February 23, 2020

Obituaries: Activist and Philanthropist Anita Hirsh, 82

Jewish activist and philanthropist Anita Hirsh died Oct. 27 at her home in Studio City. She was 82 years old. 

Hirsh was born in 1936 to Natalie and David Freedman, Russian refugees who had escaped the Bolshevik Revolution.

Throughout her life, Hirsh was devoted to making life better for those in her community and in other countries. The Los Angeles native advocated for persecuted Jews around the world and in the 1970s brought diplomatic attention to Jews in the Soviet Union, helping many of them safely immigrate to Israel.

Hirsh’s accomplishments don’t end there. She helped establish five nursery schools for underserved Jewish, Christian and Arab children in Tel Aviv. She also developed the Hirsh Family Native Habitat Walk in the L.A. River Greenway Trail. She founded the Hirsh Family Early Childhood Development Center in Jaffa to promote coexistence between Israeli Jews and Arabs. Along with her late husband, Stanley, she built the Hirsh Family Kosher Kitchen, which provides food for hundreds of thousands Los Angeles residents, and she most recently supported the construction of Jewish Family Service’s social services Gunther-Hirsh Family Center on Fairfax Boulevard.

Hirsh is survived by her four children, Steven, Adam, Elizabeth and Jennifer, and five grandchildren, Talya, Noa, Aaron, Eden and Kobe.

The family requests that donations be made in her honor to Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles.