Brothers reunite with hidden ‘sister’ after 65 years


During a teary-eyed meeting in Wellington, New Zealand, on Tuesday, 70-year-old Elli Mantegari met members of the family who hid her for almost two years in Nazi-occupied Holland. The reunion brings an end to a search that has lasted 65 years.

Mantegari, then Elli Szanowski, was only a few weeks old when she was hidden in the Amsterdam home of Johanna and Frits Hakkens in 1942. Her father had been killed by the Nazis, and her mother fled to Switzerland.

Toward the end of the war, Elli was reunited with her mother and sister. But the Hakkens, who moved to New Zealand in the 1960s, died a decade later without learning her fate. All they had were old photographs of Elli as a little girl.

“I’m still above the clouds. I am yet to digest everything. I’m very, very happy and grateful to know that I had people who saved my life,” said Mantegari, who now lives in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Mantegari met Richard and Marcel Hakkens, the sons Johanna and Frits Hakkens, at Wellington Airport. In war-ravaged Amsterdam, Richard Hakkens had been Elli Szanowski’s secret foster brother.

“She is my sister,” Richard said, “my mother, who had borne three sons, said she was the daughter we never had.”

“We are very grateful for the parents that we had. You can be in the most difficult situation and the outcome is a story like this … about peace and love and kindness,” said Marcel Hakkens, who was born six years after the war.

In September 2010, Marcel Hakkens had taken his 9-year-old grandson, Caleb, to see the film “Nicholas Winton: The Power of Good,” a documentary about the Kindertransport. Caleb was deeply moved by the film, which recounts how hundreds of Jewish children were rescued from the Nazis in World War II.

Afterward the family told Caleb how his great-grandmother had hidden a tiny Jewish baby girl and how the family had unsuccessfully tried to find her after the war.

“Try one more time Nana,” he asked his grandmother, Gloria Hakkens.

Johanna and Frits Hakkens had told their daughter-in-law about Elli, and Gloria had joined the family hunt to find her. But every road led to a dead end. Unsure of the correct spelling for Elli’s surname, the family eventually gave up the hunt.

Driven by Caleb’s curiosity, Gloria Hakkens recently tried again. After another dead end, she turned to Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, which suggested she advertise in Aanspraak, a Dutch journal distributed to those receiving restitution and pensions as a result of the Nazi atrocities perpetrated on Dutch Jewry.

Lea Radziner, Elli’s sister, saw the ad.

Radziner, 72, had broken her leg during a hike and was laid up in her Encino home.

“Aanspraak was delivered to my home and this time I read it from cover to cover. I saw the ad looking for Elli and I thought ‘This sounds very much like my sister,’ ” she said.

A young Elli Mantegari (nee Szanowski)

After Mantegari got the call from her sister, she e-mailed the Hakkens family and set up a meeting on Skype.

“Marcel produced a photo of the little baby who had become part of their family and I immediately yelled, ‘It’s me!’ He asked me to hold on while he found another photograph. This time I gasped and told him to hold on. I had exactly the same photo.

“Before she died, my mother told me that Jo, our housekeeper in Amsterdam, had taken me in when my mother had to flee the country. But I had no idea that I had stayed hidden in her home for what was probably almost two years. And now Jo’s family has found me,” she said.

On a Sunday morning in February 1941, Mantegari’s father, Avraham Szanowski, went out on an errand. He never returned. The previous day, a German officer had been killed and the Nazis trapped 400 young Jewish men as retribution.

Radziner, who joined her sister in Wellington, said, “They closed off bridges and took the young Jews away. We were never to see our father again. After the war, we sought out information as to his fate. The Germans kept scrupulous records and we learned that he had died in Matthausen. The official record reads bronchial pneumonia, but we believe he was worked to death in a slave labor camp,”

Avraham’s brother, Jacob, had remained in Holland. He had previously immigrated to Argentina and was protected by his South American passport. Jacob received information that Avraham’s wife, Gitel, was slated to be collected for forced labor and he begged her to flee. She did, but not before ensuring that her children were in safe hands.

However, Ellie’s stay with the Hakkens family came to an end when young Richard Hakkens developed diphtheria. Ellie was transferred to the Dutch underground child protection system.

After the war, Gitel returned to Amsterdam. Since her brother-in-law Jacob knew where Elli had been hidden, Gitel found her almost immediately in the city of Haarlem. But it took a massive, desperate search to find Lea. Gitel showed her older daughter’s photograph to everyone she met and eventually the mother and daughter were reunited at a farmhouse in Horst.

Radziner still remembers that day, saying that her mother seemed like an absolute stranger in her eyes.

Reunited with her daughters, Gitel moved her family to Argentina. Gitel and Lea eventually settled in Los Angeles, and Elli and her husband made a new life for themselves in Brazil.

“We have so much to be grateful for. That two people can do so much to help so many,” Lea Radziner said of Johanna and Frits Hakkens.

Addressing Marcel and Richard, Radziner said: “If there were more people like your parents, this would be a much better world. Our children and our grandchildren are miracles.”

Gloria Hakkens added: “When hearing Frits and Jo’s story, people say it’s amazing. But this would have been a normal thing for Jo and Frits to have done. She would do the same thing today. That’s the sort of people they were. They did the right thing.”

Henry Benjamin is the editor of J-Wire, an online Jewish news service for Australia and New Zealand.

Rahm Emanuel is a fighting policy wonk with a Jewish soul


Political insight, killer in a fight, Yiddishkayt — it’s an inseparable package when it comes to Rahm Emanuel, say those who know President-elect Barack Obama’s pick to be the next White House chief of staff.

Since his days as a fundraiser and then a “political adviser” — read: enforcer — for President Bill Clinton, Emanuel has earned notoriety as a no-holds-barred politico. Accept the good with the bad because it’s of a piece, said Steve Rabinowitz, who worked with Emanuel in the Clinton White House.

“He can be a ‘mamzer,’ but he’s our mamzer,” said Rabinowitz, using the Yiddish term for “bastard,” speaking both as a Democrat and a Jew. “Sometimes that’s what you need.”

The apocrypha is legendary, if somewhat hard to pin down: Jabbing a knife into a table screaming “Dead!” as colleagues shout out the names of political enemies, sending a dead fish to a rival, screaming at friends and enemies alike for no good reason.

Even his allies acknowledge that Emanuel, 48, can be on edge at times.

“He’s not running for Miss Congeniality, ever,” said U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), who has known Emanuel since they worked at Illinois Public Action, a public interest group, in the early 1980s. “He is relentless; he doesn’t give up, but in a strategic way. He’s good at figuring out other people’s self-interest and negotiating in a way that comes out in his favor.”

Emanuel, an Illinois congressman who boasts strong ties to his local Jewish community and the Jewish state, also can be seen as embodying Obama’s stated commitment to Israeli security and diplomacy: During the first Iraq War, Emanuel flew to Israel as a volunteer to help maintain military vehicles. Two years later, he was an aide to Clinton, helping to push along the newly launched Oslo process.

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Ari, Rahm recalled, “beat the crap out of him” — not because of the bike, not to protect his brother, “but because of what he said about black kids.”

Rahm defended his brother in terms he might have applied to himself: “Where others see fierceness, I see loyalty. Where others see intensity, I see passion.”

In general, Emanuel is fiercely loyal to his family, and they were a consideration in his hesitation to take work he’s always dreamed of having — he waited two days to say yes. Obama, in his statement announcing the pick, recognized the pain it would cause Emanuel’s wife, Amy, and “their children, Zach, Ilana and Leah.”

Emanuel, born to an Israeli doctor who married a local woman after he moved to Chicago in the mid-1950s, speaks Hebrew and fondly recalls summering each year in Israel as a child — including just after the 1967 Six-Day War. He attends Anshe Sholom, a Modern Orthodox synagogue in Chicago, and sends his children to Jewish day school.

His rabbi, Asher Lopatin, recalls Emanuel approaching him just before Rosh Hashanah this year, telling him that an effort to put together a bailout package for the hard-hit stock market before the holiday had failed and asking whether it was permissible to take conference calls on the holiday in order to salvage the bill.

“I asked, ‘Is it as serious as people say it is?'” the rabbi recalled. “He said, ‘Without this bill there could be a meltdown of the financial system.'”

Lopatin considered the effect such a failure would have on children and the poor.

“I felt it was a case of pikuach nefesh, the commandment that places the saving of life above all other commandments,” Lopatin said, and gave Emanuel the OK.

The somberness of the request couldn’t quell Emanuel’s acerbic wit. Lopatin recalled Emanuel’s teasing, wondering whether the status of the rabbi’s 401(k) investments wasn’t also behind the heksher.

“He kibitzed with me about that,” the rabbi said.

Emanuel repeated the story, to raucous laughter, in caucus meetings on the Hill — an example of how he will skid in the same sentence from Judaism to a liberal commitment to social reforms to hard-nosed politics, Schakowsky said.

“There’s barely a caucus meeting where he doesn’t make some reference to being Jewish, often in a humorous way,” she said.

