Rona Ramon died today and the Jewish people lost a beloved member of our community.
I was introduced to Rona and her husband Ilan in 2002 by Ellen and Louis Krinsky. Ilan, Israel’s first astronaut, was stationed in Houston in preparation for a flight aboard Space Shuttle Columbia the next year. With Ilan in training, Ellen and Louis thought it would be good idea if Rona and her children, Asaf, Tal, Yiftach and Noa, spent a summer in Bruceville just as their daughters, Lauren and Dorey did years before.
I’m grateful that they did. Rona and her family fell in love with Greene and we were grateful to have them as part of our family. Even after she lost her husband Ilan, who died in 2003 while aboard the Columbia, her children continued to come to camp while Rona served as a teacher, parent, friend and role model to so many people, particularly our Mishlachat, or Israeli counselors, who were grateful to experience the magic of GFC alongside someone they so deeply admired.
After Ilan’s death, Rona founded the Ramon Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting academic excellence and social leadership among Israel’s people. She was a true “shlicha,” or emissary, who represented the very best of her country. Rona left a lasting impression on everyone she ever met at GFC, me included, and it became a more sacred place because of her.
Our love goes out to Tal, Yiftach and Noa, who survive their mother, father and brother, Asaf.
Zichronah Livracha. May her memory be a blessing.