Jeanne Fine and her granddaughters (l to r): Gali Gordon, Michal Bollinger, Dana Fine
1910 will always be remembered as the year that the four provinces in Southern Africa combined to form the Union of South Africa with Dominion status. 1911 however, will be remembered for Italy’s annexation of Tripoli and Cyrenaica and, of course, the birth of Jeanette Lipshitz, later to become Fine by her marriage in 1939 to Matthew.
She was born in the Strand to Henny and Max Lipshitz, immigrants from Russia and Lithuania. She had an older brother, Marcus, and an older sister, Anne. Jeanne, as she preferred to call herself from an early age, was educated at the Good Hope High School in Cape Town where she captained the netball team and played tennis and badminton. She and Matthew had two children - Leon, born in 1943, and Sandra, born in 1948. Tragedy struck when her beloved Matthew died in 1964 aged 54.
Life wasn’t easy raising two children and working as a legal secretary. However she still found time in the 50s to become one of the founders of the Weizmann Teenage Club, formed to provide activities for Jewish youth in Cape Town.
In 2000 Jeanne made aliyah to join her daughter, Sandra, in Israel and came directly to live in Protea Village, being one of the very first residents.
Even at the age of 100, she is still a very active member of the ESRA-Protea Knitting Circle, formed by the late Ita Weiner, which regularly donates all its handmade output to Ethiopian children. Jeanne’s sweaters are much admired for their beauty and warmth.
While she doesn’t get around as much as she used to, she has many friends here and is loved by all. She has a caregiver, but Jeanne herself is not the greatest of care “takers”, preferring to do as much as she can on her own. Her mind is sharp; she is fully aware of what goes on around her and enjoys the company of family and friends. She has always played a pivotal role in keeping the family together. A testament to this was the presence at her recent 100th birthday celebration of more than 20 members of the family who specially made the trip from England, South Africa and the United States to join over 30 Israeli family members in expressing their great love for her.