Reuma Eldar, one of the legendary figures of Israel Radio who worked at Kol Israel for 40 years, died on Sunday at age 90.
Eldar, and her younger brother Moshe Hovav, who died in 1987, were both born with deep radiophonic voices, and were among the few broadcasters who could accurately pronounce Hebrew gutturals such as the ayin and the chet.
They attributed this latter ability to the fact that they spoke Hebrew at home with their Yemenite parents and grandparents.
Early risers would hear a recording of Hovav reciting the Shema with all the drama it entailed, and people who wanted to know the time by contacting the telephone company, could hear a recording of Eldar proclaiming the hour of day. She would also broadcast the time every the hour on the radio where she worked for forty years as a news reader, interviewer and editor.
She also introduced reading to the blind on radio, and recorded more than 20 stories for the blind in order to familiarize them with Hebrew and world literature.
She went into retirement in 1988 following the death of her brother, and in recent years became a victim of Alzheimer’s, to the extent that she could no longer recognize even her closest relatives. She eventually lost her ability to communicate.
In addition to being a mother of three, she was also a devoted aunt to singer Daphna Armoni and to journalist and celebrity chef Gil Hovav.
He wrote on his Facebook account: “Wise, enlightened and funny Aunt Reuma has gone from us and has left a world which has far less love, far fewer values and much more sadness.”
When Eldar began her career as a broadcaster, there were no training facilities, and she more or less had to train herself, and then trained others who came after her.
She was among the most celebrated of female broadcasters in Israel, and when the now defunct Israel Broadcasting Authority was asked to send a representative to light the Independence Day beacon on Mount Herzl in 1990, no-one was considered more deserving of the honor than Eldar.
She will be laid to rest on Tuesday at the Moshav Udim cemetery near Netanya.