Anita J. Willens


Anita J. Willens, of Chevy Chase, died on March 3. Born in New York City on June 27, 1926, Anita grew up in the Yiddish Theatre as the daughter of Bella Mysell and Alexander Olshanetsky and later became the stepdaughter of Herman Yablokoff. After moving to Bethesda in the early 1950s, she began teaching English and social studies at Leland Junior High. She then held the positions of counselor at Walter Johnson High School, vice principal at Walt Whitman High School and principal at Eastern Junior High.

In 1975, she became the first female principal of Woodward High School. Following her retirement in 1983, she served as the director of the Charter House Play Reading Group, and was retained by Jewish groups around the Washington area giving lectures on Herman Yablokoff’s memoir, “Der Payatz: Around the World with Yiddish Theater.”

Anita was preceded in death by her husbands, Jules Abrams and Joseph Willens. She is survived by her children, Michael and Gina Willens; her former daughter-in-law, Kathryn King; her grandchildren, Max (Haley Richardson) and Natalie Willens; and her great-granddaughter, Kenna. Contributions may be made to the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene ( Arrangements entrusted to Torchinsky Hebrew Funeral Home.

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