When several hundred people gathered in March in Beit Shemesh for a memorial ceremony to mark one month's passing of Keren Yosef founder Doris Mainzer, known to all as Doris, she was described most often as a person who would never take no for an answer. Immigrating from London in 1996 with her husband Joe to join two daughters already living in Israel, the former Jewish studies teacher planned to retire close to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She had no idea that within a few years she would be affecting some of Israel's most important institutions in truly groundbreaking ways. Local firefighter, Natan Sultan, says that Doris is the ideal example of the tremendous impact that one person can have on an entire community - if they commit themselves. Reuven Harrow, who as a medic and local coordinator for Magen David Adom worked closely with Doris, described her simply as an "enabler." "She could allow you to realize your potential like no one else," he said. "She would give you an assignment and if you agreed to work with her, fine. And if not she would go on to the next person until the job was done. She was never afraid to ask for help and she was also never afraid to do the job herself." Through her tenacious dedication to building Keren Yosef in memory of her husband, Mainzer succeeded in building an infrastructure for Beit Shemesh's first respondents that has become a model for localities all over Israel. She spoke almost no Hebrew, yet Doris was able to gain the attention of some of the nation's most influential decision makers. She even received a letter of commendation from President Moshe Katzav in 2002. Only months before she passed away, she arranged a personal meeting with Minister of Health Danny Naveh to discuss further expansion of Keren Yosef's efforts. Yet according to daughter Gina Kirsch, who has assumed the responsibilities of the always expanding organization, her mother's most lasting attribute was her humility. Kirsch says that in England her mother, a trained opera singer who would certainly have performed professionally if not for her dedication to her observant Jewish lifestyle, "always looked for new opportunities to help people. She would never be satisfied with what's been done so far. There are always new chances to make people's lives better and more secure and she would always make sure to find them."


Relevant to your professional network? Please share on Linkedin

Think others should know about this? Please share