Obituaries


Helen Abrams died June 11 at 94. Survived by daughters Marilyn Cohen, Lanette Finn, Anna Helfman, Candy Sieroty; sons Bert, David; 8 grandchildren; 6 great-grandchildren. Hillside

Selma Baraz died June 11 at 94. Survived by daughter Susan; son James; 3 grandchildren; 5 great-grandchildren. Hillside

Ann Bernell died on June 12 at 92. Survived by daughter Ellen Mead; son Lester (Stephanye); 4 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Gerald Breitbart died June 10 at 80. Survived by daughter Tracey Breitbart Karadizian; daughter-in-law Susannah; 7 grandchildren. Hillside

Madelon Cohen died June 11 at 87. Survived by daughters Felicia Ricks, Samantha Varona; son Stuart; 5 grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Irene Ellis died June 11 at 76. Survived by husband Cantor Larry; daughter Lisa (Jonathan) Mandel; sons Evan Kanes, Jason (Jamie) Kanes; stepsons James, Mark (Pat); six grandchildren; sisters Adele Steirman, Janet (Bernard) Tohl. Groman Eden

Anita Goldfarb died June 9 at 84. Survived by husband Adolph; daughters Fran (James Devine), Lyn; son Martin; 2 grandchildren; sister Barbara Welden. Mount Sinai

Jack Gollob died June 9 at 83. Survived by sister Joan Cohan; niece Deboarah Rummelhart; nephews Jud (Chris) Cohan, Steve (Joy) Cohan. Mount Sinai

Dorothy Kelber died June 13 at 91. Survived by daughter Becky; son Bruce; brother Richard (Sandy) Pullinger, Robert (Lucy); brother-in-law Robert Hamilton. Hillside

Samuel Kunin died June 11 at 78. Survived by wife Nancy; sons Gordon (Dina) Bernat-Kunin, Douglas (Natalie), Kenneth (Kathy); 7 grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Paul Mayman died June 11 at 92. Survived by daughter Paula Ashton; son Robert (Linda); 7 grandchildren; 8 great-grandchildren; sister Shirley Hartman. Mount Sinai

Beatrice Minkoff died June 10 at 102. Survived by daughter Corrine (Leonard) Naiman; sons Bob, Michael; 4 grandchildren; 4 great-grandchildren. Hillside

Bernard Rabins died June 11 at 86. Survived by wife Florence; daughter Karen (David) Pranke-Lewis; son John (Nancy Powell); 3 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild; sister-in-law Evelyn Bergman. Mount Sinai

Beatrice Raymer died June 9 at 89. Survived by daughters Joanne Albrecht, Judi (Bonnie) Grey, Barbara (Marc) Witzer; 8 grandchildren; 2 great-grandchildren. Hillside

Martha Rosen died June 10 at 87. Survived by daughters Arlene Bauer, Judy Jordan. Hillside

Harvey Tiger died June 10 at 77. Survived by daughters Jordana (Mary Mitchell), Rena; son Steve (Raue Magadia); 4 grandchildren; 1 great-grandchild. Mount Sinai

Harriet Weisshar died June 10 at 85. Survived by daughter Susan (Mimi Matsik); sons Allan (Marcy), David; 4 grandchildren; 2 great-grandchildren. Groman Eden

Obituaries


Bertha Abrams died May 30 at 99. Survived by daughters Terry (Harvey) Goldbaum, Arleen (Stanley) Kaller; 6 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Gloria Arbiter died May 31 at 83. Survived by husband Stanley; son Ross; 7 grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Elsie Austin died May 29 at 98. Survived by daughter-in-law Marjorie; 3 grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Albert Azus died May 27 at 92. Survived by wife Hedi; sons Jeffrey (Alice), Lee (Rob), Mitchell; 5 grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Shirley Beerman died May 30 at 99. Survived by nieces Roberta Crandall, Ilene (Gene) Pliler; nephew Michael (Evelyn) Klein; great-niece Jodi (Howard) Sears; great-nephews Darryl Henick, Jim Klein, Todd Martin. Mount Sinai

Stanley Chazen died May 27 at 89. Survived by wife Loretta; sons Robert, Stephen (Donna); 2 grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Helen Chestney died June 3 at 91. Survived by husband Mark; daughters Melinda Mason, Holly Schuman; sister Francine Liftig; 2 grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Ann Kirkland De Graff died May 26 at 85. Survived by daughters Kimberly (Matthew) Seidman, Cheryl Prideaux; 2 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren. Hillside

Simon DeSoto died May 27 at 88. Survived by daughter Linda; sister Betty Sapsowitz; brother-in-law Henry Nahoum. Hillside

Marion Drasin died May 27 at 95. Survived by daughter Dianne (Matt) Forger; sons Earl Koppleman, Mark, Steve; 4 grandchildren; 6 great-grandchildren. Hillside

Carl Ellisman died May 26 at 94. Survived by wife Bertha; sons Avery (Madeline), Mark (Varda Levram); 5 grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Roberta Feld died June 2 at 74. Survived by husband Louis; daughter Debra (David) Goldfarb; son Mitchell; 3 grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Eva Frankl died May 23 at 89. Survived by daughter Judith; nephew Zoltan Harkany. Chevra Kadisha

Larry Franklin died June 3 at 82. Survived by wife Geraldine; daughter Lorraine; son Barry (Debbie); 2 grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Bernice Galen died May 25 at 82. Survived by husband Robert; daughter Deborah; son Jeffrey (Lani); 2 grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Alan Gershman died June 3 at 75. Survived by wife Brenda; daughter Tara (Danny) Fink; son Ken (Jenny); brothers Arthur (Phyllis), Barry (Marilyn), Burton (Marilyn); 3 grandchildren. Hillside

Lori Halpern died May 30 at 90. Survived by husband Felix; daughters Linda (Michael) Shevitz, Bernice Cartier; 6 grandchildren; 1 great-grandchild. Mount Sinai

Shari Horowitz Epstein died May 27 at 62. Survived by husband Norman; sons Max, Sam; 1 grandchild; sisters Joy, Penina; brother Steve; friend Mitch Evall. Hillside

Harry Kandel died May 24 at 85. Survived by brother Jack. Mount Sinai

Shirley Kaplan died May 31 at 84. Survived by nephew Cary. Malinow and Silverman 

Gerald Kasmer died May 23 at 89. Survived by wife Irene; daughter Lauren; sons Bruce, Jeff; 1 grandchild. Mount Sinai

