Rebecca Herzmark Safer, 85, a longtime area resident who was active in Zionist work here since 1916, died March 19 at Georgetown University Hospital. She lived in Washington.

Mrs. Safer helped found the Washington chapter of the Hadassah in 1919, and was chapter president from 1926 to 1929. She was a founder of the National Sponsors for Israel Bonds, and a founding member of both the Trustee Program and Prime Minister's Club. In 1965, she chaired the Israel Independence Ball Committee.

In 1966, she became the first annual recipient of the Abraham S. Kay Leadership for Israel Award for community service, and in 1978 received the David Ben-Gurion Award of the State of Israel Bond Organization.

She was a member of the Adas Israel Congregation in Washington.

Mrs. Safer was born in Arkansas and moved to this area at an early age.

She was a graduate of the old Central High School and attended George Washington University.

She attended the World Zionist Congress in Switzerland, then traveled in Palestine, before returning to Washington. Over the years, her home was a meeting place for Zionist leaders visiting Washington.

She was the widow of John M. Safer, a Washington attorney and businessman, who died in 1951.

Survivors include a son, John, of Washington, and two grandchildren.