These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

Faces of Pardes: Meet Mirta Eifer

Posted on January 27, 2012 by Suzi

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By Suzi Brozman

She’s quiet, she sits back behind Karen Feuer and near Dr. Bernstein, so unless you’re looking for her, you might just miss Mirta.  And that would be a real shame!

At Pardes, Mirta means money…not giving it out, but accounting for it.  As the Finance person, she’s in charge of the bookkeeper, the salaries, preparing budgets, working with the development team and much more.  “There are foundations…we receive money from outside sources.  They require reports, I prepare them. We also receive money from the government, and I work with that.  It’s good that the government recognizes our worth.  We get money from MASA through the Jewish Agency, and I deal with the reports.  Generally, I’m in charge of the cash flow.”

A native of Buenos Aires, Mirta came to Israel 30 years ago after attending Jewish schools and college and getting married.  “I had the good luck to live in Argentina when it was a good place for Jews—schools, places to go.  You could call it the Pardes of South America, with a high level of culture back then.  It was very safe for kids, but it’s not safe now for anybody.”

She grew up with many options, able to travel safely around the city as a teen, even coming home by bus in the middle of the night.  There was freedom to learn, to do whatever she chose.  “The Jewish community in Buenos Aires was not so religious, but very Zionist.  There was a high degree of identification with Israel.”

She still visits Argentina once a year.  Her two children were born here and the highlight of her life, her 6-month-old granddaughter.  “It’s amazing, a big miracle.  They live near Tel Aviv.”  She delights in seeing the family frequently.

Away from money matters, Mirta does sports.  “Moving my body is healing my soul so I do it as much as I can…going to the gym, swimming, walking.  If I’m not moving myself, it hurts.  I always find the time to do something.  It helps my integrity.”

Besides exercise and the new baby, Mirta’s focus is on Pardes.  You’re liable to find her at 6 a.m. in front of her home computer checking the balance in Pardes’ bank account.  “I’ve been at Pardes over 10 years.  The economy has affected us.  We depend on income from students and donations.  But we manage.  We recover financially.  The goal here is not to make money, but to educate.  We make it happen.”