Marion Kasoff died May 29 at 84. Survived by daughter Traci (Roy) Salter; 2 grandchildren. Groman Eden

Khana Kheyfets died May 28 at 89. Survived by husband Zelman Dorfman; daughters Galina (Mikhail) Dudnik, Polina (Alex) Gutman; 3 grandchildren; 4 great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Gretta Kibrick died May 29 at 83. Survived by husband Sidney; daughter Jane (Martin) Lipsic; 2 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren. Hillside

Marion Kissel died May 30 at 87. Survived by daughters Lisa (Mike) Dolan, Debra (Alan) Weinstock; son Robert; 6 grandchildren; 5 great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Rose Kunst died May 23 at 91. Survived by daughter Marleen McKenzie; 3 grandchildren; 5 great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Carissa Lee died May 28 at 40. Survived by husband Kevin Rex; daughters Emma, Maxie; mother Virginia; father William; mother-in-law Laurie Zaer; fathers-in-law Steven Rex, Doug Zaer; brother Patrick; brothers-in-law David Rex, Brett Zaer. Mount Sinai

Ezra Levy died May 27 at 88. Survived by wife Margot Webb; daughters Diana (Tony) Friedman, Linda (William) Levy Brenden; son Dan (Sandy); 5 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Jeannette Levy died May 29 at 91. Survived by daughter Bonnie (Gene) Horwitz; son Marshall; 2 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren; sister Helen Zavack; nephew Gary Zavack. Mount Sinai

Victor Ludwig died May 26 at 98. Survived by wife Miriam; sons David, Michael, Peter; 4 grandchildren. Hillside

Marshall Mamin died May 25 at 52. Survived by sisters Victoria Korson, Cynthia; brother John. Hillside

Dagobert Menschenfreund died May 29 at 86. Survived by cousin Michael (Diane) Ziering. Hillside

George Meyerson died June 1 at 93. Survived by wife Lillian; son Steve (Robin); stepdaughter Donna Workman; stepsons Barry Schneider, Dean (Judy) Schneider; 7 grandchildren; 5 great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Sylvia Schway died May 26 at 94. Survived by daughter Heidi (Ernest) Hutchins; son Michael (Nina Richardson); 2 grandchildren; 1 great-grandchild. Malinow and Silverman

Howard Seedman died May 27 at 92. Survived by wife Carole; son Jan; stepson Evan (Teri) Littig; brother Marvin (Phyliss); 2 grandchildren; 2 great-grandchildren. 

Sidney Senter died May 26 at 99. Survived by daughters Jacquelyn (Royce) Walker, Sheri; 3 grandchildren; 1 great-grandchild. Hillside

Seymour Seplow died May 30 at 94. Survived by son Alan (Bonnie). Hillside

Stuart Smith died May 27 at 63. Survived by mother Bernice Maslen; stepfather Maurice Maslen; sister Denise (Leonard) Horowitz. Hillside

Lawrence Solig died May 22 at 80. Survived by wife Pamela; daughter Lisa; son Larry; 3 grandchildren; brother Martin (Suzanne). Malinow and Silverman

Mildred Swern died May 28 at 92. Survived by sons Bruce (Cynthia) Henkin, Richard (Sonia); brother Edward (Toby) Trabin; 4 grandchildren; 1 great-grandchild. Hillside

Donna Tuna died May 28 at 85. Survived by husband Michael; daughter Susan (Michael) Wagner; son Mark (Valerie); 4 grandchildren; 1 great-grandchild; sister Karola Davidman. Hillside

Murray Winagura died May 23 at 88. Survived by wife Marion; sons Lance (Rachel) Robbins, Stephen (Eva); 5 grandchildren; 1 great-grandchild. Hillside

Obituaries


Ruth Bacall died March 16 at 88. Survived by nieces Lisa Bacall Tehrani, Gail Cahill, Susan Herman, Annette Warner; nephews Larry Finkel, Andy Goldstein, Jesse Goldstein, Lee Goldstein. Hillside

Susan Benon died March 15 at 79. Survived by daughters Cynthia Benon, Cary (Charles) Rogers; sons Aaron, Jeffrey; 6 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren; sisters Dallas Beardsley, Celia (Jim) Van Dusen. Hillside

Jack Haddad died March 16 at 87. Survived by wife Marion; sons Michael (Melissa), Paul (Suzie); daughter Monica (Tim Silk); 6 grandchildren; sister Rochelle Kagan. Hillside

Alice Margolis died March 13 at 96. Survived by daughter Zora (Jonathan) Aderfer; son Gary; 2 grandchildren; 1 great-grandchild. Hillside

Albert Mintz died March 14 at 89. Survived by wife Annie; daughter Lorraine (Scott) Weiner; sons Jeffrey (Ruthie), Steven; 1 grandchild; brother Mark. Hillside

Harry Saltier died March 15 at 98. Survived by daughter Doreen (Myron) Schonbrum; sons Matthew Waxman, Brad; 2 grandchildren; 2 great-grandchildren; sister Ann Cooper; brother Frank. Hillside

Obituaries: Nov. 15-Dec. 3, 2013


Evelyn Ackerman died Nov. 28 at 88. Survived by husband Jerome; daughter Laura (Mark) Shaw; 1 grandson. Hillside

Rose Adler died Dec. 1 at 93. Survived by daughter Linda Bence; son Robert; 2 grandchildren; sister Kay Friedman. Hillside

Sylvia Brockman died Dec.1 at 85. Survived by husband Seymour; sons Bruce (Patti), Howard (Anita); 4 grandchildren. Hillside

Jack Falit died Nov. 22 at 97. Survived by daughter Mara Winkelman; sons Harvey (Eleanor), Ronald (Eileen); 7 grandchildren; 7 great-grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Serene Felt died Nov. 29 at 95. Survived by 2 granddaughters; brother Joe Bihari. Hillside

Karen Fund died Nov. 28 at 65. Survived by husband David James Fisher; daughter Chloe Fisher; son Benjamin Fisher. Hillside

Sylvia Goldstein died Nov. 15 at 88. Survived by daughter Priscilla Churchick; son Seth (Bobbi); 4 grandchildren; 2 great-grandchildren; 2 nieces; 4 nephews. Chevra Kadisha

Elsie Grossman died Dec. 2 at 93. Survived by daughters Sophie De Vries, Tracie. Hillside

Esther Laufe died Nov. 23 at 81. Survived by husband Norman; daughter Jeri (David) Seigel; son Barry (Robin); 6 grandchildren; brothers Sol Grossman, Aaron Grossman. Hillside