But his Jewishness does more than inform his sense of humor, Emanuel’s rabbi said.

“He has a very deep commitment and feel for Yiddishkayt,” Lopatin said, “and it’s a Yiddishkayt that’s about tikkun olam, having a positive effect on the world.”

Beauty can arise from tragedy


In mid-July, our 26-year-old son, Micah, lost a lifelong friend, whom he had gone all through school with at Adat Ari El and Milken. On that day, Micah went to a birthday party for his friends Arash Khorsandi and Daniel Levian, two Persian Jews in his intimate circle of about 20 friends from his high school class. The bonds among these kids have only grown stronger since they all returned from college.

Micah left the party early because there was a reunion at Camp Alonim that evening that he did not want to miss. We spoke to him and asked about the party, “Lots of drinking, but I got to spend some good time with Daniel Levian, who kept kidding me, ‘Micah, I knew you’d be one of the white boys to show up.'”

Since the seventh grade, the Milken friends have always joked with one another about their Persian and Ashkenazic backgrounds. My son and all his Ashkenazic friends used to refer to the Persians as the Persian Posse. No one could have predicted the lifelong friendship that would flourish among all of them.

Late the next afternoon, Micah called sobbing: “Daniel Levian was killed in a car accident leaving the party last night. His brother is in critical condition.”

As the events unfolded, it was a story that could only be measured against the biblical account of Job. It was everyone’s worst nightmare. Daniel and his brother were passengers. They had taken a taxi to the party and intended to take one home. But as they were leaving, they accepted a ride home with another friend, who survived the accident with minor injuries. Daniel’s brother initially was given a 2 percent chance of survival; he has since come home and is expected to make a full recovery.

Arash and Daniel had been inseparable best friends since the seventh grade. I remember Daniel as an outgoing, engaging roly-poly kid and Arash as a talkative little guy with big, expressive eyes. They grew up to be two swarthy, handsome, successful young professionals with slick black hair raised to stylish points above their scalps — Daniel a real estate investor and Arash a lawyer.

Following Daniel’s death, Arash immediately began working through his sorrow. Just days after the accident, he gathered his friends to meet as a group with a psychotherapist. He followed up with a Friday night Shabbat dinner attended by those who had been at the party, because they all recognized that they needed to be together.

The conversations that ensued began with memories of Daniel, but then transitioned into why Daniel had died; what vulnerabilities they all could encounter; and for which actions could they take responsibility. Faced with Daniel’s death, they were forced to admit that the out-of-control consumption of alcohol among their generation was the fatal mistake. As they spoke further, they realized that many of their generation of young Jewish professionals, including themselves, were living in excess, not only with alcohol, but also through materialism. They spoke about their value system, which ultimately returned them to their Jewish roots.

Since July, about 30 young people, Persians and Ashkenazim, have begun to meet regularly to create the LEV Foundation, inspired by their love and their loss of Daniel Levian. Lev, which means “heart” in Hebrew, is what they often called Daniel.

Recently I sat in as Arash and another close friend, David Chasin, came to The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles to present the LEV Foundation to Federation President John Fishel and ask for guidance and infrastructure support. David is a participant in The Federation’s Geller Leadership Project. The two described Daniel’s personality and values, and through pictures and stories, they brought him right into the room with them. They proudly told Fishel they were not looking for money; the group, their friends and families would be the funders.

The LEV Foundation envisions itself as built upon multiple pillars. One of them would be social service projects designed to protect young Jews from driving drunk by offering free taxi service to pick them up and take them home. The group even worked out ways that kids’ cars could be driven home so no one would feel they had to drive in order to hide their behavior from their parents.

Another pillar would be advocacy, tackling the issues of excess so apparent in this generation.

Another would be about values, offering Shabbat dinners alternating between Ashkenazic and Persian traditions, Torah study, Israel travel and funding. During this phase of The Federation presentation, Arash and David commented that every one of the 40 young people involved in the creation of this foundation are either day school graduates or Birthright Israel alumni.

I thought about the millions of dollars the Jewish world has invested in day schools and Birthright. If there has ever been a return on the community’s dollars, this effort is the best demonstration. When the critical need arose to face this tragedy, these kids had the knowledge, the values, the tools and the path on which to place their sorrow, so that from it they could work to create a better world. These are our community’s children, of whom we can be very proud.

I thought about all the comments I had heard over the years in the kids’ day schools about the Persian, Israeli and Russian populations.

“Oh, the school is becoming so Persian! The school is becoming so Israeli!” Together, these kids prove that their parents were wrong. As they are showing us, the schools have turned out Jewish kids who can bridge the gaps between them themselves by celebrating one another’s cultures, knowing they are all deeply connected as Jews and friends who share many common experiences.

As Arash and David walked out, I could see Daniel Levian being carried on their shoulders: He wasn’t the tall, thin young man with slick black hair. He was the roly-poly, engaging kid I remembered, and I realized he belongs to all of us.

Gary Wexler, a former advertising agency creative director, owns Passion Marketing, a consulting firm to nonprofit organizations worldwide, including major Jewish organizations in the United States, Canada and Israel.

Obituaries


Kate Altman died Dec. 28 at 97. She is survived by her daughter, Sheila (David) Aenis; son, Gerald (Sharon); five grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; and brother, Yale (Bobbi) Simons. Mount Sinai

Anne Bergstein died Dec. 23 at 90. She is survived by her sons, Ralph and Roger. Malinow and Silverman

Mortimer Berkey died Dec. 23 at 97. He is survived by his nieces, Lynn (Larry) Robbins, Lolly Coria and Barbara (Cal) Miller; and nephews, Burt (Helene) Homonoff and David. Mount Sinai

Gerald Bernstein died Dec. 20 at 84. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy; sons, Stephen and David (Patrice); and two granddaughers. Malinow and Silverman.

Irene Bistreich died Dec. 23 at 83. She is survived by her daughter, Wendy. Malinow and Silverman.

Abraham (Abe) Blumberg died Dec. 28 at 85. He is survived by his wife, Sadie; sons Eddie, Geoffrey and Aubrey; daughter, Beverly; stepdaughter, Ethne; stepsons, Morris and Colin (Sharon); seven grandchildren; two stepgrandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Eden

Miriam Dybnis died Dec. 29 at 86. She is survived by her husband, Henri; daughter, Monique (Moshe) Goldwasser; son, Dr. Sacha (Bunny); and grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Rachelle Elek died Dec. 29 at 87. She is survived by her daughter, Gwynne; sister, Eve Rosove; brother, Sheldon (Babs) Bay; sisters-in-law Phyllis and Rita Bay; nieces; and nephew. Hillside

Helen Joseph Epstein died Nov. 17 at 92. She is survived by her daughter, Joni (Monte) Gordon; brother, Benjamin (Ellen) Joseph; grandchildren John (Sun Xin) Gordon and Elizabeth (Jack) Stephens-Morgan; and three great-greatchildren. Hillside

Mildred Ettlinger died Dec. 19 at 94. She is survived by her sister, Bertha Carp. Malinow and Silverman.

Paulette Gast died Dec. 27 at 87. She is survived by her daughter, Nancy; son, Allen; four grandchildren; and sister, Selene Sheriff. Hillside

Sylvia Eleanor Goldstein died Dec. 27 at 89. She is survived by her daughters, Elaine (Berwyn) Bleecker Friedman and Rosalyn Gilman; son, Charles (Suzanne); eight grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; sister, Gertrude Sunshine. Malinow and Silverman

Sadie Grossman died Dec. 20 at 101. She is survived by her son, Barry; and two grandsons. Malinow and Silverman.

Ruth Hoffman died Dec. 24 at 89. She is survived by her son, Paul; sister, Gloria Wolen; and nine grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman.

Esther Karpel died Dec. 24 at 83. She is survived by her daughter, Susan; sister, Mathilde Goldstein; two grandchildren; brother, Morris Weiss. Malinow and Silverman

Esther Kaufman died Dec. 28 at 90. She is survived by her sons, Rick, Ken (Karen), Ben and Mike; daughter, Sonya Schus; and five grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Frank Lerner died Dec. 17 at 73. He is survived by his wife, Lillian; daughter, Shari (Henry) DeCambra; sons, Mark (Noreen) and Stuart (Karen); six grandchildren; and sister, Nessa (Bob) Wilk. Malinow and Silverman.

Leslie Howard Levin died Dec. 22 at 81. He is survived by his wife, Marilyn; daughter, Diane; son Jeffrey, (JoAne); and brother, Bill. Malinow and Silverman.

Libby Levine died Dec. 22 at 96. She is survived by her daughters, Wendy (Bill) Carpio and Julie (Bob) Sutton; six grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Bruce Liebovich died Dec. 24 at 43. He is survived by his sons, Yehuda, Mordy and Joshua; daughter, Ester; and parents, Ted and Shirley. Chevra Kadisha

Jerome Barry Ludgin died Dec. 23 at 65. He is survived by his wife, Rachelle; daughter, Debra (Scott) Klein; brother, Arthur (Bobbie); and sister, Janice (Mickey) Stevens. Malinow and Silverman.

