Fred Kahan, retired Los Angeles-area director of the Jewish National Fund of America, the support organization that has turned millions of desert acres into the nation of Israel, died Tuesday.
He was 77 and died in his Studio City home of an apparent aneurysm, a spokesman for the fund said.
Born in Jerusalem as the descendant of 11 generations of rabbis, Kahan came to the United States after World War I and attended a seminary in New Jersey. He decided to pursue a secular career, however, and after working with the American Jewish Congress began a long affiliation with the Jewish National Fund.
The fund traces its beginnings to the early part of the century, when the concept of a homeland for Jews was being discussed.
The fund over the years has redeemed desert land for farms and cities and has planted more than 200 million trees in Israel, forming forests and beautifying cities and parks.
Kahan also was active in civic affairs, serving on the Los Angeles County Public Social Services Commission and the city Board of Traffic Commissioners and Community Redevelopment Agency.
He was awarded the Israel Freedom Medal in 1966 and a Fred Kahan Forest was created in his honor in Israel.
Survivors include his wife, Rose, two daughters, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.