NAME: Maisels, Ahuva

LEHI ALIAS: Ilana

DATE OF BIRTH: July 4, 1929

DATE OF DEATH: December 28, 2020

Ahuva was born to Avraham Yaakov Gerlitz and Hava née Seffie on July 4, 1929 in Jerusalem. Her family was a traditional Hasidic one, holding on to the legacy of the town they hailed from, but influenced by modern life and contemporary realities. The family home was an inspiration for the children, who valued dedication, loyalty, love of the nation and of the homeland, and particularly love for Jerusalem. The highest ideals were “Torah study is equal to all of them” and “All Israel is responsible each for the other.” The study of the Bible helped them appreciate the unbreakable bond of the Jewish people to their land. Every day, they would eat at least one meal together, dissecting the news of the day and of the Jewish world. Ahuva was greatly influenced by these family discussions, ultimately joining Lehi to banish the foreign occupier.

Ahuva studied in the Mizrahi Girls School and the Spitzer School. In 1946, she finished her training as the Beit Yaakov Teachers’ Seminary. She was in the girls’ division of the youth movements Ezra and Agudath Israel. In 1945, she joined Lehi and received the nom de guerre Ilana. She served in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, putting up posters, smuggling equipment and conducting surveillance.

She was sent to the Municipality of Tel Aviv’s children’s institute, in Hadar-Ramatayim, where she met her future husband, Yaakov Maisels, who was a Lehi member as well. This institute was the base for different underground activities, including storing weapons. It was run by Miriam Gehatia (Gesundheit), whose husband was a central figure in Lehi. Ahuva helped him assemble and deal with archival material.

After Lehi was disbanded, she was a teacher and educator at the Bar-Ilan School in Tel Aviv. Afterwards, from 1956 to 1978, she taught in the Young Israel school in Montreal and the Yeshiva of Central Queens in New York. In 1970, she received her degree in biblical studies and Hebrew literature from Queens College.

Ahuva was active in the Freedom Fighters of Israel Heritage Association, directing the scholarship committee. In her spare time, she enjoyed lectures about Torah, Jewish history and the history of the underground. She organized celebrations and ceremonies and was proficient in computers.

She married Yaakov Maisels, and they had two sons, a daughter, and numerous grandchildren. Ahuva lives in Hashmona’im.

Yaakov passed away on September 24,1998.

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