Shirley Markson died Dec. 20 at 80. She is survived by her son, David; daughters, Stacey (Vince) Winninghoff and Peggy; brother, Marc (Louise) Monheimer; and six grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman.

Marcia Merritt died Dec. 27 at 66. She is survived by her husband, Dr. Michael; sons, Brent (Hilleri) and Steve; two grandchildren; and brother, Richard (Barbara) Fine. Malinow and Silverman

Sylvia Muchnick died Dec. 29 at 88. She is survived by her son, Dr. Carl; sister, Ethel Rosenfeld; and three grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Harry Phillips died Dec. 26 at 91. He is survived by his son, Frank; daughter, Sandra Schur; and three grandchildren. Hillside

Louis Pomerantz died Dec. 24 at 91. He is survived by his daughter, Doreen (Shalom) Cohen; granddaughters, Lori (Roger) Lampert and Wendy (Philip) Anthony; and great-grandchildren, Brian and Rachel Lampert. Mount Sinai

Susan Ponedel died Nov. 14 at 60. She is survied by her mother, Mollie; and sister, Ann Bourman. Home of Peace

Nathan Rauchway died Dec. 29 at 92. He is survived by his wife, Marly; children, Enid (Erlend) Graf, Susan (Harold) Fetterman, Michael (Audrey) and Amy; and six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Leo Rosenbaum died Aug. 14 at 86. He is survived by his wife, Gloria; daughters, Leslie and Lori; son, Louis; grandchildren, Alexis and Zachary; and sister, Janet Cornblatt. Hillside

Rose Sahlman died Dec. 25 at 93. She is survived by her friends. Malinow and Silverman

Theresa Schneider died Dec. 15 at 87. She is survived by her daughters, Leah (Gregory) Bergman and Diane; son, Alan; three grandchildren; and brother, Bernard Gershman. Malinow and Silverman.

Joseph Schwartz died Dec. 26 at 84. He is survived by his wife, Marcia; daughter, Sandra (Stephen) Brown; son Stephen; and eight grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Bella Smolyakova died Dec. 27 at 97. She is survived by her nephew, Yesim (Polina) Koretsky. Malinow and Silverman

Suzanne Stolnitz died Dec. 23 at 69. She is survived by her husband, Art; son, Scott (Cindy); granddaughter, Skye; and sister, Barbara Kantro. Mount Sinai

Joan Lenore Strong died Dec. 24 at 71. She is survived by her husband, Dr. George; daughters, Cori Persky and Nikki Shocket; sons, Evan Peller and Shannon; seven grandchildren; and brother, Dr. Paul Rubinstein. Malinow and Silverman

Edward Leon Vendt died Dec. 29 at 90. He is survived by his wife, Lillian; daughter, Sheila (Dick) Miller; sons, Jack Bellano and Steve (Cheryl); and two grandsons. Malinow and Silverman

Bess Warren died Dec. 25 at 88. She is survived by her son, Roger; daughters, Beverly Safsel and Rhonda Diamond; six grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; one great-great-granddaughter; and sisters, Natalie Apple and Grace Feuerberg. Chevra Kadisha

Thelma Weiss died Dec. 21 at 79. She is survived by her son, Michael. Malinow and Silverman.

The Journal publishes obituary notices free. Please send an e-mail with the name, age and survivors of the deceased to obits@jewishjournal.com.Please note: Longer notices will be edited. Deadline for publication isMonday at 9 a.m.

Obituaries


Mildred Ball died Sept. 23 at 91. She is survived by her sons, Joseph and David. Malinow and Silverman

Albert Benaltabet died Sept. 28 at 93. He is survived by his wife, Allegra; daughters, Lynn (Don) Sonderling and Michele Smith; four grandchildren; one great-grandchild; brother, Samuel; Malinow and Silverman

Albina Bennett died Oct. 1, at 83. She is survived by her son, Dr. Martin; and daughter, Marilyn (Larry Mott). Mount Sinai

Edythe Bennett died Sept. 22 at 77. She is survived by her husband, Benjamin; daughter, Nina Cantley; and three grandchildren. Groman

Ann Boodnick died Sept. 24 at 94. She is survived by her son, Jerome (Aliza) Ben-Ner; daughter, Margartet (Norman) Arinsberg; five grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. Groman

Sheldon Cohen died Sept. 22 at 60. He is survived by his father, William; and social worker, Ivette Rodriguez. Groman

Selma Comsky died Aug. 24 at 79. She is survived by her daughters, Michelle Margolis, Jan and Andrea; sons-in-law, Jack Cousin, and Mark Margolis; and two grandchildren.

Sarah Decovnick died Sept. 22 at 100. She is survived by her sons, Stanley and Harvey; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Groman

Anthony Peter Merrill Dent died in July at 61. He is survied by his friends.

Gil Donchin died Sept. 26 at 42. He is survived by his parents, Emanual and Rina. Malinow and Silverman

Jean Dreisen died Oct. 3 at 86. She is survived by her daughters, Janet and Betsy; three grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Hillside

Selma Ruth Cohn Erso died Sept. 28 at 80. She is survived by her husband, Henry; son, Harold Rice-Erso; daughter, Robin (Michael) McIntyre; five grandchildren; and sister, Marcia Spiegel. Mount Sinai

Edward Ezra Feinstein died Sept. 23 at 91. He is survived by his wife, Li Jiang; and nephew, Dr. Eben. Malinow and Silverman

Anna Fox died Sept. 30 at 93. She is survived by her daughters, Helen MacKinnon and Marilyn Cooke; and three grandchildren. Hillside

Minnie Garr died Sept. 27 at 83. She is survived by her sons, Norman and Rabbi Ronald (Minda); three grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; sisters, Fay Levy and Tamar (Dr. Gerald) Freeman; and brother, Nathan Frankel. Mount Sinai

Hanne Gilinsky died Oct. 1 at 73. She is survived by daughter, Margaret (Thomas) Noble; in-laws, Barbara and Jerry Werlin and Richard and Hetty Gilinsky; nieces; and nephews. Hillside

Elsie Goldstein died Sept. 29 at 95. She is survived by her sons, Maurice and Gerald (Naomi); and eight grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Harris Goldstein died Oct. 5 at 64. He is survived by his wife, Andrea; sons, Matt and Dave; two grandchildren; parents, Harold and Adeline; and brothers, Joel and Gary. Mount Sinai

Frances Shirley Kass died Oct. 3 at 86. She is survived by her husband, Reuben; daughters, Ilene Blok and Anne Bowman; and four grandchildren. Groman

Myer Keleman died Oct. 4 at 90. He is survived by his wife, Helen; daughter, Dorene (Steven) Shapiro; son, Steven (Laurie); four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Sylvia Keys died Sept. 27 at 94. She is survived by her sons, Stan (Dorothy), Paul (Carmen) and Harvey (Mickey); six grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Alvin Klugman died Oct. 2 at 83. He is survived by his wife, Marjorie; daughter, Peggy (John) Cronin; grandsons, Paul and Bryan Cronin; and sister, Faye Hershman. Hillside

Sally Kraft died Sept. 28 at 95. She is survived by her daughter, Sheila (Dr. Elliot) Leifer; three grandchildren; and five great grandchildren. Groman

Sol Lederman died Oct. 4 at 84. He is survived by his daughters, Jill Fine, Patti Rose and Sue Minkoff; four grandchildren; and sister, Rose Silverstein. Groman

Bernard Lifson died Oct. 3 at 94. He is survived by his son, Allan; daughter, Barbara (Mendel) Kahan; and grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Dr. Irving Madoff died Oct. 2 at 96. He is survived by his wife, Frances; daughters, Cindy (Bertrand) Marcano and Jane; grandsons, Stewart and Scott Marcano; and great-granddaughter, Hannah. Hillside

Benjamin Gale Mannis died Sept. 25 at 94. He is survived by his daughter, Lynn Hill. Malinow and Silverman

Steven Jules Markman died Sept. 30 at 59. He is survived by his mother, Esther Kevenson; son, Joseph; sister, Barbara (Bert) Pronin; and brother, Larry. Malinow and Silverman

M. Stanley Muskat died Oct. 3 at 96. He is survived by his daughters, Joyce and Carol; and nephew, Harvey Kates. Malinow and Silverman

Joseph Nathenson died Oct. 4 at 80. He is survived by his wife, Ruth; son, Larry; daughter, Jill (Thomas) Bassett; one grandchild; and sister, Shirley (Ken) Bassett. Mount Sinai

Denise Rachel Oschin died Oct. 1 at 52. She is survived by her daughter, Ritta Sophia Papadopoulos; stepmother, Aggi; sister, Renie. Groman

Edythe Pauline Ouslander died Sept. 28 at 91. She is survived by her son, Arnold; and one grandchild. Groman

Constance Passamaneck died Oct. 5 at 69. She is survived by her husband, Steven; daughter, Julia (William) Jensen; stepchildren, Evi (Scott) Graham and Daniel (Kelly); and three grandchildren. Hillside

Howard Pearlman died Oct. 4. He is survived by his wife, Evelyn; son, Larry, (Janelle); daughter, Judy; three grandchildren; great-granddaughter, Georgia; and sister, Bernice; Hillside

Leslie Preston died Sept. 29 at 63. He is survived by his brother, Monty (Polly); and nephew, Darren. Mount Sinai

Maurice Rabin died Oct. 1 at 83. He is survived by his nieces, Wendy (John) Kelsey, and Maxine Blaurock; and nephew, Michael Pantel.

