Lynn worked for the ILGWU, the dressmaker’s union, and she stood up to bosses who wanted to pay their workers as little as possible. She picketed the White House when the Rosenbergs were sentenced to die in 1953.
Lynn made aliyah in 1970, even though the Shaliach told her to send her children, because Israel didn’t need people her age (she was a very sprightly 50 at the time). She came anyway. She worked for the Machon L’piriya V’Yitsur for a number of years and traveled around the country to help improve efficiency and working conditions in many garment industry factories. When she sat down at the sewing machine and showed young workers how to do something, they immediately recognized that this woman was not a high and mighty manager, but one of them, who understood what it meant to sit bent over a machine without enough light to see what they were doing.
From 1980, Lynn was an active volunteer at AACI. She was a board member of the Central Region (now Branch), Chairperson of the AACI Seniors and National Vice President for Klitah. Her pet project however, was meeting new olim at the airport, helping them through all the paperwork and sending them and their luggage off to their destinations in their new home. She loved to greet them with a big smile and a “Welcome home.” For 13 years Lynn trained and organized the team of AACI volunteers, taking up the slack when no one else could meet a late flight, even in the middle of the night. It was not unusual for Lynn to go to the airport up to three times the same day. She was fierce in her conviction that this was THE most important service AACI offers, and it must be done properly!
On January 28, 2001 Lynn Davison was honored with a Volunteer Award by the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption. Then-Minister of Klitah, Yuli Tamir, awarded the recognition, and Lynn was invited to the President’s house with other American immigrants who had made extraordinary contributions to Israel.
When she moved to Ra’anana and retired from those activities, she volunteered to tutor students in English, both for the bagrut (matriculation exams) at Ostrovsky High School and Bar Tov elementary school.
Lynn is survived by her daughter Judy Himmelfarb and son Michael Davison and 2 granddaughters.
As we witness the nation taking to the streets to fight for social justice, all of us at AACI who knew Lynn can imagine how she would approve. This feisty, strong, determined, articulate, intelligent woman strongly believed in “social justice” and that government is obligated to take care of all its citizens equally.
Lynn’s daughter Judy said at the end of shiva: “I admired your courage, your integrity, your intelligence…I am thankful that you were the kind of person who deserves to be described with these adjectives.”
AACI thanks Judy Himmelfarb for sharing Lynn’s history and her memories with us.