Debbie Chitiz was born on April 20, 1960, the oldest child of Morrie and Maureen Sacks. She attended King David Linksfield from grade one in 1966 until she matriculated in 1977.
From a very early age Debbie showed interest in sport and especially a natural interest in tennis. Both her parents played tennis and she would go with them to the club and hit the ball against the wall for hours. She loved netball and swimming too.
She represented both King David Linksfield primary school and high school in most of the school’s sports teams: netball, hockey, tennis, athletics, table tennis and was a reserve for the swimming team. In fact, it was the norm to call upon her at any time when a sportsman was short and she would fill whatever position was needed.
As a young girl she participated in whatever tennis tournaments were available to juniors at the time and she also played at and represented Jabula Tennis Club, Sandringham in the junior and senior leagues.
She was awarded sportswoman of the year at King David Linkified in 1976 and recalls being petrified when Mr. Wolff called her to his office as she had never ever stepped out of line. There he proudly informed her that she had been chosen as sportswoman of the year.
Debbie was a member of Habonim Youth Movement for as long as she can remember. She was born into a traditional and Zionistic family and made aliya to Israel straight after matriculation. Following a preparatory course for foreign students she then studied sport at Wingate for a year. The studying was cut short when she returned to South Africa.
When faced with a major personal challenge 20 years ago she turned to the water to save her soul and started swimming with a masters swimming group. Her love for the water has grown and flourished and she has become an avid open water swimmer with her latest feat, a 12.6km swim from Acco to Haifa together with 59 swimmers. Debbie trains regularly in both the sea and the pool.
When the Long Cross of the Kinneret became an Official Open Water Swim she became the oldest woman at the age of 60 to do the 20.5km solo swim. This swim follows the rules of official open water swimming rules – swimming with a bathing suit, cap and goggles and accompanied by a boat with officials on board monitoring every move. Debbie has since done this swim an additional time.
She has participated in numerous pool and open water competitions both nationally and internationally and has also won medals at the Maccabiah which is held in Israel every 4 years.
Debbie has a BA majoring in Psychology and Hebrew from UNISA and currently works as a patent paralegal in an international law office. She also teaches and mentors swimming. Debbie is the mother of 5 children and more than that number of grandchildren.
"King David was my springboard and gave me the opportunity to participate and succeed both in school learning and sport. I loved learning Hebrew and playing all sport at school. I remember with admiration Mr. Wolff, Dr Beron, Shirley McCarthy, Lorna Berman, Ms. Norton and Mrs Becker from primary school who was in charge of tennis!"