Rachel would have been 45 years old this year, but, tragically she passed away on July 29, 1999 at the age of 28 after a courageous six year battle with leukemia. In her all too brief time in this world, Rachel affected the lives of all those who came into contact with her. She cherished life and lived it with a fullness that radiated both her inner and outer beauty. Though it is hard to believe, 2016 marks the 25th anniversary of Rachel and her classmates’ junior year abroad at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The Rachel Simon Project is devoted to keeping Rachel with us, in action and in spirit by renovating The Hillel Theater of Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus, which has been renamed in her memory as The Rachel Simon Hillel Theater. Her Father, Hazzan Murray Simon was on hand to help dedicate the theater with a performance of "Me'Al Pisgat Har Hazofim" by Moshe Rappaport.
Rachel was a true artist: studying ballet, piano, singing, pottery and painting. Her sensitive eye and innate talent led to a career in graphic design. She created and designed inspirational posters for cancer patients and their families that the American Cancer Society distributed to hospitals throughout the country. She brought warmth, creativity and a love of being Jewish to our world. Rachel channeled her enthusiasm for Hebrew U. and her life-changing experiences in Israel to inspire others to attend.
You can see how touching her story and life was by watching her appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show on YouTube. Rachel loved, learned and touched so many of us who still carry her in our hearts every day. As Rachel’s epitaph so eloquently states, “Your life was your greatest work of art”.