Obituary: Nina Ormonde

Passionate volunteer who helped children through Emunah in Britain and Israel


In 1994, at the age of 70, Nina Ormonde entered local politics in Netanya, standing as a candidate for Mavdal, a single issue party linked to Mizrachi, and pledged to improve Yiddishkeit in Netanya. She narrowly lost on a postal vote.

Nina (Nechama) Ormonde, who has died aged 94, was vice-treasurer of British Emunah, and an indefatigable community worker. She was the daughter of Esther and Leivi Raphael Zachinsky who had come to Britain from Slabodko, Belarus in the early 1900s. She was brought up in South London, then considered a desert as far as Judaism was concerned, but her parents’ home was an oasis of chesed (lovingkindness) and Yiddishkeit. The late Lord Chief Rabbi Immanuel Jacobovits used to live at the family home whilst he was the serving Rabbi in New Cross Synagogue.

Her schooling was interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War and at the age of 16 she joined the Women’s Voluntary Service (WVS). The following year she joined the Army Territorial Service (ATS) working in administration. During her army career with the British Forces she attended a moral leadership course for which she was selected by the Chief Chaplain’s Office. This was followed by a stint at the Army Formation College

It was during a meeting of Jewish personnel that she met her future husband Mark Ormonde. He had escaped from Nazi Germany before the outbreak of war, and was a serving officer in RAF intelligence at the time. They married in 1948, and she joined Highgate Synagogue Ladies Guild and when they moved to S.E. London they were both involved in the running of New Cross shul and together established the family business M & N Insurance in the 1950s, which still flourishes today. The family moved to Hendon in North West London, where they continued to be involved with communal affairs.

Nina was then working for North Hendon Adas as well as Emunah for over 20 years, and in 1982 she was made Honorary Vice President of Child Settlement - Emunah. From 1970 until 1983 she she was hon treasurer for Aid for Alyn, a children’s orthopaedic hospital in Jersualem. In that year Emunah England asked her to take charge of their projects in Netanya and to be their World Emunah representative.

So in 1983 Nina and Mark made aliyah and at the age of 62 she threw herself increasingly into her charity work, becoming one of the representatives of Bait Elazraki, a children’s home in Netanya. She helped many of the 200 children there from babyhood to adult life to integrate into Israeli society.

Some of the children now serve at high levels in the Israeli forces, others are involved in Jewish rituals. One of them, now married with two children, recalled how some 15 years ago Nina had saved her life when she was suffering from a brain tumour, collecting funds for her operation and providing constant support. Her charity brought her into contact with presidents, ambassadors and rabbis of both Israel and UK.

As a candidate in Netanya, her promotional material described her arrival from England ten years before where she had worked for Emunah and continued to be involved in voluntary activities in Israel. This included working with immigrants from Russia. Nina was awarded the mayor’s outstanding volunteer award, and in 2003 received the Distinguished Citizen award. She was also awarded the Freedom of the city of Netanya for her communal work.

In a message of condolence Deborah Nathan, Director of British Emunah, said:

“I knew her best in connection with her work for Emunah in Netanya.I had the pleasure of seeing her ‘holding court’ at Cafe Nitsa, always drumming up support for Bet Elazraki and always at the centre of a large group of people, always with the best interests of the children in Emunah’s care at the forefront of her thoughts and actions. Her passion to help the children was truly inspirational. Last year I was in Bet Elazraki when she was honoured in front of a large audience of children, staff and representatives from World Emunah from many countries. It was wonderful to see her there –- surrounded by the children who she had helped so much and cared so deeply for. ”

She is survived by her sons Alvin and Leonard, her brother Cyril and extended family. Her husband predeceased her in 1998.

Leonard Ormonde


Nina Ormonde: born April 4, 1924. Died July 22, 2018

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