Molly LeBoff died Dec. 2 at 98. Survived by daughter Carol (Bob) Oleesky; son Robert (Marsha) Allen; 5 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren. Hillside

Albert Lederer died Nov. 20 at 93. Survived by wife Roslyn; daughter Esther; son Steven (Lorraine); 2 grandchildren; 1 great-grandchild; sisters Nettie Klein, Sylvia Gerberbaum. Malinow and Silverman

Evelyn Levin died Nov. 25 at 94. Survived by husband Solomon; daughter Lori (Joe) Borcover; son Arlen (Pat); 3 grandchildren. Groman Eden

Jane Levin died Nov. 24 at 84. Survived by sons Michael (Ruth), Peter (Lisa); 4 grandchildren; brother Maurice Lecover. Hillside

Marjorie Levingston died Dec. 3 at 87. Survived by daughter Sharon Vener; son Steven (Suzanne); 4 grandchildren. Hillside

Nadia Miller died Nov. 30 at 81. Survived by sister-in-law Barbara; nieces; nephews. Hillside

Elaine Morhar died Nov. 10 at 90. Survived by daughter Karen (Mitchell) Light; 2 grandchildren; sister Shirley Tartak. Malinow and Silverman

Gertrude Nord died Dec. 3 at 92. Survived by sons Joel (Janet), Carey; 3 grandchildren; 2 great-grandchildren. Hillside

Michael Potash died Nov. 18 at 68. Survived by wife Gloria; daughters Devorah (Jonathan) Greenfied, Brocha (Mendel) Lipkind, Riri (Shimon) New; 9 grandchildren; sister Judy Gornbein; brother Warren. Chevra Kadisha

Nancy Press died Nov. 24 at 87. Survived by daughter Barbara Giglia; son Steven; 6 grandchildren; brother Stan Furman. Malinow and Silverman 

Deborah Raffin died Nov. 21 at 59. Survived by daughter Taylor Rose Viner; sister Judy Holston; brother William. Hillside

Edward Rose died Nov. 15 at 91. Survived by wife Frances; daughter Bonnie (John) Buhler; sons Barry (Linda) Schneider, Eugene (Janet) Schneider, Michael (Suzanne) Crago-Schneider; 10 grandchildren; 6 great-grandchildren; brother Howard (Annabelle). Malinow and Silverman

Sam Roth died Nov. 26 at 84. Survived by daughters, Tamara Shure, Alana (Brad Alper), Dawn (John Seymore), Suzanne (Tudor Lacey); sons Charles (Gayle) Shure, Eric (Olga), Guy (Dawn); 15 grandchildren; 1 great-grandchild. Hillside

Helen Scimeca died Nov. 23 at 68. Survived by husband Karl; daughter Robin (Wayne); son Adam (Melissa Scheff); 3 grandchildren; sisters Meera Paskal, Estelle (Randy) Urlik; brothers Marvin (Laurene) Paskal, Joseph (Marti). Hillside

Abraham Hersh Shafran died Nov. 27 at 62. Survived by wife Lisa; daughters Shelley, Jessica, Sara; son Jeffrey; sister Rochelle Frankel. Chevra Kadisha

Allen Shupps died Dec. 2 at 103. Survived by daughter Judith Hayward; son Charles (Sandy); 5 grandchildren; 9 great-grandchildren. Hillside

Lore Smith died Nov. 23 at 89. Survived by daughters Sandra McDowell, Susan; stepson Jules (Jean) Eber; 4 grandchildren; 5 great-grandchildren; sister Irene Eber. Hillside

Matthew Harvey Wynbrandt died Nov. 29 at 31. Survived by mother Lynn; father Dennis; sister Stephanie; uncles Robert, Gary. Hillside

Obituaries: Aug. 17-23, 2012


Leon Aberle died July 3 at 81. Survived by wife Petrina; daughter Carla (Steven) Lenhoff; son Matthew; 3 grandchildren; brother Charles (Saron). Hillside

Jeffrey Allyn died July 8 at 75. Survived by wife Harriett; sons Russell (Romel Valerio), Hal (Chantal); 3 grandchildren; sister Flo Barker. Hillside

Norman Beck died July 7 at 89. Survived by wife Harriett; daughter Marilee (Andrew Safir); sons Dennis (Pamela), Ronald (Cynthia); sister Evelyn Goldberg; 11 grandchildren. Hillside

Susan Bender died June 17 at 67. Survived by husband Richard; daughter Stephanie (Allan) Bernstein; son Andrew (Andrea); 3 grandchildren; brother David Praver; sister Marcia Praver-Cole. Hillside

Cary Brooks died July 1 at 54. Survived by wife Chonticha; mother Rosalind; sisters Marcie, Sandi Shively, Laurie Dulson; brother Ron. Malinow and Silverman

Roger Dee died June 18 at 81. Survived by daughters Vicki (David) Dee-Rock, Lisa; 3 grandchildren; brother Chuck Buchanon. Hillside

Joseph Einberg died July 3 at 91. Survived by daughters Myra, Barbara; son Howard; 3 grandchildren; 1 great-grandchild. Hillside

Barbara Felman died June 20 at 66. Survived by husband Mark; daughter Shari Lambrinos; son David; father Milton Golden; sister JoAnne Golden. Hillside

Roberta Jean Firestone died July 6 at 78. Survived by husband William; sons Randall S. (Ying), Jeffrey (Wantana), Gary (Lamai); 2 grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Harry Fradkin died June 22 at 89. Survived by daughters Laurie (Harvey) Robinson¸ Shelly (Tom) Helberg; son David (Andi) Korshak; 6 grandchildren; 2 great-grandchildren; brother Abe. Hillside

Michael Friedman died June 17 at 66. Survived by companion Tanya Nord; son Eugene; mother Khaya; brother Yuri (Zhenya). Hillside

Alice Hemar died June 19 at 92. Survived by sons Peter, Richard (Lynn); sister Sophie; 4 grandchildren; 1 great-grandchild. Hillside

Bernice Klein died July 3 at 92. Survived by daughter Carol Mark; sons Ron, Louis. Hillside

Michael Levine died July 2 at 67. Survived by sons Ryan, Blake (Sydney); father Bill; sister Geri Levine Loe; brother Robert (Seethamma). Hillside

Mindy Limardi died July 4 at 61. Survived by mother Alice Oran. Mount Sinai

Alexander Meshekow died June 23 at 97.  Survived by wife Beatrice; daughter Paula; son Marc; 1 grandchild. Hillside

