Rena Garonzik, 92

Rena (nee Ben-Aziz) Garonzik, 92, of Lancaster, passed away on April 25, 2011. Born on Armistice Day Nov. 11, 1918 in Basra, Ottoman Empire (now Iraq) she was the daughter of the late Ezekiel and Rachel Ben-Aziz.

At the age of 12, her family moved from Baghdad to Tel Aviv, British Mandate Palestine. As a teenager, she joined the Hagganah, a youth development organization and the predecessor to the Israel Defense Forces. After helping a medical team care for an injured member, she decided her future would be in nursing. Years before the war in Europe, Palestine was a magnet for Germans escaping Nazi persecution. It was at this time that she learned to read and speak German while teaching elders to learn Hebrew.

With high school behind her, she became a nurse trainee at a British hospital in Tiberius run by the Church of Scotland. As a graduate nurse, she was accepted by the Hadassah Hospital in Tel Aviv. She worked as an operating room nurse during the tumultuous years prior to Israel’s independence. In 1947, she left Palestine for advanced surgical training at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.  During Christmas break, she vacationed in Florida, where she met and later married Nathan Garonzik, for a union of 63 years.

Rena mastered 4 languages, teaching modern Hebrew at Franklin & Marshall College and French at Lancaster Country Day School. She traveled widely and had an unbounded appetite for the visual and performing arts and French food and wine.  She loved her family, her home in Lancaster, and Lancaster County’s abundance. 

In addition to her husband Nathan, she is survived by 3 sons: Arnon of Cherry Hill, NJ, Elan of New York, NY, and Ronnie of Brookline, MA.  Also surviving are her 4 grandchildren: David, Sarah, Oren and Yarden; her brother Ben Ben-Aziz of California, and her two sisters, both of Israel, Dahlia and Hannah.

Services are private and at the convenience of the family. Donations may be made in Rena’s memory to Hadassah, 50 West 58th St., New York, NY 10019. To send an online condolence, please visit:

Leave a condolence on this Memorial Page

Be sure to include your name

Please note that your condolence will not appear on this page until it is reviewed. Condolences usually appear within 24 hours of being submitted.

It was my honor to be part of her health care . . . You & she are in my prayers.

Kat, Cardiac Consultants

Dear Nathan & Family,
We were saddened to hear of the loss of Rena.She was quite a lady.
Wishing you all the best,
Carol & Michael Gleiberman

To Elan Garonzik
Extendng deepest sympathy to you and your family . 
Susan Snavely Evans        

Send Flowers Online

Offering Lancaster, PA funeral services for over 75 years.

Our six funeral homes in Lancaster County makes it easy and convenient to make arrangements and host services close to home.

  • Charles F. Snyder Funeral Home Downtown Lancaster
  • 414 East King St.
  • 717-393-9661
  • Charles F. (Chip) Snyder, Jr. Funeral Director / Supervisor
  • more info
  • Charles F. Snyder Funeral Home Lititz Pike
  • 3110 Lititz Pike
  • 717-560-5100
  • Charles F. (Chad) Snyder, III Funeral Director / Supervisor
  • more info
  • Charles F. Snyder Funeral Home Millersville
  • 441 North George St.
  • 717-872-5041
  • Mark D. Burkholder Funeral Director / Supervisor
  • more info
  • Spacht-Snyder Family Funeral Home Lititz, PA
  • 127 South Broad St.
  • 717-626-2317
  • Jacqueline Adamson Funeral Director / Supervisor
  • more info
  • Bachman-Snyder Funeral Home & Crematory Strasburg, PA
  • 7 South Decatur Street
  • 717-687-7644
  • Norman T. Mable Funeral Director / Supervisor
  • more info
  • Charles F. Snyder Funeral Home Willow Street, PA
  • 2421 Willow Street Pike
  • 717-464-4600
  • Kelly Gramola Townsend Funeral Director / Supervisor
  • more info