Walter Roth died Sept. 29 at 85. He is survived by his sons, Albert and Edward; and former wife, Henny. Sholom Chapels

Arthur Rothenberg died Oct. 2 at 86. He is survived by his wife, Maxine; sons, Richard, Howard and Phillip; daughter, JoAnn Mercer; six grandchildren; and three great- grandchildren. Hillside

Davis Sarkin died Oct. 3 at 80. He is survived by his sons, Allan (Lisa) and Ralph; daughter, Robin Haines; six grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Groman

Rabbi Richard Ira Schachet died Sept. 20 at 70. He is survived by his daughter, Tamara (Wally) Schachet-Briskin; stepchildren; and two grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Obituaries


Werner Anders died Sept. 27 at 91. He is survived by his wife, Lily; daughter, Rachel (Leo) Woss; son, Gideon (Leslie); five grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchildren.
 
Roberta “Bobbie” Bernstein died Sept. 25 at 67. She is survived by her husband, Hy; sons, Steve and Keith; daughter, Deanna; and four grandchildren. Chevra Kadisha
 
Shari Cohen died Sept. 25 at 78. She is survived by her husband, Harry; daughters, Barbara Racklin, Margie Baumbac and Debra (Stuart) Blum; and three grandchildren. Mount Sinai
 
Jonathan Comras died Aug. 8 at 44. He is survived by parents, Jackie and Richard; and brother, Lawrence. Mount Sinai
 
Selma Comsky died Aug. 24 at 79. She is survived by her daughters, Michelle Margolis, Jan and Andrea; sons-in-law, Mark Margolis and Jack Cousin; and two grandchildren.
 
Harry Drucker died Sept. 8 at 77. He is survived by his wife, Sylvia; and son, Barry. Sholom Chapels
 
Mae Falikoff died Sept. 20 at 95. She is survived by her son, Marvin. Sholom ChapelsJordon Feldman died Sept. 27 at 70. he is survived by his wife, Bette; son, Adam; and daughter, Abbie. Mount Sinai
 
Isaac Fields died Aug. 26 at 87. He is survived by his wife, Dora; son, Allan (Elyse); daughter, Pauline (Milton) Zablow; six grandchildren; and brothers Max (Betty) and David (Gladys).
 
Mildred Handelsman died Sept. 17 at 91. She is survived by her husband, David; and sons, Burton and William. Groman
 
Jeffrey Michael Harman died Sept. 22. at 48. He is survived by his wife, Debbie; son, Eric; parents Martha and Sam; brothers, Harvey and Steven; and friends. Beth Israel Cemetery
 
Alice Horowitz died Sept. 14 at 90. She is survived by her son, David (Miriam); daughter, Phyllis (Dr. David) Katzin; five grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Sholom Chapels
 
Ayouch Yechiel Ifrah died Sept. 18 at 85. He is survived by his sons, David, Albert, Gabriel, Raphael and Max; daughters, Jacqueline, Annette, Helen, Tersa and Judith; 14 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Chevra Kadisha
 
Herman Klein died Sept. 10 at 91. She is survived by her daughters, Jenny (David) Cohen and Rose Margolis; son, Larry; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Sholom Chapels
 
Semen Khanukayev died Sept. 20 at 87. He is survived by his wife, Olga; sons, Josef and Igor; daughter, Anna; nine grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Chevra Kadisha
 
Aaron Phillip Moss died Sept. 19 at 89. He is survived by his son, Jack Crayne; daughter, Phyllis; and stepson, Richard Cohen. Groman
 
Herbert “Lou” Press died Sept. 25 at 83. He is survived by his wife, Ina; daughter, Susan Shulman; son, Evan (Isis); four grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; sister, Evelyn Lehman; and brother, Burt (Trueen). Mount Sinai
 
Martin Alden Rohrlich died Sept. 17at 87. He is survived by his daughters, Janice Lang, Linda Cohn and Andrea Cohen; and six grandchildren.
 
Alfred Ross died Sept. 12. He is survived by his brother, Max (Doris). Sholom Chapels
 
Martin Saben died Sept. 26 at 82. He is survived by his sons, Jack and Gary; and cousin, Glenda (Larry) Carver. Mount Sinai
 
Diana Ruth Siegel died Sept. 21 at 98. She is survived by her sons, Robert (Sally) and Allan (Melinda); daughter, Elaine (Harry) Smith; seven grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and brother, Al Powell. Mount Sinai
 
Sarah Silverberg died Sept. 17 at 88. She is survived by her nephews, Marvin Kay, Howard Rudnick and Jeff Monka. Sholom Chapels
 
Bess Smith died Sept. 25 at 89. She is survived by her sons, Murray and Barry (Denise); three grandchildren; and brother, Max Muravnick. Mount Sinai
 
Judith Tiger died Sept. 26 at 74. She is survived by her husband, Siggy; sons, Michael and Peter (Lynn); daughters, Inez (Mark) Tiger-Lizer and Leone (Etai) Zion; son-in-law, Drummond; and six grandchildren. Mount Sinai
 

It’s mayor meets mayor at Temple of the Arts; Women of vision see Jews’ future in Iran


It’s mayor meets mayor at Temple of the Arts
 
Mayor Yona Yahov of Haifa received a standing ovation after his Kol Nidre address at Temple of the Arts in Beverly Hills Sunday night. A few minutes earlier, by way of introducing Yahov, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa spoke candidly about the feeling of disorientation his famously frenetic schedule tends to induce.
 
“It’s almost like not knowing where I am at any given moment,” Villaraigosa confessed.
 
Luckily, the sound of Hebrew prayers and his recollection of a Yom Kippur appointment at a temple in Northridge earlier in the evening helped Villaraigosa get his bearings. During his brief remarks he praised his counterpart from Haifa as a man of peace.
 
In his sermon on the seed of resiliency, Rabbi David Barron spoke more pointedly about Yahov’s aptness as a speaker at Sunday’s service. Citing Yahov’s ongoing efforts to create understanding between Arabs and Jews, Barron called Yahov “a man who is practicing forgiveness, which we are here to reflect on.”
 
“This has been an awkward, unprecedented war,” Yahov said at the beginning of his speech. “It has not been soldiers against soldiers or ships against ships.”Yahov said that when a rocket struck the Carmelite monastery above Haifa at the onset of the conflict, a local investigator at the scene was puzzled to find tiny ball-bearings scattered about the area.
 
“We learned these are often packed into the belts of suicide bombers,” Yahov said, “to widen the effect of the blast.”
 
When it become clear that civilians were to be the targets of Hezbollah’s missile campaign, Yahov said one of his first concerns was to keep life as normal as possible for Haifa’s children, even under the city’s constant curfew.Soft laughter rippled through the audience when Yahov, a big silver-haired bear of a man, asked, “Can you imagine what to do with your kids if they were stuck in your house for a month?”
 
Yahov’s solution was to place his city’s youngest citizens in a very familiar environment. Each day of the conflict, from early morning until late afternoon, thousands of Haifa’s children were sheltered on the lower levels of underground parking garages at the city’s shopping malls.
 
“No enemy can destroy our life,” Yahov said.
 
After he thanked the congregation for its support, he concluded his remarks by saying, “We showed the whole world that the Jewish people are one people.”
 
— Nick Street, Contributing Writer

Women of vision see Jews’ future in Iran
 
Amidst growing tensions between Iran and the United States in recent months, the Iranian Jewish Women’s Organization (IJWO) in Los Angeles is planning a seminar at the Museum of Tolerance focusing on the future security of Jews living in Iran today.
 
The event, scheduled for Oct. 10 and organized by the Women of Vision chapter of IJWO, will include prominent Persian Jewish activists, leaders and intellectuals from Europe and Israel, as well as Los Angeles, and aims to shed light on the political, social, and psychological challenges faced by the approximately 20,000 Jews in Iran.
 
“We didn’t really select this seminar or its topic because we wanted to make a statement about ourselves as women, rather because it is an important topic that has not been addressed by the Iranian Jewish community nor the larger American Jewish community,” said Sharon Baradaran, one of the volunteer organizers of the IJWO seminar.
 
Baradaran said the seminar is particularly significant for opening new dialogue between the various factions within the Persian Jewish community that for years have often been at odds with one another on how to best address the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rhetoric of Iran’s fundamentalist regime without jeopardizing the lives of Jews still living in Iran.
 