Shirley Miller died July 2 at 90. Survived by nephews Fred (Karen DeMott) Lowe, Greg Lowe. Mount Sinai

Semyon Minkov died July 4 at 84. Survived by wife Ida; son Mikhail (Irina); 2 grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Ida Minkova died July 7 at 81. Survived by son Mikhail “Mike” (Irina) Minkov; 2 grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Alice Sarah Olins died July 5 at 99. Survived by sons Jay, Evan; 3 grandchildren; 7 great-grandchildren; sister June (Milton) Torn. Mount Sinai

Steven Platt died July 5 at 64. Survived by wife Carolyn “Lulu”; daughters Jackie, Felicia; brother Larry (Karen). Mount Sinai

Lillian Popkin died July 5 at 87. Survived by sons Stuart, Bruce (Barbara), Marty; 1 grandchild; 1 great-grandchild. Mount Sinai

Gloria Rose died July 4 at 90.  Survived by sons Clark (Patricia), Larry (Jane); 4 grandchildren; 2 great-grandchildren. Hillside

Carl Roseman died July 2 at 74. Survived by wife Paula; daughter Jenna Sobelman; son Marc; 1 grandson; sister Betty Abramson. Mount Sinai

James Robert Rosen died July 2 at 69. Survived by daughter Cindy; son Ricci; 1 grandchild. Hillside

Adelyne Ross died July 6 at 86. Survived by daughter Diane (Michael) Ross-Glazer; sons Richard (Robyn), Robert (Cathie); 8 grandchildren; 1 great-granddaughter. Mount Sinai

Sol Rubin died July 5 at 94. Survived by wife Neddy; daughter Judith; son Donald. Hillside

Helen N. Salz died July 6 at 93. Survived by husband Moritz; daughter Judy (Mel) Grossman; son Rubin (Susan); 4 grandchildren; 4 great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Jack Sanow died June 18 at 81.  Survived by nephew Warren (Joan) Kessler. Hillside

Elaine Simon died July 1 at 89. Survived by sons Alan (Lisa), Gary (Betty Ann), Mittchell (JoAnn); 6 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Rebecca Spector died July 4 at 38. Survived by mother Benita; father Michael. Hillside

Martin Stolzoff died July 5 at 88. Survived by wife Barbara; son Gary (Suzi Alexander); stepsons Steven (Jennifer) Jacob, Richard Jacob, Robert (Carolyn) Jacob; 4 grandchildren; sister Irene Geller. Mount Sinai

Betty Sulkin died June 22 at 90.  Survived by husband Maurice; son Jeffrey (Ajah-Denise Fambo); 1 grandchild. Hillside

Sandra Vrono died July 2 at 78. Survived by sister Jacqueline Steingold; close friends Linda Turetsky, Basha Pierce. Mount Sinai

Elaine Widawer died July 6 at 69. Survived by daughter Allison (Michael) Weiss; son David (Lisa) Stiles; 4 grandchildren; mother Gertrude Perlick; sister Pamela Dixon Frost. Mount Sinai

Marian Edith Wolfson died July 2 at 93. Survived by daughters Lisa (Richard) Goldstein, Marta (Richard) Meyers, Roberta Cox; 4 grandchildren; sister Zelda. Mount Sinai

Barbara Alice Yellen died July 7 at 95.  Survived by daughter Francine (Jeffrey) Light; son Robert (Judy); 4 grandchildren. Hillside

Obituaries


Maury Abrams died March 12 at 80. He is survived by his wife, Francine; sons, Judd (Nicole Sassman) and Gregg; daughter, Glennis (Jim) Malcolm; and four grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Nancy Alspektor died March 2 at the age of 85. She is survived by her sons, Allan, Stan, and Arthur; daughter, Roseann Alspektor-Schalker; and grandchildren. Sholom Chapels

Sarah Berman died March 12 at 86. She is survived by her daughter, Honey; and son, Rube. Hillside

Dr. Julius Steve Brodie died March 19 at 86. He is survived by his wife, Gloria; children, Karen (Bill) Michiels and Betty (Ross) Winn; four grandchildren; brother-in-law, Arthur Lackman; nieces; and nephews. Hillside

Beverly Brukman died March 18 at 80. She is survived by her husband, Jack; daughters, Kubda (Robert) Brown and Debra (Gary) Pancer; and three grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Goldie Chernick died March 11 at 82. She is survived by her daughters, Dina and Nina; and son, Paul. Hillside

Robert Chisling died March 11 at the age of 85. He is survived by his daughter, Lois (Bruce) Sklar; grandson, Michael. Sholom Chapels

Robert Michael Cohen died March 12 at 78. He is survived by his daughter, Myla (Bruce) Kramer; sons, Randy and Evan; seven grandchildren; and sisters, Dorothy (Marvin) Waller and Rose McArthur. Mount Sinai

Chaja Dunkelman died March 13 at 88. She is survived by her husband, Luzer; daughter, Aviva (Leon) Biederman; son, Daniel (Noemi); three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Elaine Epstein died March 20 at 80. She is survived by her daugher, Nancy; son, Steve; grandchildren, Rachel and Adam Levine; great-grandchild; and sister, Shirley Bass. Hillside

Martha Finkle died March 16 at 89. She is survived by her daughter, Paula (David) Hand; son, Robert; grandchildren, Dr. Lisa (Richard) Engel and Alan (Jana) Hand; and niece, Penny Salomon. Hillside

Senta Fox died March 16 at 86. She is survived by her husband, Dave; daughter, Rabbi Karen; son, Rabbi Steven; four grandchildren; and brother, Rudy Salomons. Malinow and Silverman

Shirley Flacks died March 15 at 80. She is survived by her sons, Martin (Leigh), John (Bobette) and Steven (Lois); daughter, Paula (Jim) Sheftel; seven grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Mount Sinai

Beatrice Silver Gendel died March 14 at 97. She is survived by her son, Neil. Hillside

Natalie Joyce Greene died March 6. She is survived by her daughter, Michele; and one grandchild. Groman

Leroy Helfman died March 8 at 87. He is survived by his wife, Linda; sons, Ivan, Waterford and Michigan; daughter, Joan (Bill) Strigler; stepdaughters, Brenda Bernhard and Lisa (Douglas) Schwab; and six grandchildren. Chevra Kadisha

Mary Hollander died March 20 at 88. She is survived by her son, Michael; daughters, Suzanne and Janie; eight grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Groman

