The Israel “ADI” organization (Ability, Diversity, Inclusion) a not-for-profit provider of residential and rehabilitative care for individuals with severe disabilities this week hosted a virtual memorial ceremony and dedication to honor the life and legacy of Los Angeles philanthropist and real estate investor Judah Hertz z”l, a man known for his grace as a champion of the disability community and longtime supporter of both ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran and ADI Jerusalem.
As the ADI leadership gathered in the Negev to conclude the traditional 30-day mourning period for Judah with words of tribute, hundreds of additional participants from across the United States and Israel tuned in via Zoom and Facebook Live, including the extended Hertz family and their closest friends.
The ceremony also featured the dedication of The Judah Hertz z”l Memorial Garden along with the renaming of The Judah Hertz z”l Safari Petting Zoo and Therapeutic Horse Farm — critical therapeutic resources that he helped establish years earlier to aid ADI’s residents with severe disabilities.
A staunch advocate of people of all abilities and a proud member of the ADI family, Judah chose to invest in numerous projects in the Negev and Jerusalem, including a classroom wing at ADI Jerusalem’s special education school and ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran’s Neuro-Orthopedic Rehabilitative Hospital, which is slated for completion in late 2021, among others. Judah was particularly inspired by the hospital’s projected regional and national reach, seeing it as a rare opportunity to make the greatest possible impact for people from all backgrounds and levels of need across Israel.
Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, Rabbi of the Western Wall and the Holy Sites of Israel, who is also a Board Member of ADI, praised Judah’s humility and lifelong desire to empower others, “nullifying his own will in pursuit of the greater good.
“Every time I spoke with Judah, he would ask, ‘What else is needed? Who else can be helped?’ This was not a nullification of will stemming from helplessness or inability. On the contrary, he understood that everything we have in this world is meant to bring more goodness to it, and he was committed to providing the maximum benefit to others,” Rabbi Rabinowitz related.
“While his heart was medically weak towards the end of his life, he will be remembered for having a very strong heart when it came to helping others.”
Speaking on behalf of the Hertz family, Judah’s eldest son, Yitzchak, expressed sincere gratitude to ADI for honoring his father in this way, explaining that Judah’s relationship with the organization was about much more than charity.
“We all feel so honored to have a real relationship with this organization that our father cared so much about. In the last decade of his life, supporting ADI became his largest philanthropic endeavor. It was something he set aside special time for and was constantly thinking about, because he felt a true emotional connection to the children of ADI. It wasn’t lost on any of us how important ADI was to him. He told us many times how extraordinary this place is and how grateful he felt to be a part of it. We are grateful that we have an opportunity to learn from him and continue his legacy.”
ADI – formerly known as ALEH Jerusalem and ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran — provides the highest-level rehabilitative care for all and is laying the groundwork for the establishment of fully inclusive communities across the country.