Hayley Varenberg, olah and Ben-Gurion bus crash victim: Full of life

Hayley Varenberg, who made aliyah from South Africa, was killed in the 947 bus crash Monday night. She was recalled fondly by close friends of hers from Jerusalem’s anglo community.

Hayley Sevitz Varenberg (photo credit: SOCIAL MEDIA/MAARIV)
Hayley Sevitz Varenberg
(photo credit: SOCIAL MEDIA/MAARIV)
Close friends of Hayley Sevitz Varenberg, one of the four people tragically killed in the 947 bus accident Sunday night, have paid tribute to a person described as generous, caring and full of life.
 Hayley, 35 made aliyah in 2009 from Cape Town, South Africa and worked as a high-school English teacher.
She lived in Jerusalem’s Katamon neighborhood, and was much loved among the Anglophone community, by colleagues at work, and beyond.
Seven years after making aliyah, Hayley married her husband, Eli Varenberg, in 2016.
On Sunday she got on the 947 bus and was on her way to a gathering of her husband’s family for the first night of Hanukkah before the bus swerved drastically from its path and crashed into a bus stop, killing four passengers and injuring at least 14.
In a statement to the press, Hayley's family said that she had been “an avid Zionist” and was passionate about her work and her students.
"Hayley was dedicated to her family and her community, indescribably kind, modest, caring, and accepting of everyone. She is survived by her husband Eli, parents Alan and Pauline, siblings Belinda, Ariella and Joshua, uncle Aubrey and 10 adoring nieces.”
Those who knew Hayley spoke of her as someone who cared deeply about others, and gave her time and attention to her friends who needed her.
Friends talked of her love of musicals, Chicago and Annie being two of Hayley’s well-known favorites, as well as drama and acting of different kinds.
“She was very sensitive to other people and she went out of her way for people who needed help,” said Miriam Lazear, who grew up with Hayley in Cape Town and said she remembered watching Annie with Hayley during sleepovers.
“Hayley was kind and giving and caring. She really flourished in Israel. She made deep friendships here and she had a strong connection to a lot of people.”
Devorah Nutovicks, another close friend who lived with Hayley for five years, recalled her friend with great affection.
“Hayley was full of life. She loved life, she loved music, she was always optimistic. She had time for everyone and she cared so much about everyone,” said Nutovicks.
She described her friend as someone who was always looking for an opportunity to put on a party, and recalled Purim parties, aliyah anniversary parties, birthday parties and more that Hayley would hold for herself and others.
“She was my first friend and first roommate in Israel. She cared about people around her. She loved to socialize and loved to be around people.
“Hayley was a real presence. She had this energy, an infectious enthusiasm, and she was generous, open and always there for you when you needed her.”
Hayley Sevitz Varenberg’s funeral is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. at Har Hamenuhot Cemetery on Tuesday.