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The community remembers Bella Nick

The late Bella, was for many years, a wonderful volunteer on the Kfar Saba Telfed Regional Committee and until recently, delivered Telfed Magazines.  She will be sorely missed by all who had the privilege of knowing her.
Her sister, Sybil Shapiro, has compiled the following memories of her dear sister:

How I miss phoning 097651015 every evening!

My dear sister Bella would patiently listen to my babblings about politics and family and anything that came into my mind and add her words of wisdom .which usually were calm and thoughtful.

Being sisters for over 80 years I think we understood each other pretty well Bella was the quiet one,  the" put out the fire one" - she never added to the flames.

As the oldest of our4 siblings she set a shining example of family loyalties and love.

She was not loud or pushy but simply quietly got things done whether it was for Wizo meetings in Kfar Saba or taking care of our aged mother who made aliyah at the age of 80.

Bella was there.

When she got ill she bore it all with stoicism no beating of the breast just a quiet acceptance.

There was of course sadness that she would not make it to her grandsons wedding but happy to have seen the birth of her 2nd great grand son

She died as was befitting to her style of living -at home surrounded by her loving children and grandchildren.

Bella will be remembered by all whose lives she touched as a decent modest kind human being.

I have lost a sister who stood behind me for all my years.

May Her Dear Soul Rest in Peace.

Sybil Shapiro

We were privileged to have the most amazing, patient and loving mother one could ever imagine. She  has been integral not only in our lives, but to those of the whole family. She was a huge personality and  and  never too busy to help us in every imaginable way  – be it helping and advising, cooking , sewing, fixing, teaching and helping with projects, or just listening.  She was always involved in her grandchildren’s  activities, doted on  her first  great-grandson and was so excited at the birth of her second great-grandson exactly one month before her passing.  She never forgot a birthday or anniversary in the extended family and she was always there for all of us to turn to.

And yet – there was somehow still time to be a true friend and devoted member of the community.
Forever a Zionist, she was an ardent member of Habonim at school, university and also later in married life.  In her words her “social life was devoted to Zionistic activities”.  After graduation in 1948, she waited for her 21st birthday to make Aliya in October 1949  as part of a garin to Afekim. She later decided to join her good friend, Sydney, on Hatzerim. A year later, when her dear Uncle Jack died,  she went back to South Africa where she renewed her acquaintance with our father and agreed to marry him on the condition that  they would return to Israel. They returned to Hatzerim in October 1951, but due to circumstances, they did not stay and returned to Capte Town and later back to East London where she revived Habonim that was in the doldrums. Their home became a hive of activity, meetings and shlichim.
Mom  could not refuse an invitation to belong to any community. She was chairlady of the Womens’ Zionist League, she taught Hebrew at Heder, Jewish studies at school, started the Jewish Nursery School and was mentor to the Young Women’s Zionist Society, Bnot Aviv. She was also active in other activities in East London like visiting sick children at the hospital and remedial teaching.

After our father passed away and we graduated, Mommy fulfilled her life-long dream and and we came on Aliya, Cecil continuing to England. Her volunteering activities continued in Israel being involved in the Kfar Saba  English speakers  Wizo group and  giving English Lessons voluntarily.  For years she gave  extra lessons for Bagrut English  on Nir Eliyahu and was like an “honorary” member of the  kibbutz taking part in all the hagim.   Another of her talents was translating University graduate  projects from Hebrew to English. Whatever the subject at hand, she would delve into it deeply in order to translate accurately.

With her young spirit and warm smile, she was more than a mother and a grand-mother, she was our friend. It is no wonder her parents called her Bella – she was indeed always beautiful inside and out and will  ever be loved and remembered by all.

Cecil Nick and Dena Feinblat and families

Bella was my oldest friend in Israel.   The friend I had known for the longest time, is what I mean.   We met at UCT, Womens Residence  in 1946 and have remained close  friends ever since. 

Together we were active in Habonim which in those years was moving towards a "halutz" ideology rather than just a  Jewish scouting one.   

When Bella arrived in Israel she decided to join us at Kibbutz Hatzerim near Beer Sheva, and spent several happy years there.  Always willing to take on the less attractive and most demanding jobs, and always cheerful.  She was there with me when my first daughter was born at the end of 1950.  For family reasons Bella was called back to South Africa where she married, and then returned with her husband to Hatzerim, but as he was unable to adjust to Kibbutz life (pretty grim in those days),  they (Bella reluctantly) returned to SA.

What  I  especially remember about Bella, is the amazing optimism with which she made Aliya after Monty passed away .  As her daughter Dena said at the funeral, she  had realized her life's ambition and returned to Israel.   Everything seemed to go smoothly (has anyone heard of that sort of Aliya?).  She found a job at the Tel Hashomer professional medical library and we often met for lunch while I was working fairly near by.  After retirement she continued working, teaching English , was active in WIZO,  translated academic works, always progressing with her computer capabilities etc.  We were always in touch but as the years went by it became more difficult to meet,  but we still discussed books, children, grandchildren and eventually our great grandchildren who are I think quite close in age) or old friends and  politics,  by  phone, email, and of course  birthdays    (Two  years  ago  I was late for her's, to my shame).   It was a friendship where one could pick up and continue from the last time, even when the breaks became longer.

Until the time, a few months ago, when Bella replied to my "how are you" with "actually I am not feeling at all well".   This was a first indication that she was really not at all well, and quite upset me, especially as I was unable   to visit or to offer any practical  support.

Sydney Lossin

Bella has been such a big part of my and my children's life here in Israel. I don't remember a week that I didn't speak or see her.  Family occasions were just that - Bella and all the rest. She was the matriarch of the family since Aunty Millie died and even my mother turned to her for help and guidance when she was living here. She was always there for you and asked for nothing in return. I miss her already.

Cecily Hanson

When I moved to Kfar Saba from Jaffa during the summer of 2005, Bella was the first person to call and invite me to her home to meet some of the English-speaking women from WIZO.  That was the beginning of our friendship.

Bella was so very kind, so willing to help others, and so thoughtful of their needs.  She was a voracious reader, enjoying a wide range of literature from Dickens to today’s best seller.  She was a true intellectual and respected educator.  Bella was instrumental in starting our book club, and her empty chair is a void that no one else can fill.

Bella faced death as she lived her entire life……with dignity, strength,  and serenity.  She was loved and will be sorely missed.

Naomi Resnick

After retiring ( from full-time employment ),  Bella joined the Wizo English Speakers Group, of Kfar Saba where she was a dedicated member. She was, in turn Secretary, Treasurer and Co-Chair for a number of years.  During all this time she saw to the cultural activities and entertainment.

 Having had a fluent command of Hebrew, she helped all who needed translations etc, and willingly tried to help those who had other problems.   She is sadly missed by all the members.

Audrey Katz

It was a privilege to know Bella and  to have her as a friend.  She was the most generous person I’ve ever known and was always ready to help.  Her passing is a great loss to all who knew her. 

Hilde Meyer

Bella really was a very special lady.  Always a smile,  driving around picking up and dropping off all those people who didn’t have transport of their own.  Mum was one of the people who Bella “looked after” - and then when Bella was in need, she would never accept any help offered to her. She’d just say that she had her daughter and her grandson who did everything for her.  She made a difference to Mum’s life, and I’m sure to the lives of many other people.  Mum misses her.

Susan Meyer



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