Fortune, 100, taught rabbi to make Mid-East delights

AN Egyptian-born woman who moved with her family to Manchester in the 1920s will celebrate her 100th birthday tomorrow.

Fortune Hazan (nee Braka), who lives in Didsbury, was born in Alexandria to Syrian mother Sophie and Lebanese father Isaac, who was from Beirut.

They also spent time living in the Lebanese capital where, according to Fortune’s granddaughter, Elizabeth Bernbaum, she excelled in backgammon.

Mrs Bernbaum said: “Grandma was one of nine children.

“As a young girl, she would often go with David — one of her brothers — to the cafes in Beirut where everyone played backgammon.

“Grandma would shock everyone with how good she was at it.”

The family later moved to Didsbury, which was home to a large number of Syrian, Lebanese and Egyptian Jews, and became members of the Sha’are Sedek Synagogue.

Fortune went to Chorlton Grammar School, where she also excelled.

Mrs Bernbaum, of London, explained: “She loved school but she had a lot of housework to do, which she did not finish until quite late in the evenings. That was when she started her homework.”

Consequently, Fortune went to work at her father’s fabric factory on Princess Street in Manchester city centre.

She married Ezra Hazan, who was Lebanese, in 1938.

They had three children — Marlene, Ivor and Jack.

Ezra died in 1962 and Marlene died 17 years ago.

Ivor was the founder of the Stolen from Ivor fashion chain, where Fortune sometimes worked on the tills.

Mrs Bernbaum continued: “Grandma is strong and kind and her priority has always been her family.

“She still has all her faculties and is still a member of Sha’are Hayim Synagogue.

“Grandma even taught the minister, Rabbi Shlomo Ellituv, how to make Syrian and Lebanese foods such as kibbeh.

“She used to have chocolate and coffee for lunch every day — maybe that is the secret to her long life!”

Fortune has nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

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