How can one define this slim, diminutive ninety-year-old lady? An artist, English and music teacher, devoted mother, talented singer, and social activist?
Anne Bloch’s unique character began at birth. She was born to young Hebrew teachers, Eve and Noah Averbuch, whose Zionist aspirations drove them to leave their families in their Lithuanian birthplace and make aliyah to Mandatory Palestine in the early 1920s. Anne Averbuch Bloch was born in Tel Aviv in 1926, her birth certificate stating that she is a Palestinian.
When Anne was two years old, her parents, finding it difficult to provide for a growing family, were compelled to immigrate to South Africa. Anne grew up in Cape Town where the teachers in the local Jewish school recognized her exceptional talent and creativity at an early age.
She soon became known as an artist whose exhibitions were greatly admired. One of her admirers was a young student of medicine, Archie Bloch, a devoted Zionist. The two were soon engaged, with a major condition on the groom’s side – Anne would have to agree to move to the Land of Israel, which in the interim became the State of Israel.
The passionate artist was bursting with joy as they stepped ashore in Ashkelon to build their family’s future in her own birthplace, now the brand new Jewish State. Dr. Archie Bloch became the founder of Barzilai Hospital, and Anne, the devoted mother of three daughters, each a delightful spark in her new life.
Initially, before the establishment of Barzilai Hosptal, Dr. Bloch pioneered the mother and baby clinics in the Western Negev’s immigrant towns such as Sderot, Ashkelon and the moshavim.
In time, Anne became the center of Ashkelon’s world of art. She branched out from painting with oil and acrylic, to creating masterpieces from fabrics of all kind, wall hangings, dolls, and an endless variety of hats.
When her children grew older, she taught art to children and English through songs with infectious enthusiasm.
Her home, her kitchen and salon are a gallery of her paintings that include themes of nature – especially trees – collages, wall hangings, life-size dolls using every material imaginable and hats.
A review of an exhibition called “Lama Kova” (Why a Hat?) at Hankin Museum in Holon in 2006 describes her “colorful creations with humor and fantasy…” The pièce de résistance however, is a wall hanging inspired by her mother’s saying Money doesn’t grow on trees. Anne’s interpretation is a large wall hanging of a tree with green and silver leaves, and attached to each leaf is a silver lira, no longer in circulation as a monetary unit!
Today, at age ninety, Anne Bloch volunteers at a school, teaching the next generation the joy of art and music and a passion for living.