“While every panel member has been very sensitive to safeguarding the best interest of the Jewish community, to address difficult questions about the future of the community in Iran is critical and if that means certain disagreements, then they should be discussed,” Baradaran said.
 
Local Persian Jews have expressed concern for the security of Iran’s Jews in recent months, following false media reports in May that the Iranian government had approved legislation requiring Jews to wear yellow bands on their clothing.In July, Iranian state-run television aired a pro-Hezbollah rally held by Jews living in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz, in what many local Persian Jewish activists believe was a propaganda stunt organized by the regime to show national solidarity for Hezbollah.
 
Maurice Motamed, the Jewish representative to the Iranian parliament, had been slated as a panelist for the seminar but withdrew, saying he will not be arriving in Los Angeles until after the seminar, Baradaran said. Some local Persian Jewish activists have expressed concern over public comments from Motamed during the past year, including his praise for Iran’s uranium enrichment program and his opposition to Israeli military actions against Palestinian terrorists in Gaza and Hezbollah terrorists in Southern Lebanon.
 
In January, Parviz Yeshaya, the former national chairman of the Jewish Council in Iran, issued a rare public statement questioning the logic of Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who had called the Holocaust a “myth”.
 
The Iranian Jewish Women’s organization was originally set up in 1947 in Iran and later re-established in 1976 in Los Angeles with the objective of recognizing the impact of Iranian Jewish women in the community. In 2002, the Women of Vision chapter and other chapters were added to the organization in an effort to reach out to younger generations of Iranian Jewish women.
 
The IWJO seminar will be held at the Museum of Tolerance on Oct. 10 at 6 p.m. For ticket information contact the IWJO at (818) 929-5936 or visit www.ijwo.org.
 
— Karmel Melamed, Contributing Writer
 
Captured soldier’s brother addresses students
 
Gadi Goldwasser — brother of Ehud Goldwasser, one of two Israeli soldiers captured on July 12 and still held by Hezbollah — spoke recently to students at UCLA and USC during a brief visit to Los Angeles. He addressed the business and law schools at USC, as well as Hillel and Chabad student groups during their Shabbat dinners.

Obituaries


Gladys Bloom died Aug. 27 at 87. She is survived by her daughters, Penelope Rosenberg and Lois Tunick; six grandchildren; three stepgrandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren. Groman
 

Obituaries


Leonore Arvidson died April 26 at 80. She is survived by her daughter, Enid; son, Dean; grandson, Ben; sisters, Bea (Max) Perlberg and Char Goldberg; and brother, Stan Charnofsky. Mount Sinai

HERMAN BRAGER died April 23 at 76. He is survived by his wife, Betty; son, Steven; daughter, Rhonda; one grandchild; and sister, Estelle Singer. Hillside

Rodman Rubin Cohen died April 27 at 82. He is survived by his wife, Rose; sons, Jeffrey (Judie), Paul (Kathy) and Mark (Maribel); daughter Joan (Steven) Soltz; 12 grandchildren; and brother, Herman (Terry). Mount Sinai

SONDRA SHAMES-COHEN died April 27 at 73. She is survived by her husband, Morton Cohen; children Mickey (Steven) Lewis and Brad (Julie) Shames; 11 grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter. Hillside

Nettie Condon died April 26 at 91. She is survived by her sons, John (Cyd) and Frank; and granddaughter, Chloe. Mount Sinai

SUSAN COOPER died April 29 at 62. She is survived by her husband, Steven; son, Todd (Alexandra); and three grandchildren. Hillside

Morris Farkas died April 26 at 93. He is survived by his son, Morris. Groman

Jerry Freeman died April 30. He is survived by his wife, Aviva; daughters, Leslie Aaronson and Nili Ovsiwitz; one grandchild; and sister, Judith Kahn. Groman

MAX GEFFNER died April 26 at 86. He is survived by his wife, Valerie; sons, Sandy (Ellen) and Bob (Ellen); daughters Nola (George) Geffner-Mihlsten ; stepson, Steve; and eight grandchildren. Sholom Chapels

Zena Gold died April 30 at 90. She is survived by her daughters, Judith (David) Rosenthal and Maxine (Lloyd) Kouri; grandchildren, Greg (Barbara) Rosenthal and Tina Kouri; and sister, Ina Gruman. Mount Sinai

Mae Goldberg died April 8 at 98. She is survived by her son, Maurice; daughter, Marcia Gomberg; six grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Bertha Goldstein died April 24 at 80. She is survived by her husband, Julian; son, Steve (Judy); daughter, Ellen (Stephen) Goldstein-Tersigni; three grandchildren; brother, Irving (Arlene) Shapiro. Mount Sinai

DOROTHY SARA HOFFS died April 22 at 94. She is survived by her sons, Dr. Josh (Tamar) and Dr. Malcolm (Ellen); six grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. Hillside

JACK JOSEPH JACOBSON died April 26 at 93. He is survievd by his wife, Libbie; children, Annee Tara (Tom Rumpf) and Tom Jacobson; grandchildren Ethan Jacobson and Leah (Jake) Schug; and great-grandchild, Alexander Joaquin Schug. Hillside

Arnold Kaplan died April 28 at 63. He is survived by his wife, Sheila; children, Alison (Jan) Kelleter, Howard and Lorn; two grandchildren; and mother, Mildred. Mount Sinai

Charlene Karwoski died May 2 at 74. She is survived by her daughters, Marcy Brenner and Rose Arellanes; sons, Sanford (Lena) Brenner, Frank (Kim), Vince (Mary) and William Arellanes; 10 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and brother, Howard (Bea) Block. Mount Sinai

Morris Katz died April 24 at 92. He is survived by his sons, Martin and Carl; brother, Nathan; and sister, Gertrude Linder. Mount Sinai

Dr. Gregorio Kazenelson died April 24 at 71. He is survived by his wife, Barbara; and daughter, Debra (Jeff) Dean. Malinow and Silverman

Rose Kravitz died April 30 at 89. She is survived by her sons, Sheldon (Denise) and Herbert (Eleanor); and four grandchildren. Mount Sinai

MATTHEW CAMERON LEWIS died April 26 at 18. He is survived by his parents, Adena Berger and Robert; grandparents, Sheldon and Venita Berger; and sisters, Rachel, Lilly and Olivia. Hillside

EMANUEL LIGHT died April 24 at 90. He is survived by his wife, Celia; sons, Jeffrey (Francine), Donald (Jane) and Dennis; four grandchildren; and two great-granddaughters. Hillside

Carol Love died April 25 at 56. She is survived by her sons, Bellaamy Mitchell, and John Brink; daughter Maydee Mitchell; and three grandchildren. Groman

Evelyn Magid died April 29 at 92. She is survived by her daughter, Bonnie (Barrett) Bearson; son, Jerry; three grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

RICHARD NEAL NORTH died April 26 at 53. He is survived by his father, Milton; and cousin, Don Preston. Hillside

LISA BLOCH OLSHANSKY, died April 29. She is survived by her husband, Richard Olshansky; children, Amy Rose, Chaysen and Max; parents, Richard and Nancy Bloch; and brothers, Andrew and Jonathan Malinow and Silverman

Teresa Perchuk died May 1 at 88. She is survived by her daughters, Felica Lopez and Silvia; and two grandchildren. Mount Sinai

MAC RAFF died April 29 at 86. He is survived by his son, Mitch; and sister, Sally Springer. Sholom Chapels

Nat Regenstreif died May 1 at 89. He is survived by his wife, Vivian; sons, Ron (Roxann) and Allan (Adele); three grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and sisters, Irene (Martin) Travis and Marlene Semel.

Rebecca Rosen died April 29 at 91. She is survived by her son, Albert Rosen; daughter, Elissa Berzon; five grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. Groman

Judy Rothstein died May 2 at 75. She is survived by her sons, Ron, Glen and Kenny; daughter, Gail Ream; two grandchildren; brother, Leonard Abraham. Groman

MARY ANN SACHERMAN died April 21 at 82. She is survived by her daughters, Lynne (Dennis) Fliegelman and Lynda (Michael) Rubenstein; grandchildren, Natalie and Alex; and sister, Sally Cole. Hillside

EDWARD SARROW died April 24 at 82. He is survived by his companion, Phyllis Ames; son, Ron; three grandchildren; brother, Arnie.