Jules Jacob died March 14 at 94. He is survived by his sons, Richard (Kaythi) and Theodore (Julie); daughter, Ann Goodman; 10 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Gerda Singer Josovicz died March 12 at 77. She is survived by her husband, Philip; daughter, Miriam Josovicz Lebental; grandchildren, Dana and David Lebental; brother, Joel Singer; and sister, Linda Berke Singer. Chevra Kadisha

Kefayat Turan Kasher died Feb 2 at 87. She is survived by her sons, Iraj (Soraya) Parviz and Ferdows (Yafa); daughter, Fereshte (Mansur); seven grandchildren; and sisters, Malek, Pari and Nazi. Chevra Kadisha

Selma Konitz died March 14 at 82. She is survived by her sons, Russ and Jack (Leslie) Kavanaugh; four grandchildren; and sister, Toni Green. Mount Sinai

Mildred Kraus died March 12 at 89. She is survived by her daughters, Elaine Rosenson, Roberta (Richard) Bernstein and Julie Weiss; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Joan Kurz died March 14 at 75. She is survived by her husband, Murray; son, Larry; daughters, Gayle and Nancy; nine grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Groman

Jacob Leventhal died March 20 at 92. He is survived by his wife, Shirley; son, Robert (Cornelia Pachmann); and granddaughter, Erica Mount Sinai

Daniel Levy died March 19 at 87. He is survived by his daughter, Benay (Stanley) Mayer; son, Charles (Jody); and seven grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Rabbi David Lieb died March 8 at 65. He is survived by his wife, Estelle; daughter, Amy Knobel; sons, Jacob and Adam; four grandchildren; and sister, Marilyn Price. Malinow and Silverman

Evelyn Lieber died March 11 at 74. She is survived by her husband, Harold; sons, Shawn, Jeff (Gloria) and Mark (Debby); and six grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Joseph Lipson died March 17 at 69. He is survived by sister, Jane Stiglitz; nieces, Diane (Scott), Ellen (Ian); nephew, Steven; and extended family. Hillside

Myra “Mickey” Litman died March 13 at 69. She is survived by her husband, Richard; sons, Jeff, Adam and Daniel; and five grandchildren. Hillside

Jack Lorell died March 13 at 91. He is survived by his wife, Doris; sons, Kenneth (MaryAnn Champagne) and Mark (Mary Chenoweth); and four grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Dr. Leonard Loren died March 11 at 73. He is survived by his wife, Bracha; and son, Yoeli. Mount Sinai

Lucille Markowitz died March 16 at 78. She is survived by her husband, Eli; and daughter, Robin. Malinow and Silverman

Lillian Miller died March 18 at 93. She is survived by her sons, Alan and Kenneth; three grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Mount Sinai

Robert Neuhaus died March 15 at 79. He is survived by his children, Shelley (Marc Weiss), Mark and Eric; and three grandchildren. Hillside

Louis Nissen died March 15 at 94. He is survived by his wife, Frances; son, Steven (Lynn); daughter, Donna (James) Hayostek; six grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Beatrice Olivestone died March 5 at the age of 86. She is survived by her husband, Joseph; son, Michael (Pari); daughter, Rachelle (Mark) Berger; four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Sholom Chapels

Patti Perlstein died March 19 at 49. She is survived by her mother, Aida; and brother Dan. Malinow and Silverman

Sylvia Reiss died March 17 at 86. She is survived by her son, Robert (Janet); daughter, Diane Reiss-Drexler (Stuart); and two grandchildren. Sholom Chapels

Obituaries


Leah Benjamin died Dec. 30 at 96. She is survived by her nephews, Sid (Linda) Silverman and Neal (Marlene) Brostoff; niece Sandra (Harold) Vellins; and great-niece, Aliza Silverman. Mount Sinai

Annette Gershuni Bergman died Jan. 2 at 76. She is survived by her sons, Gregory and Alex Gershuni; stepdaughter, Melinda; and six grandchildren. Hillside

Irving Bornstein died Dec. 26 at 96. He is survived by his daughter, Marian Diller; son, Dr. Kenneth Greenbaum; six grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Irving Chait died Dec. 31 at 83. He is survived by his wife, Madelyn; children, Kimberly (Rob) Frankel, Michael (Susan) and Laurie; and seven grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Bessie Cherroff died Jan. 2 at 100. She is survived by her daughter, Ruthe Newmann; son, Bill (Diana); three grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and brother, Dr. Leon (Olive) Newman. Mount Sinai

Donald Denbo died Dec. 25 at 77. He is survived by his sister, Enig (Bernard) Wizig. Hillside

Jack Fast died Dec. 26 at 73. He is survived by his wife, Sandra; son, Adam (Marilyn); and grandchildren, Alexander and James. Mount Sinai

Allan Faye died Dec. 27 at 74. He is survived by his wife, Thalia; son, Scott (Ilise); and three grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Shirley Fishkin-Azaren died Dec. 25 at 84. She is survived by her husband, Harold; daughter, Nettie (Harvey) Lerner; son, Jerome (Lindsay) Fishkin; 10 grandchildren; and 25 great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Barbara Frank died Dec. 25 at 65. She is survived by her sons, Aaron (Karin) and Bill (Heather); daughter, Stephanie (Rob) Cornick; grandsons, Gavin and Jared; brother, Stan (Judy) Smith; and former husband, Steven. Mount Sinai

Edith Orenstein Freedman died Dec. 25 at 90. She is survived by her daughter, Brenda (Harold) Weinstein; grandchildren, Marcie (Luis Martins) and Gregory Weinstein. Mount Sinai

Dr. Alexander Gans died Dec. 30 at 86. He is survived by his niece, Janet Gans-Epner; and nephew, Theodore Wolfberg. Hillside

Amy Garvin-Milstein died Jan. 1 at 59. She is survived by her husband, Hyman; daughter, Maggie; mother, Ruth Ellen King; brothers, Dr. James (Dana) and Gary Garvin; and sister, Diann Turner. Mount Sinai

Muriel Gimpelson died Jan. 2 at 85. She is survived by her daughters, Alyce (Alex) Calder, Carol (Chuck) Comley and Sharon Ashcraft; grandchildren; and sisters, Adrienne Wollenberg and Elaine Socolow. Malinow and Silverman

Evelyn Gittleman Barenfeld died Dec. 25 at 81. She is survived by her husband, Charles; daughter, Marilyn (Sheldon) Weiner; sons, Steven and Bruce Gittleman; four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren; and brother, Manny (Judy) Stein. Hillside

