HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS Anna and Michael Kahan were big tennis fans and their newly pledged fund will help many young Israeli tennis players fulfill their sporting aspirations. .
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The future of Israeli tennis has received a welcome boost courtesy of Michael Kahan and his late wife, Anna.
Kahan has recently pledged a sum in the region of $700,000 to the Israel Tennis Centers to fund a program which will see two players, one boy and one girl, receive NIS 100,000 a year to help realize their tennis dreams.
The Michael and Anna Kahan Prize will help pay for travel to tournaments abroad, equipment and to enhance their capacity to become professional tennis players.
Both survivors of the Holocaust, originally from Hungary, the Kahans settled in Queens, NY, and worked in the garment industry. They have one son and a granddaughter and grandson, both of whom played college tennis in Division I in the United States.
As ardent Zionists, the Kahans decided to donate their life savings to help Israel by strengthening Israeli tennis and by developing the next generation of Israeli champions to compete on the world stage and serve as ambassadors for the country.
The first round of prizes will be awarded during the Passover tournament held at the Israel Tennis Center-Ramat Hasharon in April 2016.
“This is the biggest accomplishment in my whole life. I’m 85-years-old, I’m a Holocaust survivor, my wife is a Holocaust survivor and this is my greatest accomplishment that I can do something for Israeli tennis,” said Kahan.
Kahan is hoping his contribution will not only get the program up and running, but will also help fund it for at least the next eight years.
“I really think that this will strengthen Israeli tennis.
I think that through this foundation money I will be able to accomplish something for Israel,” he added.
Founded in 1976, the Israel Tennis Centers is one of the largest social service organizations for children in Israel, serving over 20,000 Israeli children every year. The ITC’s 14 centers stretch from Kiryat Shmona in the North to Beersheba in the South.
“I had the privilege to meet Michael Kahan,” said ITC CEO Danny Gelley. “As a Holocaust survivor, an enthusiastic Zionist and a devoted tennis fan, he sees a great importance in promoting young Israeli players, with national pride very important to him. I’m happy that he trusts the Israel Tennis Centers to realize his vision.”