Marion Schneider died April 24 at 82. She is survived by her husband, Martin; children, Ronald (Terry), Avery (Barbara) and Wendy; granddaughter, Juliette; and brother, David (Gina) Tepper. Mount Sinai

ALAN SCHULTZ died April 21 at 61. He is survived by his wife, Harriet; sons, Randy (Jill) and Rob; mother, Bella; brother, Steven; sisters, Gail and Joy; and friend, Elaine Saller. Hillside

John Bruce Sills died May 1 at 62. He is survived by his wife, Patricia; mother, Edythe Fahringer; and brothers, Steven and Mickey. Groman

Henry Silver died April 27 at 94. He is survived by his nieces, Miriam (Asher) Harel and Jean Priver. Mount Sinai

Howard Sookman died April 30, at 80. He is survived by his wife, Shirley; daughters, Barbara (Cantor Edwin) Gerber and Sheryl; and four grandchildren. Mount Sinai

SHERRI LEE STONE died May 1 at 59. She is survived by her husband, Michael; children Aaron (Lisa) and Joshua; mother, Rebecca Orinstein; sisters Carol (Jon) Swinnerton and Harriet Orinstein; parents-in-law, Oscar and Shirley; brothers in-law, Bruce (Susan) and Hal (Lynda Stone); and eight nieces and nephews. Hillside

Adele Strauss died April 28 at 93. She is survived by sons, Dr. Ronald (Susie) and Stephen; granddaughter, Valerie; and niece, Helen Kurtz . Mount Sinai

Shirley Venger died April 27 at 81. She is survived by her daughter, Paula (Ed) Albert; and three grandchildren. Mount Sinai

RANDY LEE WEIL died April 25 at 52. She is survived by her mother, Ruth; sister, Sharon (John) Aaron; and friend, Rabbi Judith Halevy. Hillside

SPENCER JAY WILLENS died May 1 at 78. He is survived by his wife, Harriet; children Douglas, Donald, Michael, Damon and Stacey; six grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Hillside

Gazella Yaffe died April 24 at 89. She is survived by her son, Richard; daughter, Barbara Feinberg; and two grandchildren. Groman

Obituaries


Ruth Adler died April 8 at 85. She is survived by her daughter, Michelle (Gevik) Bachoian; son, Frank (Karen); five grandchildren; and sister, Bella Cohen. Mount Sinai

Elana Belinkoff died March 13 at 80. She is survived by her husband, Adar; daughters, Dalia (Ira), Alisa (Howard), Dena (Sol); seven grandchildren; and sister Rama Zamir. Hillside.

Betty Bledy died April 9 at 77. She is survived by her husband, Arthur; sons, Mark and Leslie; four grandchildren; and two great- grandchildren.

Blanche Bloom died April 11 at 87. She is survived by her son, Noel (Susan); daughter, Maggie; three grandchildren; brother, Hal (Pat) Alexander; and nephew, Rob (Lisa) Miller. Mount Sinai

Israel David Borenstein died April 8, at 84. He is survived by his sons, Larry (Laurie) and Jeff (Judy); daughter, Blanche (Mark) Kraveitz; six grandchildren; and sister, Anna Gutwillic. Mount Sinai

Harriett Cherney died April 3 at 87. She is survived by her brother, Victor Bochacki; and sisters, Annette Bafo and Majorie Adamski. Malinow and Silverman

Allan Davis died April 13 at 77. He is survived by his wife, Beryl; sons, Gary (Victoria) and Paul (Ginnie); five grandchildren; and brother, Cyril Davis. Mount Sinai

Betty Ducat died April 7 at 92. She is survived by her daughter, Shirley Laderman. Malinow and Silverman

Shirley Mae Epps died April 4 at 81. She is survived by her daughter, Lorry (Mate) Greenblatt; son, Jack (Cynthia); and four grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Emanuel Finkel died April 7 at 94. He is survived by his son, Ted; and daughter, Irene Landsberg. Malinow and Silverman

Rose Fisher died April 4 at 94. She is survived by her sons, Arnold and Robert (Ofra); daughter, Verna Erez; six grandchildren; and sister, Ida Chisvian. Mount Sinai

LARRY GOLD died April 4 at 52. He is survived by his wife, Cindy; children Andrew, Olivia, Ian and Madeline; mother, Beverly; siblings, Donna (Bruce) Rothstein, David Ross and Lisa; sister-in-law, Penny (Jerome) Madden; and three nephews. Hillside

Mae Goldberg died April 8 at 98. She is survived by her son, Maurice (Arline); daughter, Marcia (Jerome) Gomberg; six grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Florence Goldstein died April 3 at 91. She is survived by her daughter, Elsie (Jack) Hunn. Malinow and Silverman

Henry Goldstein died April 4 at 94. He is survived by his daughter, Beverly Cohen. Malinow and Silverman

Jack Greenberg died April 14 at 98. He is survived by his son, Anthony. Malinow and Silverman

Clifford Harris died April 7 at 58. He is survived by his wife, Ellen; sons, Kevin (Joanna) and Scott (Sierra); daughter Meggan (Adam Miller); and three grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Florence Kauffman died April 11 at 88. She is survived by her husband, Richmond; sons, Andrew and Richard; four grandchildren; and brother, George Hausman. Malinow and Silverman

Rosaline Klein died April 5 at 92. She is survived by her daughters, Roberta Thompson and Francine Denmeade; six grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren. Groman

Anne Ladon died April 3 at 90. She is survived by her daughter, Carol Alpert; and granddaughter, Julie Alpert. Mount Sinai

Michelle Ann Leve died April 2 at 34. She is survived by her mother, Deborah. Malinow and Silverman

Marian Le Vine died April 6 at 86. She is survived by her daughter, Marsha Krieger; son, Jerry (Carole); six grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Harold Milton Lewis died April 11 at 95. He is survived by his wife, Harriet; son, Steven; daughters, Lynn Alschuler and Babette Walter; sister, Jean Remar; 14 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Sam Lereya died April 14 at 100. He is survived by his daughters, Rachel Aflalo and Zaava. Malinow and Silverman

Max Lipshultz died April 9, at 84. He is survived by his children, Diane (Tony) and Michael; two grandchildren; brother, Fred; and sisters, Sara Agata and Eva. Mount Sinai

Mindla Majdat died April 3 at 94. She is survived by her stepson, Percy (Natalie) Cooper. Mount Sinai

Louis Marder died April 9 at 84. She is survived by her son, Sheldon; and granddaughter, Jennifer. Mount Sinai

Monroe Miller died April 7 at 90. He is survived by his sons, Kenny (Martha) and Jeffrey (Rich); and daughter, Marsha. Mount Sinai

Linda Barbara Moffa died April 6 at 58. She is survived by her husband, Philip; daughters, Sharon (Dr. Andrew) Horodner and Dr. Allison; and one grandson. Malinow and Silverman

Yetta Newman died April 9 at 88. She is survived by her sons, Dale (Carolee) and Jeffrey (Lila); six grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; sister, Helen (Sam) Weingard; and brother, Marvin (May) Berman. Mount Sinai

Dorothy Nissenson died April 10 at 92. She is survived by her son, Bernie (Marcia) Labowitz; grandchildren, Paul Labowitz and Shannon (Michael) Coleman; great- grandchildren, Kyle and Rachel Coleman; and cousin, Fern. Mount Sinai

Yoram Pourtavosi died April 10 at 48. He is survived by his wife, Shadi; children, Cobby, Elliot and Kevin; mother, Nosrat; sisters, Mehri (Hooshang) Davdodpour and Minou (Yoel) Eshagian; brothers, Yahiah (Dina Asheghian) and Joseph (Sohila); and cousin, Abbey Tabariai. Mount Sinai

Molly Rael died April 6 at 90. She is survived by her husband, Irving; son, Michael; and sisters, Eileen Phinney and Frieda Uretz. Mount Sinai

Beatrice Weisstein Ridgley died April 4 at 91. She is survived by her husband, Paul; son, Larry; daughter, Renee’ (Linda) Perez; three grandchildren; and sister, Thelma Sundick. Malinow and Silverman

Gloria Rudolph died April 4 at 78. She is survived by her son, Randy. Malinow and Silverman

Judith Sandler died April 12 at 87. She is survived by her son, Barry (Naomi); and two grandsons. Malinow and Silverman

Stuart Seidner died April 12 at 57. He is survived by his wife, Roxane; son, Daniel; daughter, Erin; mother, Ruth; brother, Gary (Luciano); and sister, Sandra (Robert) Rosenstein. Mount Sinai

Esther Shapiro died April 4 at 89. She is survived by her daughter, Susan; son, Alan (Pearl); four grandchildren; and four great- grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Betty Ann Silver died April 3 at 88. She is survived by her daughter, Rosalind. Malinow and Silverman

Nancy Sollish died April 10 at 98. She is survived by her son, Melvin; daughter, Pauline; three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Philip Solomon died April 3 at 88. He is survived by his wife, Claire; son, Barry (Linda); four grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Mount Sinai

Leon Harold Specktor died April 5 at 83. He is survived by his daughter, Denyse; and brother, Dr. Marshall (Marlene) Spector. Malinow and Silverman

Martin Stiller died April 6 at 67. He is survived by his wife, Barbara; sons, Neil (Kimberly) and Gary (Vicki); three grandsons, David, Jonathan and Wesley; and sisters, Elaine (John) Bush, Beverly Setser and Leslie Steiner. Mount Sinai

David Tamarin died April 5 at 87. He is survived by his daughters, Adreen DuBow, Judy and Faith; three grandsons; two great-grandchildren; sister, Anna (Glen) Popperwell; and brother, Carl. Mount Sinai

Randolph David Thornton died April 6 at 50. He is survived by his wife, Kim; daughters, Sean and Michelle; mother, Elizabeth; sister, Cindy; and brother, Michael. Malinow and Silverman

Irving Willner died April 5 at 82. He is survived by his wife, Ruth; son, Paul (Lynn Clancy); daughter, Julia (Scott) Parker; granddaughter, Erin Alyssa; and sisters, Shirley (Sol) Matzkin and Phyllis (Jonas) Herskovitz. Mount Sinai

Margaret Zelson died April 7 at 83. She is survived by her daughter, Carol Miller. Malinow and Silverman

 

Out of the Shadows


It is the middle of the night. I hear a strange sound in the living room.

