“Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands!
Serve the LORD with gladness;
come before His presence with singing. Know that the LORD, He is God:
it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good;
His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations”.
– Psalm 100
On September 3 we will be celebrating a very special event – Tsnua’s 100th birthday! Tsnua (‘modest’ in Hebrew) will be our first resident to reach this milestone.
As the 100th Psalm testifies we can truly be thankful and bless the Lord’s name for His goodness and mercy towards His people through all generations as Tsuna’s life story will reveal, told partly by Tsnua herself, her daughter Ilana and her niece Pnina.
Tsnua was born in 1922 to Jewish parents who had immigrated to the then ‘Palestine’ a year earlier, her father a watchmaker and her mother a nurse. Tsnua remembers her father as a generous man and her mother as a very kind person who helped many others and she clearly inherited her compassionate spirit from both. The family moved to Paris for her father to complete his studies in Optometry but a tragedy occurred and her mother became ill with Tuberculosis and eventually died at the age of 36. The children were sent to a foster family in a village and later to a ‘Wizo’ institution but eventually their father decided to return with them to Israel when Tsnua was 12 and her brother 9.5. Already very attached to each other they grew up in a children’s care center and at the ‘Shfeya’ agricultural youth village.
After graduating from high school Tsnua lived with her father and was working as a practical nurse when she met her first husband. They lived in Haifa and had a daughter named Ilana, before moving to Ramat Gan. When her father became very sick, she nursed him until he died and also suffered the great sorrow of divorce, with her husband not allowing her to have custody of their daughter until she was 16 years. Tsnua moved to Haifa and started working as a nurse in an Old People’s Home on the Carmel. In 1973 she met and married Mati Abramovitz, a good hearted and generous man and they lived in Rishon Letzion where she volunteered for 10 years in an association that assisted people who were mentally frail.
Tsnua relates the circumstances of her coming to faith:
“After the war Mati suggested we go and rest in Jerusalem and we stayed at the Christchurch Hostel near the Jaffa Gate where we met a couple from England who were visiting the Land. We befriended them and they visited us in our home. Shirley, the wife, spoke with me about faith in God and about Jesus who was the son of God.
In 1975 they invited us to stay with them in England and one day Shirley asked if I was willing to accompany her to the prayer house they went to every Sunday, I agreed. At first Shirley saw that I was a little apprehensive for I was afraid I was betraying our Jewish faith, but Shirley reassured me and said that they would only be praying and singing songs from the Psalms which is from the Jewish Bible. They truly were beautiful songs.
While I was there something very special happened to me, I had a vision and saw Jesus! I knew it was the Lord Jesus looking at me and smiling with such beautifully kind eyes shining with Godly goodness. I didn’t tell anybody about the vision, but after Mati and I returned from England I started praying before bedtime in the name of Jesus our Savior, as I heard them pray. I didn’t know that in Hebrew His name is Yeshua.
In 1990 my husband died suddenly of a heart condition and to help my depression I volunteered at a medical center. One day a patient who was a believer came for an ECG heart test and spoke to me about Jesus. From that point on I felt the urge to belong to a Messianic fellowship and was guided to the ‘Grace and Truth’ fellowship in Rishon Letzion. Having fellowship at last gave me spiritual and mental satisfaction. The Pastors wife told me about a Messianic Old People’s Home in Haifa called ‘Ebenezer’ and suggested that I visit the Home and consider moving there because I was a widow and living alone and it would be wise to live in a sheltered place. I visited the place and was very impressed. My daughter Ilana didn’t oppose to my move so about 2 years later in September 1998 I moved to Ebenezer.
I am very happy in the Home, the manager and all the staff are very kind. I thank the Lord for allowing me to live in such a good Home in which I will live my last years. My daughter, Ilana, comes to visit me often and, from time to time, other family members come as well”.
Tsnua’s daughter Ilana writes:
“When mother as a young girl was sent to the ‘Shfeya’ institution, her little brother who was attached to her with every fiber of his soul, could not bear the parting and left the home he was staying and set out walking to the train station in the hope of finding his sister. An Arab passerby found him and retuned him home, but as a result of this escapade he too joined the Shfeya family.
When working as a telephonist in the Haifa municipality, mother took a disabled cleaning lady, a Holocaust survivor named Fela, under her wing and helped her in everything. Fela loved my mother with all her heart, and never stopped expressing her feelings of gratitude. She saw her as a kind of savior. In the Neve Yosef neighborhood, in Haifa, where mother lived, there was a family with limited financial and functional abilities. Mother was like a sanctuary to them, for every request for help.
Their daughter, who was retarded, found an “open door” with my mother, and would stay at her house almost every day (leaving a wet chair… when she left). When my mother moved to Rishon, after her marriage, she volunteered at ‘Enosh’ (for mentally retarded people) for ten years, and if not for her late husband’s opposition, she would have taken one of the patients into her home. Mother had absolute hearing and a wonderful voice!
Once in Neve Yosef, while she was singing for pleasure in her home, someone from the street knocked on the door to get to know the person with the wonderful voice! The pursuit of excellence characterized my mother, and she treated every activity with uncompromising thoroughness. Mother has many virtues. May she continue and have many more good years, Amen.”
Tsnua’s niece, Pnina, writes of her early childhood memories of her Aunt.
“She is the one who taught me how to walk like a lady, eat carrots and parsley, wipe hands with one towel and face with another, and dress tastefully always making sure to match colors. In her house I always felt ‘at home’ in times of crisis; her house was my refuge. My Aunt is as ‘modest’ as her name, elegant and noble, her speech polite and quiet and everything about her inspires gentleness and goodness. She was always creative, singing, dancing, engaging in creative work, which she continues even until today, always elegant with a French fragrance. Throughout her life she had many friends, some of them difficult, but she helped them all wholeheartedly”.
This article originally appeared in the Ebenezer Home newsletter and is reposted with permission.