Survivor's Gift Leaves a Lasting Legacy
ImpactIsrael recently received a $100,000 gift from the estate of our friend, Walter Mehr. While Walter will be missed dearly, his gift — via our L'Chaim Society — will allow us to provide approximately 100 Yemin Orde graduates with academic scholarships for post-graduate studies.
Walter Mehr was a recent widower with no children when he discussed his estate plans with his friend Ken Schoen, a relative of Chaim Peri. Ken, who was more than familiar with Walter’s background and interests, suggested that ImpactIsrael would be an excellent match as a beneficiary of the estate.
Walter grew up in Germany, where his father was a barber who treated local orphans for free. Having miraculously survived Theresienstadt concentration camp, Walter came to the U.S., working as a barber to finance his engineering studies. While he eventually became highly successful, Walter never forgot the many children murdered during the Shoah, and it became important for him to help support Jewish children who are without parents.
Walter was intrigued by the work of ImpactIsrael, and in 2013 he hosted Chaim Peri in his home to understand Chaim’s vision for education and care of at-risk youth in Israel. They stayed in touch up until the time of Walter’s death at the age of 95. Chaim was always proud to tell Walter stories of the many accomplished Yemin Orde and Mechina (pre-military leadership program) graduates.
The ImpactIsrael team and our colleagues in Israel were saddened to hear the news of Walter’s passing. But, when we were notified that Walter left a sizable amount of his estate to our work, we couldn’t help but smile knowing that, thanks for him, so many disadvantaged young people would get a good education, attend college, and go on to do wonderful things.
Walter’s name is now listed on the L’Chaim Society Wall of Honor at Yemin Orde Youth Village. The L’Chaim society was created for individuals who have expressed intent or who already have made financial provisions that will benefit Israel’s at-risk youth through their estate plans. For us, L’Chaim has multiple meanings. “To Life” is, of course, our traditional Jewish salutation of celebrations. L’Chaim also refers to our visionary Chaim Peri.
May Walter’s memory be for a blessing.
For more information about the L’chaim Society and leaving a legacy for at risk youth in Israel, please visit www.impact-israel.org/lchaim-society/