Jayne Heisler died Dec. 25 at of 47. She is survived by her husband, Mark; children, Joshua and Ashley; sister, Nancy (George) Acs; and brother, Mark Brooks. Mount Sinai

Mae Hershon died Jan. 2 at 94. She is survived by her husband, Ving; daughter, Anne; son, Mark (Susan); and brother, Albert (Leah) Agron. Mount Sinai

Joe Himel died Dec. 31 at 84. Hee is survived by his daughter, Susan (Bob) Bassett; grandchildren, Greg and Michael; and great-grandson, Joshua. Mount Sinai

Arnold Kalmick died Dec. 27 at 85. He is survived by his sons, Jeffrey (Cathy) and David (Lois); three grandchildren; and brother, Alfred (Sunny). Hillside

Rheta Kanter died Dec. 26 at 72. She is survived by her daughter, Wendy (Russell) Reinoehl; sons, Michael (Sarah) and Richard (Ikumi); brother, David Swiryn; and two grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Mildred Kaplan died Dec. 30 at 87. She is survived by her daughter-in-law, Sheila; three grandchildren; sister-in-law, Dora Ackereisen; nephew, Allen Ackereisen; and niece, Linda Renner. Mount Sinai

Harold Kayl died Dec. 25 at 67. He is survived by his wife, Susan; sons, Bradley and Michael; brother, Jerry; sisters, Linda Steinhauser and Barbara; and sister-in-law, Marlene Schancupp. Mount Sinai

Ronnie Kreeger died Dec. 30 at 56. She is survived by her mother, Muriel; sister, Patti Kreeger-Wakefield; and significant other, Hal Teich. Mount Sinai

Kenneth Lever died Jan. 1 at 77. He is survived by his wife, Beverly; daughters, Denise, Deborah and Brena and their spouses; and three grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Anne Louise Licht died Jan. 2 at 59. She is survived by her husband, Dr. James; daughter, Jaime; son, David; and brothers, William and Robert Raphael. Malinow and Silverman

Marcia Marks died Dec. 31 at 94. She is survived by her sons, Kenneth (Sandra Ruben) and Richard; grandchild, Murray; and sister, Esther Aliber. Mount Sinai

Abe Nagel died Dec. 31 at 88. He is survived by his daughter, Heather (Ken) Schweibish; grandchildren, Scott and Erin Schweibish; and great-grandchildren, Jasmine and Jacob. Mount Sinai

Sophie Parsons died Dec. 26 at 94. She is survived by her daughters, Dorene Lehavi and Rachelle Katz; four grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; sister, Rebecca Nelson; and brother, Max (Ceil) Knell. Mount Sinai

Longina Postal died Dec. 28 at 72. She is survived by her daughter, Mara; and son, Henry Gruszniewski. Malinow and Silverman

Lillian Press died Dec. 26 at 94. She is survived by her son, Howard (Ellen); and grandchildren, Matthew and Meryl. Hillside

Max Rincover died Dec. 30 at 89. He is survived by his wife, Tilly; sons, Neil (Silvana), Larry (Wanda) and Arnold (Joan); five grandchildren; and sister, Babe Meyers. Mount Sinai

Betty Rolbin died Dec. 25 at 94. She is survived by her, son, Terry; three grandsons; and two great-granddaughters. Mount Sinai

Sarah Rockov died Dec. 29 at 91. She is survived by her son, Robert; son-in-law, Barry Klatzker; four grandchildren; and seven great- grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Gertrude Saiger died Dec. 29 at 99. She is survived by her niece, Frances Ann Abrams; and nephew, Larry Goldman. Malinow and Silverman

Linda Stein died Dec. 30 at 67. She is survived by her husband, Leonard; son, Jason (Keri); two grandchildren; sister, Faith Rafkind; brother, Charles Rafkind; and brother-in-law, Robert Stein. Mount Sinai

Gloria Sturm died Dec. 31 at 79. She is survived by her sons, Martin (Penny) and Brad Sures; daughter, Allison (Ralph) Hensley; grandsons, Dylan and Jason; sister, Arlene Pacht; and brother, Howard Burstein. Mount Sinai

H.O.P.E. for Los Angeles’ Bereaved


I felt like a third wheel,” Shirley said.

“I never felt more alone,” Diane said.

“I felt my oneness,” Helene added.

These women, along with 12 other females and two men, all in their 50s to their 80s, sat in a circle in Valley Beth Shalom’s Lopaty Chapel in Encino. They were reporting on the setbacks and successes of the past week, coming from cities as far away as Whittier and Thousand Oaks as they do every Thursday evening because of a common bond: Their lives have been shattered by the death of a spouse.

Here, they are members of Group Three, one of the many groups offered by H.O.P.E. Unit Foundation for Bereavement and Transition, the oldest and largest grief support organization in the greater Los Angeles area, according to Dr. Marilyn Stolzman, H.O.P.E.’s executive director since 1982. And they are dealing with profound sadness and loneliness in a caring and communal setting as they seek to rebuild their lives.

Licensed family and marriage therapist Bonnie Ban, facilitating this group, whose spouses have died 11 to 14 months previously, asked the members if being alone has gotten any easier.

“No.”

“A little.”

“It’s changing. And my dog helps.”

Clearly, many participants are making progress.

“On Saturday I was missing my husband 10 times more than ever so I decided to go to a movie,” Beverly said.

“I made my first dinner party last week,” Elinor boasted.

Ban reminded them that time is passive and grief is active.

“You have to make the effort to go through the discomfort,” she said.

To accomplish this, H.O.P.E. — established in the 1970s and which stands for “hope, opportunity, participation and education” — offers seven weekly grief support groups for widows and widowers. Five are held at Valley Beth Shalom on Thursday evenings and, for the past seven years, two at Wilshire Boulevard Temple’s Irmas Campus in West Los Angeles on Tuesday evenings. The organization also offers a weekly family loss group for parents, siblings and other close relatives as well as two monthly alumni groups and a cancer support group.

What makes H.O.P.E. unique, according to Stolzman, is that the groups, which generally include 10 to 15 participants, are organized according to months of mourning, allowing participants of varying ages to experience similar issues as they progress unevenly through Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ five stages of grief and mourning: shock, denial, anger, depression and acceptance. Those in Group One, for example, who have lost a spouse within the past four months, are still in intense pain. Group Four members, on the other hand, 15 to 24 months out, are still sad but are moving toward acceptance and a redefined life.

