Chaim Kaufman z"l
Antwerp, Belgium
A generous friend, a great leader

It is with great sadness that we learned right before Pesach about the passing of our dear  friend Chaim Kaufman, recipient of the Yakir Keren Hayesod Award in 1998.  
Chaim Kaufman was born in Bukovina, Romania, in 1926.
haim kaufman.jpg
He arrived in Belgium in 1948 and became a very successful diamond trader. With his wife Renee at his side, he was a committed Zionist as well as a long-time leader and volunteer for Keren Hayesod Antwerp. For more than 40 years he would canvass dozens of donors every year.  He himself was a major donor, who served as  a shining personal example.As a religiously observant Jew, Chaim Kaufman z"l always viewed assisting others a matter  of primary importance.  A community leader and a great Zionist, he applied this lofty principle to all aspects of life. 
As an example of his never-ending activities involving Jewish and Zionist matters, in November 2007, he facilitated  the visit of world-known Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko to Israel.  A special ceremony was held  in his presence at Yad Vashem, during which he performed a dramatic reading in Russian of his poem “Babi Yar”. Thanks to Chaim Kaufman z"l, Keren Hayesod was a central partner in this historic event.
From left to right: KH Antwerp President Jacques Spijer; KH WBT Chairman,  Johanna Arbib-Perugia; Mr. Chaim Kaufman and guest of honor, Mr. José Maria Aznar, former Spain Prime Minister

Although Chaim Kaufman z"l always shunned the limelight, Keren Hayesod was adamant in conferring on him the Yakir Award in 1998, the year that this prize was first established, in honour of Israel’s 50th birthday, and presenting him with the first Herzl Founder diploma in 2011 (see picture). He had a close personal relationship with Israel, which he visited often, since his three children live here with their families.
May the memory of this great leader and friend  be an inspiration for all to follow.

A statement from Jacques Spijer, Keren Hayesod Antwerp Chairman

Dearest friends of Israel,
We at Keren Hayesod Antwerpen are mourning the passing of one of the pillars of our community and great supporter of Keren Hayesod Antwerpen,Chaïm Kaufman z¨l.
I met Chaim for the first time, when he had to judge my abilities to take over the presidency of KH Antwerp.
From the moment we started our meeting, he completely blew me over with his gentleness, but he never lost his focus.
He grilled me by asking some difficult questions as to how I would go about campaigning on behalf of KH.
However the kind but forceful way in which he did this, is exemplary for the man Chaïm Kaufman z¨l was.
Whenever I needed the advice of an experienced man on all types of issues I turned to Chaïm.
His advice was always absolutely spot on.
I shall miss his advice, his gentleness, his humor and the wonderful stories he could tell.
Israel has lost a true and great friend.
Jacques Spijer