||Levine (Kahan) Hanna
Hanna Levin was born in Russia and studied at the high school and conservatorium in Odessa. As a small child, 7-8 years old, she would attend lectures on the subject of Eretz Israel, lectures her brother gave to the youth, and it was then that she began to build a dream of going to Eretz Israel.
After WWI, as soon as it was possible to leave Russia, she left on her way to this country. During 1923 she reached Tel Aviv and a year later married Michael Levin in Rishon Le Zion. From then on and until her dying day she devoted her entire life to public service and took part in all fields of voluntary work in this country.
She began her voluntary work by joining Wizo in 1925 and for many years she was the chairlady of Wizo in Rishon Le Zion and later chairlady of Wizo Israel and also a member of the Board of the World Wizo Organization. In this capacity she placed special emphasis on taking care of new immigrants, cutting down on bureaucracy and finding work for new immigrants. She founded a fund from her own resources for giving loans to new immigrants her time taking care of the Eretz Israel girl soldiers and was nicknamed "mother of the Hebrew girl soldiers".
When she was released she engaged in rehabilitating the soldiers who were being released within the framework of a special department set up by the Jewish Agency and the National Committee for that purpose. In recognition of her outstanding work she was presented with the medal and title of "Gur Aryeh" by the League of Ex-servicemen of all the Armies that Fought against the Nazis. The medal was presented by General Hayim Laskov who was president of the League.
With the outbreak of the War of Independence in 1948 and at the age of 58 she enlisted in the Israel Defence Force and held the No. l service card of the Women's Division. She served as chief enlistment officer in the Women's Division and later as an officer in the army headquarters as a Captain in charge of the Town Officers all over the country and responsible for individual soldier's problems. On completion of her duty she set up a clubhouse for Cultural and Social activities on an army training base which served as an model for similar institutions in other army camps.
On completion of her duty she again started working for the rehabilitation of soldiers, most especially for those that had been wounded in battle. She was one of the founders of the League of Ex-Servicemen and Women and was a participant in all the central bodies of that organization. She was a member of the Board of the National Committee of the Soldiers? Welfare Fund which undertook to look after the Nahal settlements with special emphasis on improving conditions of service of the young soldier boys and girls.
For many years, and until her last days, she would go from settlement to settlement instituting improvements in the standard of food that was served to the soldiers and even enlisted the help of Wizo to this end - soldiers were sent to the Wizo cooking and catering courses and donations of food were sent out to the unit stores. For many decades she was a member of the Wartime Emergency Administration and was finally given the title of lifelong honorary member of the soldiers? Welfare Fund.
Hannah Levin was elected six times as a member of the local council and town council of Rishon Le Zion. At the end of the 30's she was head of the education dept. of the local council and worked for the development of the educational institutions and the maintenance of youth clubs. In addition to education she held the portfolio for health and social welfare.
As Mayor of Rishon Le Zion from 1956 until 1960, Hanna Levin was the first and only woman Mayor until the 1998 elections.
During her Mayorship a road was laid down that joined the town to its seashore with the purpose of developing the area of the sand dunes; the municipal psychological service was set up; she instituted the school dinners programed as well as a glass of cocoa for the school children on the assumption that many of the children were not being properly nourished or that being hungry they were unable to learn properly; she opened youth clubs in the village for the first time, set up a municipal conservatorium for the study of music; allocated land to build an old-age home for Israeli and British army pensioners. She laid greatest emphasis on education which, in her opinion, should be placed at the top of all national preferences and in support of her convictions she donated large sums of her own money as grants to needy pupils and students as well as contributing a large sum of money towards the building of a Wizo House in Rishon Le Zion. The house serves as a clubhouse for Wizo members as well as a clubhouse for children and is named for Hanna and Michael Levin. She made sure that the ultra-religious schools (that were not part of the national education system) should be included in the local budget; she initiated the transfer of the Rothschild Officials? House from PICA to the municipality. To this end she obtained the agreement of Yaakov Shapira, the Director of the Winery to whom the building had been given by Rothschild in recognition and friendship. Hanna Levin dedicated the lower story of the house as a Memorial House for the Fallen and, as to the upper story; she promised Shapira that a Wine and Grape Museum would be set up there.
From then on she made a continued effort to fulfill her promise and was unable to accept her failure to do so. For many years Hanna Levin was a member of the public council for planning and building and of the wartime emergency services ("Pesah"). She volunteered her help in army camps and would lecture for the soldiers and she would visit the army detention units for detained girl soldiers where she would give lectures for them in an attempt to impress them with a love of Israel and the Land of Israel. Throughout her later years she continued her personal aid to new immigrants working with them until they were successfully integrated and even afterwards. Reading evenings were held in the home of Hanna and Michael Levin and most especially one can recall most enjoyable readings by Simha Hodorov of the works of Shalom Aleichem.
In 1984 Hannah Levin was chosen to light a torch at the traditional ceremony on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem for the opening of Independence Day celebrations in recognition of her contribution to society and the broad spectrum of her character.
Hanna Levin was a woman of principle, personal honesty, love of her people and its country in decades of voluntary work and in her contribution to public interests and individuals and in her absolute refusal to receive public monies, not even in return for expenses incurred. And, as to the sanctity of family, Hanna Levin, herself childless, instigated gathering of her wider family with the express purpose of maintaining the unity of the family, a duty she took upon herself many years earlier when her father-in-law , Asher Levin, who was the head of the family, passed away.