Words cannot heal the pain or compensate for the loss we all feel today. Steven, Stuart - your loss is our loss. Joyce meant so much to so many. To me she was a friend, a mentor, a confidant and a leader. She took me, as she did so many of us, under her wing, and always found the time and energy to share, with motherly love and care, her infinite knowledge, experience and insight. Her love, passion, energy and devotion were second to none.
Shortly before I assumed my position, I was briefed by my predecessor on the region covered by the consulate. When he got to the state of Ohio he made it short and to the point “Joyce" he said "will be there for everything you need to know". How absolutely right he was.
Joyce went out of her way to strengthen ties between Israel and Ohio and further Israel – US relations. On second thought, she didn’t really go out of her way. Endless, unconditional love, dedication and passion for Israel was Joyce’s way, always.
"For the sake of Zion I will not be silent. For the sake of Jerusalem I will not rest.” - with that passage Joyce concluded every issue of her weekly leadership report.
Joyce chose the word "Victory” as the subject of an email she sent me on March of 2014, upon receiving news that Governor Kasich authorized the signing of an agreement between Israel and Ohio that Joyce had been diligently working on for over six years to get accomplished.
Victory… - think of the excitement, the passion, the determination and perseverance folded in that single word. That was Joyce. That was Joyce with her family; That was Joyce with the community, and that was certainly Joyce whenever it came to Israel.
The state of Israel owes a great deal of gratitude to Joyce Garver Keller. Her achievements on behalf of Israel are many, too numerous to mention. They were acknowledged most recently in a letter that Prime Minister Netanyahu had written Joyce on the occasion of her retirement event, which took place not even a year ago, in June of last year. I would like to read to you parts of that letter, if I may:
June 25, 2015
Dear Ms. Garver Keller,
Congratulations on your retirement from Ohio Jewish Communities this month after 25 years of distinguished communal service.
It is my privilege to extend greetings from Jerusalem and words of honor on this celebration of your career. Your contributions have been a tremendous asset to the eight Jewish federations throughout Ohio... Furthermore, your service in the past 25 years has helped strengthen the relationship between the state of Israel and the state of Ohio.
Your illustrious career accomplishments are a positive reflection on yourself and Ohio Jewish Communities....you have made many remarkable contributions over the course of your service...I thank you again for your extraordinary service to the community.
Prime Minister of Israel
As we mourn her sudden and unexpected Passing, I also know that each of us will consider himself or herself extremely fortunate to lead a life filled with as much love, passion, sense of purpose and sense of fulfillment, as was the life led by Joyce Garver Keller.
יהי זכרה ברוך
May her memory be blessed