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Faye Schenk Dead at 72

August 18, 1981
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Faye Schenk, a prominent Zionist leader, died at the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center from a heart attack today. She was 72 years old. She was the head of the World Zionist Organization’s organization department and had been residing in Israel since 1978.

In a lifetime of service spanning some four decades, Mrs. Schenk held major positions of Zionist leadership, including the presidency of Hadassah and

the American Zionist Federation before making aliya. She was born in Des Moines, Iowa, Aug. 17, 1909 to Naphtali and Rebecca Henz Zelchik. She earned her B.A. and M.A. degrees from Drake University, and in 1933 married Rabbi Max Schenk.

Her devotion to the creative survival of Jewish peoplehood was formed and focused, in large measure by two late giants of the American rabbinate: Her father, renowned Talmudic scholar, Rabbi N. H. Zeichik, and her husband, Rabbi Schenk, a communal leader who served as president of the Zionist Federation of Australia and New Zealand and of the New York Board of Rabbis.

After graduation from Drake, where she later taught, she and her husband lived in Sydney, Australia for ten years. During that time she held leadership positions in WIZO, the Women’s International Zionist Organization. The couple returned to the United States in 1949 and settled in New York. Mrs. Schenk soon became active in Hadassah and held many major national posts prior to her election as president.


She also served as vice chairman of the National Council of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a Hadassah delegate to five World Zionist Congresses and a member of the Board of Governors of the Hebrew University, and on the Presidium of the Zionist General Council, Executive of the World Zionist Organization-American Section, and the Boards of Directors of the United Israel Appeal and of the Jewish National Fund. In 1974, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion conferred on her the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.

(In New York Frieda Lewis, president of Hadassah, spoke for the entire National Board, the staff and the thousands of members of Hadassah when she said today: “We lost not only a great Zionist and colleague, but each of us feels as if we personally lost a wonderful friend.”

(The American Zionist Federation, in a statement issued by Rabbi Joseph Sternstein, president, said the Federation “profoundly mourns the sudden and untimely passing of our past president.” The statement said Mrs. Schenk “possessed great human qualities which augmented the excellence of her Zionist accomplishment.”

(Leon Dulzin, chairman of the WZO Executive, and Charlotte Jacobson, chairman of the WZO-American Section, said in a statement that “The Executive of the WZO and its affiliates throughout the world are profoundly saddened and deeply shocked by the sudden death of a distinguished and beloved colleague. She devoted all her energies and talents to the Zionist movement and the advancement of life everywhere and made a positive contribution to the work of all the organizations and committees on which she served.”)

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