Helene Rutansky

Obituary of Helene Rutansky

Helene Rutansky was born in Miami Beach, Florida. From her immigrant parents Helene learned about courage, integrity, and following one’s dreams. She earned a BS in Sociology from University of Florida in Gainesville and a Master’s in Education from Florida International University. Her early career was devoted to working with young adults battling addiction.

While in Florida, Helene met Baba Hari Dass, a spiritual teacher from India. After he settled in the Santa Cruz, CA area, Helene moved to study with him and received the spiritual name Jivanti. She helped to found the Mount Madonna Center located in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Jivanti dedicated herself to her spiritual practices and to working at Mount Madonna School, a PK-12th college preparatory school. For 35 years she served in many significant roles including Elementary School teacher, producer of the annual play Ramayana!, College Counselor, Middle and Upper School Director and finally as Co-Head of School.

One of Jivanti’s most cherished and challenging roles was Director of the Girls’ Boarding School at Mount Madonna Center. She supported and influenced many young women during their formative years and they became her close family. Jivanti somehow found time to volunteer at Sri Ram Children’s Home in India founded by Baba Hari Dass.

Helene Jivanti’s life was an exemplary model of dedication and selfless service. She believed in working hard, enjoying the times of celebration and play, and dancing whenever the opportunity opened. She deeply touched and influenced the lives of uncountable persons of all ages. She died very peacefully after a short illness on February 20, 2019. Her presence is already missed. 

Rituals to honor Jivanti’s passing will be held at Mount Madonna Center 445 Summit Road, Watsonville, CA 95076 on Tuesday, March 5th at 9:00AM.  Tax deductible donations in memory of Helene Jivanti may be made to Mount Madonna School www.mountmadonnaschool.org or to Sri Ram Foundation c/o Mount Madonna Center.