Heart pounding, I get out of bed, grope awkwardly through darkness for the light switch … push up … nothing happens. I try another switch. No light. I feel desperately alone. My surroundings remain one shadowed mass of space … my terror grows…. Then I wake up.

I’ve been having this same, vivid nightmare for months.

Once fully conscious, I turn on the light and sigh relief into the illumination. Safe again in “reality,” I tour my apartment — gratefully able to see that all my stuff is in place. I return to bed and muster up the courage to turn off the lamp and re-enter the obscurity. I wish I still had my childhood nightlight — back when it was acceptable to be afraid of the dark.

Darkness is frightening. It is the realm of uncertainty, with everything enveloped in a state of unified oblivion. The world we call “real” — based on substance, physical existence and visible actuality — is nullified by the blackness of night. In this domain of the unknown, boundaries blur, imagination stirs and possibilities of reality broaden beyond confines of fact. Separate materials and individuals distinguishable with light mesh together into nothing, and when they do, we become insecure. When the possessions and relationships by which we define our selves disappear, we become unsure of who we are. As did Jacob.

“Vayira Ya’akov meod vayetzer lo.” Upon sending forth all his possessions in hopes of placating his estranged brother Esav, “Jacob was very afraid and distressed.” In other words, without his stuff around to define him, Jake freaked. He suffered a hard blow to his ego, throwing him into identity crisis.

See, the ego exists in material reality, where physical boundaries separate one thing from another. It believes that “I” exists independently from “you” — with both of us distinct from every thing else. As the product of our transition from infancy (where we feel interconnection and wholeness) into adulthood, it is based on our capacity to name: to define parts from the whole. Its identity is defined in opposition to and in relationship with an “other,” and it thrives on its control and possession over any thing distinct from its limited sense of self.

Jacob’s distress came from his enormous ego. It inspired his betrayal of his brother — for the prestige of a birthright — and a life prioritized by the accumulation of property. When forced to give it up, he began the struggle that always results from an ego-based existence: Jacob’s separate sense of self confronted the fear and loneliness at its source. He had tried (as we do today … with VIP passes and Ferraris rather than birthrights and oxen) to compensate for his sense of lacking by accumulating more material; now he had to confront his motivating force: the terror of isolation from living in a reality of separation.

Suddenly, he had nothing. He sent all his possessions and relations away; in the middle of the night, he was “left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the break of dawn. When he saw that he had not prevailed … he wrenched Jacob’s hip.”

In the dark domain of the unknown; of imagination and blurry boundaries, where definitions of separation that encourage the ego to call “reality” real blend back together into one space of nothing, a nameless man attacked Jacob’s exposed ego.

He fought as we all fight: against illusions of nothing that we make into “somethings” of value — to be possessed by our individual selves as compensation for insecurity and loneliness. Within the limitless blackness he struggled with his attachments to the world of limited materials; he battled his definitions of self as opposed to, and seeking ownership over, everything else. He wrestled the fear; the fallacies of scarcity and disconnection — dislodging his hip in the process. In the depths of shadow, he contested the very idea of separation, for there must be an “other” to fight against.

He combated the nightmare of isolation…. Then he woke up.

His spiritual self became conscious. His ego weakened, and he began to remember the Oneness. The realities of abundance and sustenance; the wholeness (shleimut — that allows for peaceful being. The Source, whose first act of creation was to bring forth light from darkness, again made Itself manifest in that most fundamental way. Dawn broke; the light switch worked; and his nameless adversary affirmed that Jacob had prevailed over “beings Divine and human” before Jacob returned him to the nothingness of night. The identity crisis was over, and he was renamed: Israel.

Last week I had the nightmare again, but rather than becoming fearful when the lights would not work, I walked into the darkness. I realized I could make my way just fine. I was free: to dance in it; to laugh; to disappear into the primordial unity of darkness, from where I could — in the image of my Creator — recreate. As He did in the beginning. From out of shadows: the light and love of a reality I choose to live. A reality where nothing is more valuable than any thing I feel separate from.

Then I asked my parents to buy me a nightlight for Chanukah … just in case.

Karen Dietsch is rabbi at Temple Ahavat Shalom in Northridge.

 

Obituaries


George Allen Smith,
Philanthropist and Founder of George Smith Partners, Inc.,
Dies at 70

George Allen Smith, a leader in Southern California’s real estate finance industry, died Nov. 3 at 70. A graduate of the Harvard Business School, Smith, whose career in the industry spanned four decades, founded George Smith Partners Real Estate, a commercial mortgage brokerage firm, in 1992.

Smith and his wife, Pam, championed many institutions, including The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and the Museum of Contemporary Art. His chief philanthropic endeavor was the founding of the Ataxia Telangiectasia Research Foundation (A-TMRF), an organization devoted to funding research into a rare neurological disease affecting his daughter, Rebecca. Since its inception in 1984, the A-TMRF granted more than $10 million in research funding worldwide, including the endowment of the Rebecca Smith Chair in A-T Research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

“George approached every challenge with a level of confidence that was inspiring and contagious,” said Dr. Richard Gatti, who holds the Rebecca Smith Distinguished Professorship at UCLA.

To raise funds for the A-TMRF, Smith initiated the annual George Smith Partners Real Estate Luncheon, an event which now attracts more than 1,500 industry professionals. At this year’s event, Smith was presented with an honorary doctorate from Tel Aviv University.

Smith is survived by his wife, Pam; sons, James and Matthew; daughters, Jill Oaks and Rebecca; grandchildren, Samantha and Hannah; and sister, Eleanor (Gerald) Sorkin.

Donations can be made to the A-TMRF c/o Haskell and Davis, 16000 Ventura Blvd., Suite 806, Encino, CA 91436. — Nancy Sokoler Steiner, Contributing Writer

Samuel Baradaran died Oct. 12 at 65. He is survived by his daughter, Shaleen; and cousin, Michael Amin. Groman

ROUHOLLAH BARKHORDARIAN died Oct. 12 at 93. He is survived by his wife, Rose; six children; 16 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren. Hillside

Annette Berman died Sept. 17 at 86. She is survived by her daughters, Jackie (Andy) Stern and Lynn; granddaughters, Traci Tannler and Molly (David) Schlussel; great-grandchildren, Zackary Tannler and Vivienne Schlussel; and brother, Sy (Lennet) Ogulnick. Mount Sinai

RAYMOND BLACKMAN died Oct. 11 at 81. He is survived by his brother, Al. Sholom Chapels.

HYMAN BARNETT BOOKMAN died Sept. 28 at 95. He is survived by his son, Jack; two grandchildren; and brother, Albert. Hillside

HARRY BRODSKY died Oct. 12 at 95. He is survived by his daughter, Iris (Mickey) Weiss; three grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Hillside

MELINDA EVELYN BRUN died Sept. 30 at 63. She is survived by her husband, William; daughter, Chandra; and nephew, Erik Laykin. Hillside

RAYE REENA CARLIN died Oct. 8 at 87. She is survived by her son, Martin (Caroline); daughter, Maxine; grandchildren, Laura and Mitchell; and great-grandson, Daniel. Hillside

SARAH GARFINKEL died Sept. 28 at 94. She is survived by her daughter, Sandy (Ron) Shenkman; and granddaughter, Stephanie Shenkman. Hillside

MARIAN LAURANS GETZOFF died Sept. 29 at 88. She is survived by sons, Peter and Stephen; daughter, Barbara Huff; daughter-in-law, Kay; seven grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; sister, Eleanor Feller; and brother, Raymond Laurans. Hillside

NANCY LYNN GOFF died Oct. 10 at 50. She is survived by her mother, Cecile; and sister, Julie (Dr. Ben) Simon. Sholom Chapels.

JANICE HAMLIN died Oct. 2 at 83. She is survived by her husband, Morris; sons, Richard (Delia) and Robert; and four grandchildren. Hillside

HYMIE HERSOWITZ died Oct. 11 at 87. He is survived by his wife, Eva; and son, Selwyn. Sholom Chapels.

Estrea Rozanes Kapuya-Berro died Oct. 12 at 93. She is survived by her son, Eliezer (Venus) Kapuya; and three grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Ralph Kaye died Oct. 11 at 86. He is survived by his wife, Helen; sons, Irv and Marc (Renée); daughter, Debbie; five grandchildren; and brothers, Eugene and Norman. Sholom Chapels.