The H.O.P.E. groups, whose ratio of women to men is 7:1, reflecting the national population of widows and widowers, are facilitated by licensed therapists, who are paid for their services and who have additional training in bereavement. This approach differs from other organizations such as Our House, whose grief groups are led by supervised para-professionals.

Not everyone, however, believes in the necessity of bereavement support groups. The new “Report on Bereavement and Grief Research,” published in November 2003 by the Center for Advancement of Health, concluded that bereavement counseling for adults not experiencing “complicated grief” did not alleviate the sadness and pain. Instead, the report found that symptoms normally and gradually receded over six to 18 months.

H.O.P.E.’s Stolzman disagrees, citing David Spiegel, professor and associate chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine and author of “Living Beyond Limits: New Hope and Help for Facing Life-Threatening Illness” (Crown, 1993). He found that people who attend support groups do 50 percent better in the healing process than those who do not.

Stolzman points to the success of the group process — the power of participants to tell their stories, and to refrain from offering advice, and to give hope to others as well as their ability to listen empathetically and actively to group members. She also refers to the effectiveness of humor. “We owe it to our audience not to make death and dying deadly,” she said.

Plus, it’s a Jewish concept not to hide or run away from death, according to Rabbi Karen Fox of Wilshire Boulevard Temple, herself a marriage and family therapist, who refers widows and widowers of all ages to H.O.P.E.

“But we live in such a grief-light society that most people want to get rid of any bereavement experience,” she added.

That includes well-meaning family and friends who often lose patience with the mourner, asking questions such as, “Are you still going to that grief group?” or, “Aren’t you over that yet?”

As Joan, a member of Group Three, said, “They think [losing a spouse] is contagious.”

Thus, many participants find that H.O.P.E., a group they never wanted to belong to, becomes an indispensable part of their lives. Members often meet for dinner before group sessions and go out for dessert and coffee afterward. Many socialize on Saturday nights and sit together at Yizkor (memorial) and High Holiday services. They also provide support for each other during the week via the telephone, sometimes in the middle of the night.

“Family and friends say they know how you feel, but only the people in the group really know,” said Hy Cohen, 75, of Encino, a former H.O.P.E. participant.

Additionally, as members transition to creating new lives, H.O.P.E. helps them with such issues as dating and sexuality. Cohen, now remarried to someone he met through H.O.P.E., reflected, “I remember that first date. I got home from work and showered and put on cologne. I was nervous … like a teenager.”

Stolzman advises newly bereaved to wait at least three weeks after the death of their loved one — and sometimes as long as six months — before joining a support group. People can also join any group along the grief continuum at any time. Stolzman suggests that potential participants come at least three or four times, with a family member if necessary, before deciding if H.O.P.E. is the right place for them.

H.O.P.E. is nondenominational, though 90 percent of its members are Jewish, representing 21 different synagogues in the Los Angeles area. And while many find it comforting to meet in a synagogue setting, grieving is a universal experience that, for most people, cuts across religious boundaries.

The organization is a nonprofit, charging a suggested fee of $25 per person for each session but not turning anyone away. Still, the fees and annual fundraiser, which this year brought in $12,000 and which Stolzman described as “good for us,” don’t cover operating expenses. With two locations already accommodating about 135 people weekly and with new referrals arriving regularly, Stolzman would like to expand the program, funds permitting.

Two years ago, H.O.P.E. was able to found two alumni groups which meet monthly and are run by marriage and family therapist Dr. Jo Christner, a former H.O.P.E. counselor who moved away but who returns each month as facilitator.

“It’s a group about life,” Christner said. “It’s a place to meet others, to create new friendships and to continue a changed life as a ‘single.'”

Anyone who has lost a spouse more than two years ago is eligible to join.

In all the groups, participants learn that even as they become stronger and begin to create new lives, they can still have a continuing relationship with their spouse, even though he or she is no longer there.

“I loved Norm my whole life,” Group Three’s Helene said. “I love him more now.”

Therapist Ban explained that the love is now more pure.

“The person has died but the relationship still exists,” she said.

And yet, participants eventually can move forward.

“I was with one spouse for 45 years and I loved my wife very much,” H.O.P.E. graduate Cohen said. “But life goes on.”

For more information about H.O.P.E Unit Foundation’s bereavement groups or to make a donation, call (818) 788-4673 or visit www.hopeunit.org.

Widows, Widowers Seek Ways to Cope


When Esther Goshen-Gottstein’s husband of 39 years died, she felt like her world had crumbled.

“The bottom had fallen out my life, as in an earthquake, when the ground on which one has stood firmly for years suddenly collapses,” she writes in “Surviving Widowhood” (Gefen, 2002). “Would I have to wait for rescue workers to pull me out and put me back on my feet?”

Unfortunately, as Goshen-Gottstein made clear in her book, there is no road map for how to get back on your feet; no emotional recovery drug that can make it all OK. Most people must navigate on their own this desolate landscape of loss. Yet there are things that they can do that can make this experience at least bearable, if not easier: join a bereavement support group, turn to rabbis for religious guidance .

“Surviving Widowhood” is one of a number of Jewish books on dealing with loss. But what makes it unique is instead of citing hard-andfast-rules about how people should act when their spouses die, she walks them through her own experiences and, using her skills as a psychologist, is able to thoughtfully analyze her own and others’ reactions to the gamut of emotions bought about by the experience of death.

For the author, dealing with the death of her husband Moshe — a well-known academic in Israel and the winner of the Israel Prize — was an ongoing process that continued long after the shiva (seven days of mourning).

The book is unflinchingly personal and she does not shy away from talking about the little things that his death affected, such as changing habits that had become second nature, like transitioning in speech from “we” to “I.” The hardship in having no one to share the minutiae of life, she finds, is one of the most difficult things to deal with.

She also writes about the role that Judaism played in her emotional recovery. Goshen-Gottstein found the moratorium provided by the shiva “allowed me to express my grief uninhibitedly. What a relief it was not only to know what to do, but also how long you have to do it.”

Yet, there are other philosophical aspects of Judaism that can help one deal with loss, said Rabbi Levi Meier, chaplain at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

“The major way that Jewish people cope is through real belief and religious imagination that the future good can already be experienced now,” Meier said, referring to the feeling one has when one recovers emotionally from the loss. For those not spiritually evolved enough to see the silver lining in a horribly dismal rain cloud, Meier says that sitting shiva and reciting ‘Kaddish’ can ease the pain.

