(photo credit: Courtesy)
The name of the Bloomfield family of Montreal, has for more than 65 years been closely associated with the development of the State of Israel. The family has been attached to the Land of Israel for more than a century.
The Bloomfield family gave generously to projects large and small, some of which were funded by Bernard and Neri Bloomfield and others that were either initially funded or taken over by Bernard and Neri’s son and daughter, Harry and Evelyn. Harry Bloomfield’s favorite is the Bloomfield Gateway to the Negev building in Beersheba, which was created in honor of his mother through the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael- Jewish National Fund.
Neri Bloomfield died last week in Canada, leaving a legacy of deep commitment to the Zionist enterprise. Zionism was in her genes. Her grandmother had been a delegate to the Second Zionist Congress in Basel in 1898.
Born Neri Judith Loewy in Bucharest, Romania, she grew up in London and migrated to Canada in 1941. She married Bernard Bloomfield in 1943, and for most of her life was active in Zionist organizations and institutions in both Canada and Israel, almost always rising to top executive roles.
Gifted with strong leadership qualities, an effective fund-raiser and generous philanthropist, she was the youngest national president of Canadian Hadassah- WIZO serving from 1972 to 1976. She was also the first woman to be elected president of the Canadian Zionist Federation, a post she held from 1984 to 1987. A year later, she became the first female president of the Jewish National Fund of Canada.
She broke the glass ceiling in other places too – as the only female member of the Board of Directors of Bank Hapoalim (Canada).
She was a member of the International Board of Governors of the Hebrew University and a member of the Board of Governors of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.
She also served in important capacities on various boards of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, the Jewish Agency, the World Zionist Organization and the Jerusalem Foundation among others.
She was involved with education, vocational training, science, trees, parks, forests and reservoirs and much more. She also headed the Lady Davis Foundation, which she took over following the death of her husband. The foundation funded many projects in Canada, and in Israel the Lady Davis Fellowship Trust awarded scholarships to doctoral and post doctoral students of the Hebrew University and the Technion.
Long before that, she and her husband funded the network of Amal vocational high schools.
Bloomfield was also actively involved with medical, educational and cultural institutions both Jewish and non-Jewish in Canada.