By Cindy Mindell
WEST HARTFORD – After 15 years as the registered representative for State of Israel Bonds throughout Connecticut and western Massachusetts, Elaine Price is retiring this month.
A West Hartford native, Price inherited her passion for Israel from her grandmother, Rose Rosenstein, who founded Beth David Synagogue in the ’40s, along with Gabriel Levine.
“A love of Israel has always been in my blood,” she says, especially after her grandmother would spend a year at a time in Israel when Price was a child. Eventually, at age 77, Rosenstein decided to make aliyah. “She told our family, ‘Anyone who wants to see me can come to Israel,’ recalls Price, who made 10 or 12 visits to do just that. Rosenstein died in Israel at age 95.
Over her professional life, Price has worked and volunteered throughout the Jewish community of greater Hartford. She served on the board of the Jewish Federation, and as president of Jewish Family Services and National Council of Jewish Women. She led fundraising campaigns for the Bess & Paul Sigel Hebrew Academy and Hebrew Home and Hospital, and was a membership field consultant to Hartford Hadassah.
Price joined the Hartford office of Israel Bonds in 1995, passing two SEC exams to earn her license. The position was a natural fit, she says, and within a few years, the office was breaking sales records.
“Elaine is a consummate professional and leader in the Jewish community,” says Jonathan Lang, executive director of the Israel Bonds Boston office, of which the Hartford office is a satellite. “Her dedication to the Jewish community goes well beyond her 15 years at Israel Bonds.”
Officially known in the U.S. as Development Corporation for Israel, State of Israel Bonds are attractive because they are an investment, not a donation, Price says. “It’s helping people help themselves, the highest form of charity,” she says.
The idea to float bonds was conceived by Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, in the aftermath of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Ben Gurion’s vision was two-fold: to secure crucial funding for immigrant absorption and the construction of vital infrastructure, and to engage Diaspora Jewry in the building and development of the new Jewish state. Israel bond purchases now total more than $25 billion.
Today, Israel depends on $1 billion annually from the worldwide sale of bonds to strengthen its economy. The bulk, $700,000, comes from U.S. sales, with South America and Europe responsible for the remainder. Proceeds are used by Israel’s Finance Ministry for key economic projects, many of them essential to solidifying Israel’s post-independence economy. Revenue helps fund the National Water Carrier, the Dead Sea Works, port construction, and alternative energy resources, among other major undertakings.
Price first visited Israel in 1960, the year she was graduated from high school, and has watched the country evolve into a modern nation. “I have found this work with Israel Bonds very rewarding, and always felt that I was helping Israel while getting paid to do it,” Price says. “To see the country develop superhighways and a high-tech industry is absolutely incredible.”
Price says she is retiring to spend more time with her grandchildren. She plans to get serious about an exercise regimen, read more, and travel with her husband.
“Elaine Price is a legendary professional who has served Israel with great dedication, and has earned the esteem and respect of the community and all her colleagues,” says Raphael Rothstein, Israel Bonds spokesman. “She has left a valuable legacy that we would all do well to honor by continuing to support Israel’s economic development through investment in Israel Bonds.”
Lang says that a replacement is being actively sought. In the meantime, calls will be forwarded to and handled by the Boston office, and Boston staff will be traveling regularly to West Hartford and Springfield. For more information: (800) 916-1918 / www.israelbonds.com.