Elsa was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1921, moved with her family to her mother’s ancestral village in northern Italy, and returned with the family to Detroit on the last boat to leave Italy before WWII. She later relocated to San Francisco, California. Max was born in Germany in 1914. He lived on a kibbutz in Israel for several years, and trained as a welder to help build the fledgling country. Max immigrated to San Francisco, California, where he and Elsa met at a Sierra Club function. Max became a draftsman, and Elsa ran her own tailoring business. They were insatiable readers, hikers, campers, and world travelers, and were devoted to social justice and environmental protection. Max always planned to return to Israel at retirement. They realized that goal and lived in Israel for 8 years until Max died in 1987. Elsa passed away in California in March 2020.
Their legacy includes a generous gift to the New Israel Fund as well as gifts to the Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, and Women Who Weld in Detroit, Michigan. Elsa was disturbed by the current state of affairs in Israel and believed the New Israel Fund was the organization to help Israel reach its founding dreams of a just, democratic, and inclusive society that Max cherished in his youth, and that she and Max shared during their marriage.
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