“The recitation of ‘Kaddish’ is like an incessant dialogue with the deceased, because when you say ‘Kaddish’ you are constantly thinking about the deceased, and they become more visible as a result,” Meier said. “Also, the laws of mourning don’t let you mourn by yourself. When you sit shiva, people come to visit, people come to the funeral and when you go to shul to say “Kaddish” you need a minyan. You need to mourn with a community, so you might feel existentially alone, but still connected to other people.”

While it might be important to feel connected to the outside community, many people who are grieving feel the need to talk to others who are sharing their experiences. Many synagogues, such as Wilshire Boulevard Temple and Temple Isaiah on Pico Boulevard offer bereavement support groups where people can meet others who are going through the same thing. Typically therapists or trained counselors run these groups, and people usually attend them for one to two years.

“I think every single emotion comes into grief,” said Fredda Wasserman the adult program director at Our House, a Woodland Hills organization that provides grief support services. “From sadness, guilt and anger, to joyful memories and sometimes relief. People usually don’t know to expect all of that, and don’t know that all of that is normal. Going to a bereavement support group provides people with a lot of long-term support. People often feel that they don’t want to be a burden to someone else by having to share their feelings, but in these groups, they are talking to other people who know what they are feeling and what they need.”

“Grief is not a psychiatric disorder,” she continued. “It’s a normal reaction to natural process, and people’s feelings, emotions and responses can be normalized when they are with other people who are going through the same thing.”

“All these things are cathartic.” Meier added, “Ultimately, after you lose someone and you go through the process and do as much as you can, you actually come out of it stronger, with a greater sense of faith, a greater understanding of God and a greater understanding of life and of death.”

For more information on bereavement support groups in Los Angeles County, visit the Jewish Bereavment Project’s Web site at www.jewishbereavement.com.

Easing the Pain


Ethan Gura doesn’t remember his sister. Still, he cannot forgether. He can’t forget that Rebecca Alexandra Gura died in 1991 after afour and a half year battle with leukemia. She was then six yearsold. He was three.

Now, at age 9, Ethan is a veteran of various therapies, alldesigned to help him deal with his anger and sense of loss. We mightwonder why someone who faced bereavement so young would continue todwell on it. But Ethan’s earliest recollections are of his parentsleaving him with a babysitter so they could spend hours by hissister’s hospital bed. Their grief is still fresh in his mind, as isthe fact that “they didn’t have time to spend with me.” And he can’tshake the fear that someone else in the family — his parents,himself — might get sick and die. His anxieties have affected hisschoolwork, as well as his interaction with others.

This past summer, the family rabbi suggested a new possibility forEthan: a support group run through the Children’s Bereavement Programof Jewish Big Brothers of Los Angeles.

The Big Brothers organization, which has been in the L.A. areasince 1915, has traditionally focused on the children of singleparent families. But since 1994, it has been reaching out to Jewishyoungsters who have suffered the death of a loved one. Under thedirection of Julie Gould, a licensed clinical social worker, thesekids come together for eight weeks of intensive sessions in whichthey use art, games, and storytelling to get a handle on theirfeelings.

The groups are limited to Jewish children because a discussion ofJewish burial and mourning customs is part of the mix. The mainthrust of the group is not to endorse the Jewish way in death andmourning (to borrow the title from Rabbi Maurice Lamm’s classic bookon the subject). Rather it is to help children lessen their ownfeeling of isolation by showing them that others, too, are strugglingto cope with similar emotions. Another key goal is to give childrenthe tools to move beyond their loss.

At the end of his eight-week program, Ethan seemed eager to sharewith me what his bereavement group was like. He joined in willingly,because “I had so many feelings I couldn’t get out. I didn’t want tobe sad all the time.” But how did he feel about being grouped withchildren who ranged in age from six to 12? On a school playground,kids of different ages don’t normally mingle in friendly fashion. Butwithin the group Ethan found a common bond: “They all had somethingthat was sad and different about them . . . they had the samesadness.” This despite the fact that their losses were not identical.Two children had lost parents; one was mourning a dead grandfather.Ethan matter-of-factly explained that one girl’s mother had died fromtaking drugs; one boy’s best friend had succumbed to a brain tumor.

Ethan remembers art projects , journal writing, and “coolactivities.” A particular favorite was “jumping on bubble paper toget out our anger.” He also discovered that writing was a therapeuticway to soothe turbulent emotions. At one session, the kids learnedthat death comes in many forms. That day “I drew a picture aboutthings people could die from,” including drugs, guns, and carcrashes, “like Princess Diana.”

A highlight of the eight weeks is the Cloud Trip, which starts aswhat therapists call a “guided imagery exercise.” The kids lie on thefloor, close their eyes, and go on an imaginary journey with theirloved one. They ride in a vehicle of their own choosing (Ethan pickeda motor scooter), and travel through a fantasy environment which maybe their personal interpretation of Heaven. They enjoy one another’scompany in these magical surroundings, then quietly say good-bye.Next the children separate, and on huge sheets of paper, draw thescenarios they’ve envisioned. At length, they re-assemble to sharethe fruits of their imaginings.

When I talked to Ethan, he seemed serene in his acceptance of whathad happened to his sister. He calmly explained how he used to fearthat his mother would suffer Rebecca’s fate, but that now heunderstands better how such things work. He’s planning to tell hisyounger brother about Rebecca, but sagely notes that Alexander, atthree, is still too young to comprehend that death is a part of life.Maybe when he’s four or five. . . .

I doubt (as do Ethan’s parents) that the Jewish Big Brothersprogram will wipe away all of his anxieties. There is, for one thing,no money budgeted to follow up on a child’s progress six months afterhis group has held its celebratory last-session pizza party. But itseems clear that Big Brothers has given Ethan a soothing newperspective on something that (in the words of his father Dennis)”he’ll be processing till he’s an adult.”

Bereavement is very much in the news as I write this, and thebroad consensus is that the stiff-upper-lip approach to loss is nothealthy for anyone. It’s encouraging that the Jewish traditionsanctions the sharing of sorrow: Rabbi Lamm’s “The Jewish Way ofDeath and Mourning” in fact makes clear that Judaism encourages openexpressions of grief, within the context of the ancient rituals. ButLamm’s book, like most others which discuss death from a Jewishperspective, is no help to a child who’s looking for ways to copewith an adult-sized sorrow. I’m glad that Jewish Big Brothers hasstepped forward to help children like Ethan acknowledge their painand move on.

Beverly Gray writes about education from Santa Monica.

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