Risa Igelfeld devoted 40 wonderful years as a preschool teacher at Westside Jewish Community Center. Now, she is turning 100 years old and we want to celebrate and honor her by establishing the Risa Igelfeld WJCC Preschool Scholarship Fund. This will allow children of all backgrounds to get a good start in life by attending WJCC Preschool.
For more information about Risa's birthday celebration, please email Erin or call 323.556.5238.
Westside JCC is delighted to honor Risa by establishing the Risa Igelfeld WJCC Preschool Scholarhip Fund. In lieu of gifts, Risa requests donations to this fund.
Risa Igelfeld began her life on November 1, 1917 in Vienna, Austria. As a young woman she fled Austria in 1938 to escape Nazi persecution. Arriving in England, she worked as a nanny, where she discovered her lifelong passion of working with children. She soon became a nursery school teacher and went on to earn a degree in Early Childhood Education.
In 1948, Risa wed Gershon Igelfeld. In building their life together, Risa and Gershon had two children, David and Ruthie. After Gershon died, Risa was fortunate enough to connect with her dear friend Ralph, with whom she shared a sense of humor and musical interests.
Risa started teaching at the Hollywood Los Feliz JCC in the mid-1950s. She taught for 4 years before taking time off after her daughter’s birth. In 1963 Risa began teaching at Westside JCC and stayed for 40 years! Risa loved teaching children: she never yelled and her goal was always to build their self-esteem. More than that, Risa saw the parents as her pupils too, helping them learn to respect their children as much as she did. WJCC became her home away from home. She only retired at age 84 because Ralph thought it was time for them to travel.
In addition to being a superb educator, Risa is a musician and performer. She played the accordion and piano, and still sings in 17 different languages. She is fluent in English and German, and speaks some Yiddish, Hebrew, French and Spanish. She has spent her life learning and teaching in these languages and in the languages of love, respect, and positivity. Westside JCC is very fortunate to count Risa as part of our community.