marci kaplan rapp

Since the historic visit last week of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who pledged to support Israel “through fire and water,” United with Israel has chosen a Canadian-Israeli for this week’s Faces of Israel feature: Marci Kaplan Rapp.

Marci Kaplan Rapp and her husband Harold Rapp, both from Toronto, have four children and six grandchildren. Their three sons – ages 29, 27 and 25 – all completed IDF service; their daughter, 19, recently graduated from high school, currently attends a one-year advanced Judaic Studies program for young women in Jerusalem and plans to participate in national service next year.

Whenever a need arises to help the State of Israel and the Jewish people, Marci gets motivated. Since moving to Jerusalem in the fall of 2007, she has contributed in several ways to her new home country.

For example, when son Mordy, an IDF reserve soldier, was stationed at the Gaza border last year during Operation Pillar of Defense, his mother got wind of the fact that his military unit was in need of warmer clothing. She immediately went into action, and within eight hours Marci and Harold raised approximately $10,000 to supplement the clothing and equipment provided by the army and through other donations.

In June 2011, Marci donated a kidney to a total stranger in need. They and their families are now close friends, and Marci has continued to actively encourage others to do likewise through Matnat Chaim (Hebrew for “Gift of Life”), an organization promoting kidney transplantation. Her son Gershy, in fact, followed suit.

Like many olim (immigrants to Israel), Marci and Harold had to reinvent themselves in order to continue making a living in a new country with a different culture and language. In Toronto, Harold had worked for a successful kosher food distributor and Marci was a bookkeeper at Zareinu, a school and treatment center for children with physical and developmental challenges. With the help of MATI Business Development Center, an Israeli program sponsored by the government specifically to assist immigrant entrepreneurs, the couple launched MarSea Modest Swimwear in 2010, which has since evolved into MarSea Modest Swim & Casualwear.

Marci had recognized the void in swimwear for women wishing to dress comfortably yet modestly at a public venue. Their reasons for wearing less-revealing clothing in the hot sun varied from religious dress standards to sun protection to medical or body-image issues. The business has since expanded to include casual clothing for hiking, exercising or just going about in comfort and style. Thus this initiative, which Marci brainstormed, not only succeeded as a business, but it has also helped countless women and young girls who now feel at ease relaxing at the beach, swimming at the local pool and working out at the gym.

“We love living here,” Marci enthused during an interview with United with Israel. “We love everything that comes along with it.”

“I love the multicultural accents,” she said, pointing to the diverse population as well as tourists from around the world.

“Of course, there are things we miss in Canada,” she acknowledged, adding that her family is grateful for having had the privilege to be born and raised in such a wonderful country.

“Whenever I see anyone with any kind of Canadian symbol, like a Canadian flag, I go over the them,” Marci said.

However, “Israel is the homeland of my ancestral people,” she asserted. “I love the history.. I have a great-grandfather buried here on the Mount of Olives.”

Since relocating to Jerusalem, “I would never want to leave the Holy Land. This is my home.”

Author: Atara Beck
Date: Jan. 26, 2014