Angela Jenshil 521.
(photo credit: Gloria Deutsch)
Angela Jenshil was practically born singing and saw no reason to stop when she
made aliya in 2008 at the age of close to 70. She quickly became known as
a performer for new immigrant communities in Netanya, where she settled, and is
greatly in demand to put on her one-woman shows for the benefit of various
She thinks of herself as an entertainer, and she delights
audiences with her powerful voice and large repertoire of old favorites. She
even sings a few songs in Hebrew, though she confesses that the language is not
her strong point.
She came alone after her husband died, and has two
children here who made aliya years before: her son, Adam, and her daughter,
“I came because of the children,” she says. Nevertheless, she seems
to have made a good life for herself independently with a large circle of
friends in Netanya, an active role in the local synagogue and, of course, her
concerts, which are very popular among the expat crowd and always
She grew up in England and gave her first
performance at the age of 16, having landed a job with a band under the stage
name of Angela Kent. She came from a musical family; her father was a
“I sang in musicals – Annie, Get Your Gun was one
of the first, and I used to do impersonations of Doris Day. We performed for
many charities, including [major UK organization] Norwood, and I was a member of
a group called ‘Starliners.’”
She took a break to get married and produce the
imaginatively named Adam and Eve, but soon got back to singing.
sang in Fiddler on the Roof
, playing one of the five daughters, and years later
I was in it again as Golda,” she recalls.
She appeared in and directed
old-time musical shows, compete with full costume, and performed with several
well-known Jewish comedians, including Alf Fogel. There were other groups
– the Danescrofts and the Mazeltovs – so showbiz was very much a part of her
life. However, she also worked, at one time for the UJA and also at the Jewish
Museum, in administration.
Always a keen Zionist, she was the one who
sent her children here in the first place when they were teenagers and instilled
a love of Israel in them so they wanted to return permanently. And it’s thanks
to her children that she came to live here.
Adam was always involved in
youth movements after gaining a degree at Leeds University in ecology and
zoology, and he made aliya in 1995, working for the Federation of Zionist Youth,
where he met his wife. Today he is the director of the FZY’s year course in
Israel, and he and his wife have three children. Eve became ultra- Orthodox,
married and settled in Ramat Beit Shemesh, where she has since produced seven
Having visited Israel many times, Jenshil decided that Tel
Aviv was too big; she knew Netanya well and liked the idea of being by the sea.
So in April 2008, she packed up and came.LIFE IN ISRAEL
She had found an
apartment on a previous trip, but the builder was living there, and she didn’t
have the heart to insist on his moving out, as his wife had just given
“For three months, I went from one child to the other,” she says.
“They made me very welcome, but it was very hard living out of a
While she loved being with the grandchildren and spending
quality time with her son and daughter and their spouses, she was glad when she
could finally move into her own place.
Almost immediately after arriving
in Netanya, she was contacted by AACI, and a show was organized. Since then,
she’s made countless appearances, and people are always coming up to her and
saying they heard her in London years before.
When she’s not singing or
rehearsing for the next show, she loves a game of bridge and goes two or three
times a week to a club where she can play with like-minded people. When
she first arrived, she found it a good way to meet people and break the
ice. She’s looking forward to a bridge holiday in Eilat with 12 ladies
from the club later on in the year.
Learning Hebrew is proving to be a
small problem, as she doesn’t often show up at the ulpan run by the synagogue
“It’s more of a social thing, really,” she confesses, “and
living in Netanya, quite frankly, you don’t really need to speak Hebrew. But,
well, I’d love to be able to swear a bit.”
She would be the first to tell
you that arriving alone in a new country and settling into a new town when the
family is a long way away is not the simplest thing to do.
“I just had to
take a deep breath, put my shoulders back and plunge in,” she says.