A tribute by Raanan Gal (Past Member and Acting Chairman of “Ahava” Executive Board):
Jacky, Dear friend,
For several years we served together as volunteer members of the Board of “Ahava” Children & Youth Village.
When it became apparent that you would not be able to continue as Board Chairman I was asked, at your personal recommendation, to step in for you for a while, a period which actually took longer than expected, and until our retirement from “Ahava” together some months ago.
Despite the time of difficult treatments that you endured, and even after their completion, throughout the entire period you were always up-to-date, always questioning, taking care to be abreast of everything going on at “Ahava”. You were a friend and a full partner in all the deliberations and decisions taken, even in the most complex of them.
We always found, both of us, a togetherness and mutual respect resulting in a true friendship that was manifested in our many conversations, including those at inclement times, such as the time when we spoke from our respective hospital beds… it can safely be said that we were on the same wavelength.
You departed from us in a very untimely fashion, in all respects, and you will be sorely missed, with your wisdom, your thoughtfulness and unassuming demeanor that were so characteristic of you.
Farewell, we loved you!
A tribute by Daniel Ariel (CEO of "Ahava"):
I remember well our first introductory talk some years ago when you asked to start volunteering at “Ahava”. Understated and quiet, but with elegant class.
You were the friend that Dudu Sagie brought to us, and you told us your thoughts on what was important in life and what was less so, about your wish to escape the career race and the chasing after the bourgeoise lifestyle. You simply wanted to be with Pessi and the family, to take time to enjoy life.
You started out by arriving one day a week for several hours to volunteer to be with the kids and staff at one of the group homes. That extended into many weeks, months and years. That activity filled you with such a sense of enjoyment and meaning that even when we pulled you into more and more involvement in the Executive Board you did not give up those precious hours with the children on campus.
You took on the role of Chairman of the Board with the utmost sincerity and immediately delved into all the issues and challenges facing Ahava at the time. At the same time it seemed as if you were not entirely comfortable in the position of power, and if you must do it, then the best way is attired in a tee-shirt and sneakers (and sometimes with a sneaked cigarette).
You provided wise and sensitive leadership to the Board for several years, through rough times and calmer years.
To me you are a man of integrations. A combination of distant toughness and mildness and compassion; Of a demeanor of sedate calmness and an internal turmoil bought on by various events; Of the executive bank manager and inner child who refuses to grow up. And mostly a fusion of a big person who is humble and respectful of others, whoever they may be.
It is important to reiterate that all your activities at Ahava were completely on a voluntary basis.
We had the privilege to get to know and to admire your pleasant, respectful and serene character.
On behalf of the “Ahava” Children & Youth Village Association and myself, I want to thank you for being part of our lives.
We will remember you forever with love, from “Ahava”.
Jacob (Jacky) Even (About Jacky, by the family):
Jacob – Yaakov Epstein was born in Haifa in 1951, son to Aviva and Efraim z”l, and a brother to Yigal.
In his early childhood years the family lived in Hillel St. in the Hadar district, but most of his childhood took place in Raanan Street, where is family lived, close to his grandparents Miriam and Aharon Agrari z”l.
Young Yaakovik went to elementary school at “Amami” in Herzl St. before it was called “Yesodi”. As he grew into youthhood he learned humanistic studies at Ironi H high school and most of his free time was spent at the local “Tzofit” chapter of the Scouts youth movement. It was there that he got his nickname “Jacky “.
When he achieved senior level he passed down his accumulated knowledge to the younger troops, and among the staves, ropes and summer camps he first met the young girl scout Pessi (Pnina) Meir, who eventually became his wife and lifelong partner.
In the spirit of the young State, Jacky changed his family name of Epstein to the Hebrew name Even just prior to his conscription into the IDF military.
In 1969 Jacky joins the 7th Brigade of the IDF Armored Corps, completes his combat training and goes on to tank commander training. Eventually he starts training become an officer at the IDF Officers Training School, but after contracting Hepatitis he dropped out and was transferred to the Armored Corps training school as an Instructor. Jacky decided to sign on for some years as a sergeant major.
In 1975 Jacky and Pessi get married and move to Beer Sheva to continue their studies. Jacky studied Industrial Management Engineering and Pessi took Physical Education. In Beer Sheva they had their first born Sharon and later, after moving to the Krayot area, their younger son Ori was born.
Most of his working years Jacky spent within Bank Igud, initially as an Authorized Signatory, and later on, after accumulating experience and seniority he is promoted to the Ashdod Asst. Branch Manager, and later to the position of Nahariya Branch Manager. Jacky came full circle when he was appointed Manager of the Haifa main branch and then achieving the position of Head of Retail Banking Division at the Head Office in Tel Aviv.
After retiring from the bank, Jacky did a lot of traveling around the country and the world with his wife and with friends, also taking the time to enjoy his grandchildren, Danielle the eldest and Maoz the youngest, the children of Sharon and Miri. Danielle used to come to Ahava to do horseback riding on Eden the horse.
Jacky managed to fill his leisure time with meaning by volunteering at Ahava since 2014, initially as a volunteer at one of the group homes and as a member of the General Assembly. Just one year later, he was asked to join the Executive Board as Chairman, a position he filled until August 2021 when he was forced to take leave of absence to fight the cancer that he was diagnosed with, all the time hoping to return. However, tragically for all of us, the disease prevailed and finally took him in 2023. Jacky did not return to “Ahava”.
May his memory be blessed.