BOB LEVY, JR. died Oct. 8 at 95. He is survived by his son, Bob. Hillside

CLARA LEWIN died Sept. 27 at 90. She is survived by her nephew, Gabor Szekeres. Hillside

Joyce Loraine Lynch died Oct. 10 at 67. She is survived by her daughters, Catherine and Michele. Malinow and Silverman

Leon Markus died Oct. 13 at 89. He is survived by his wife, Charlotte; sons, Jeffrey and Michael; daughter, Judith Knobel; five grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Groman

Karl Meyer died Oct. 11 at 81. He is survived by his children, Steven (Randi) and Michael (Heather). Mount Sinai

WILLIAM NEWMAN died Sept. 29 at 79. He is suvived by his wife, Sheila; son, Ian (Karen); daughters, Dana (Tim) and Mara (Paul); and six grandchildren. Hillside

Shoshana Noily died Oct. 13 at 97. She is sirvived by her sons, Josh and Samuel; daughters-in-law; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

MARVIN DAVID RATNER died Sept. 29 at 84. He is survived by his wife, Mildred; sons, Rabbi Robert (Susan) and Andrew (Kathi); brother, Stanley; eight grandchildren; and great-grandson, Yael. Hillside

BEATRICE PEARL RIEMER died Oct. 3 at 86. She is survived by her children, Rick, Ken and Terry; and four grandchildren. Hillside

Sylvia Ringelheim died Oct. 14 at 79. She is survived by her daughters, Sherrill Lewis and Arlene Parker; and one grandchild. Groman

MARLENE ROBINSON died Oct. 10 at 73. She is survived by her daughter, Marlene (Richard) Arnold. Sholom Chapels.

Morris Romerstein died Oct. 11 at 92. He is survived by his daughter, Anne (Charles) Grob; son, Samuel; and one grandchild. Malinow and Silverman

DOROTHY ROSENTHAL died Oct. 10 at 83. She is survived by her daughter, Michele (Sam); two granddaughters; brother, Bernie (Marcia); three nieces; and eight great-nieces and great-nephews.

Bernard Saffe died Oct. 13 at 81. He is survived by his son, Gary; daughters, Sari Garger and Rickie Louis; and three grandchildren. Groman

LORAINE ROSETTA SCHWARTZ died Oct. 11 at 86. She is survived by her daughter, Carole Jablon; and granddaughters, Tess and Jordon Jablon. Hillside

MONETT SCHWARTZ died Oct. 3 at 83. She is survived by her son, Paul (Sheila); daughter, Susan (Steven) Bromberg; seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Hillside

Martha Sego died Oct. 13 at 96. She is survived by her son, Peter; and one grandchild. Groman

Art Shaimes died Oct. 12 at 68. He is survived by his wife, Meredith; daughters, Cathy (Robert) Manzi and Lori (Rich) Hammer; son, Martin (Jeanette); and eight grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Elias Solz died Oct. 13 at 81. He is survived by his wife, Harriet; daughter, Heidi (Roger) Kerr; son, William (Susan) Solz; and four grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Esther Mazo Sosner died Oct. 14 at 97. She is survived by her sons, Bernard (Phyllis), Harold (Gail) and Howard (Elaine); seven grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and sister, Beatrice Cord. Mount Sinai

FREYDA PENNER SPATZ died Sept. 30 at 87. She is survived by her daughers, Julie DaVanzo (Frank), Barbara and Andrea (Bob Wunderlich); and four grandchildren. Hillside

Harry Weiner died Oct. 11 at 89. He is survived by his sons, Ken and Norm; daughter, Charlene Garcia; nine grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Groman

CHARLOTTE MARIE COFFMAN WEISS died Sept. 28 at 88. She is survived by her sons sons, Rabbi Ken (Sue) and Dr. Mark (Marilyn); eight grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and sister, Mildred Foreman. Hillside

MORRIS WINKLER died Oct. 8 at 76. He is survived by his wife, Mitzi; and son, Jaime. Hillside

 

In Death, Still Not Parting


 

I am 33,000 feet above ground en-route to LaGuardia, accompanying my father to his brother’s funeral. I am expecting the coming days to be very difficult for my father, but not in the way you would expect. You see, my father and his recently deceased brother had not spoken in 20 years. My uncle resisted all of my efforts at reconciling them in his final two weeks, before his long battle with cancer ended his life earlier than my father had ever envisioned.

How often do we let feuds linger on believing that we have so much more time left on this earth? Sometimes, as in the case with my father and uncle, small resentments and lifestyle differences continue to simmer beneath the surface until family members stop speaking. And the longer family members go without speaking, the larger the rift becomes.

As we awaited the plane at the Delta terminal, I asked my dad what exactly happened between them. He thought long and hard.

“We had the usual sibling jealousies, we had completely different life perspectives and values and we didn’t see eye to eye,” he said. “I never liked his wife and told him so. But is that a reason to refuse my visit, a conversation, reconciliation in his final dying days? I never stole from him, I never was inappropriate with his wife.”

“I wanted badly to have a last conversation with my brother. To find out what it was all about. I guess now I’ll never know,” my father said sadly.

My father had recently written his brother a letter, but my uncle had told me he’d prefer to leave things the way they were.

I am bracing for more than chilly weather in New York. I know about the chilly reception awaiting my father. My aunt, with whom I am on good terms, wants me to tell my father about what to expect. I will not: it is too ostracizing and, in my opinion, just plain mean.

But father’s other living brother, doesn’t think so, so he decided to forewarn my father of what was ahead. Basically, my father is the only immediate family member not allowed in the limousine headed to the funeral or the cemetery. My father has to find his own transportation. At the funeral ceremony, he has to sit apart from his mother, brother and my uncle’s descendants and cannot walk in the procession. He is also not welcome in their home for the shiva.

My uncle’s surviving family says that these were my uncle’s dying wishes, and they were honoring them.

Talk about getting the last word in.

What is the point of dying with these type of instructions? My uncle went on to another world, but not before doling out the final insult to my father. At what expense are we willing to sever family ties, perhaps forever? In the case of my father and his brother, it seems that the animosity my uncle felt toward my father was not even buried with him.

There are many life lessons to be learned from this unfortunate situation:

• Don’t insult someone’s spouse lest it ultimately cause a tension between you and them;

• Don’t wait so long to reconcile differences, even a big blowout between family members;

• Refrain from tossing and alternating insulting gestures like a ping-pong ball;

• Be gracious and forgive everyone before dying.

• The most important less of all, though, is that holding on to resentment and anger really eats a person up, psychologically and physically. Some medical experts even go so far as to say that it can bring on illness and hasten death. We are all familiar with the over-used adage, “life is too short,” but life, unfortunately, can be shorter than we expect. Once a person is gone, it’s too late to bury the proverbial hatchet.

I’ve come to realize in the past few days why God commands us to judge people favorably. It’s really not for their benefit, but for ours. The Torah instructs us to help our enemy before our friend, so that we won’t have an enemy anymore. The Book of Psalms provides a profound message: “Who is the person who is looking to live?” it asks. The answer King David provides: the one who loves days to see good things happen. And his specific instructions for living well: watch what you say and seek peace.

In my uncle’s passing, I have learned that it’s best to say your piece and then make peace with the past before time has passed too far.

Any other alternative is just a dead end.

Soriya Daniels is a freelance writer based out of Philadelphia.

 

Obituaries


PERLA ABITTAN died Aug. 3 at 74. She is survived by her husband, Emile; son, Arie; daughter, Rica (Yizhaz) Elbaz; and three grandchildren. Chevra Kadisha

Max Barbach died Aug. 1 at 98. He is survived by his sons, Ron (Sharlene) Barback and Harry (Eleanor); daughter, Sandra; grandson, Robert (Nancy) Barback; granddaughter, Vicki Pierce; and four great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Robert Jared Berman died Aug. 5 at 36. He is survived by his mother, Sonia; brother, Steve (Gabi); uncle, Dr. Maurice Rapport; and nephews, Daniel and Jimmy. Mount Sinai

Herman Brotman died Aug. 2 at 92. He is survived by his wife, Shirley; son, Stuart; daughter, Eve Zanni; one grandchild; brother, Benjamin; and sister, Sarah Pizzi. Groman

Alice Cohen died Aug. 5 at 72. She is survived by her husband, Edward; sons, Bruce (Regina) and Robert (Vicki Corbin); daughter, Jacki (Jimi) Freeman; four grandchildren; brother, Herbert (Ruth) Copelan; sister, Jeanette Greenwald; and sister-in-law, Shirley.

Stephen Coopersmith died Aug. 4 at 63 He is survived by his wife, Madelyne. Mount Sinai

BARRY CORCHNOY died Aug. 3 at 60. He is survived by his father, Morris; and sisters, Marcia Fazekas and Barbara Styles. Groman

Perry Dean died Aug. 6 at 58. He is survived by his wife, Marsha; daughter, Alison; brother, Stuart (Debra) Schrift; three nieces; one nephew; and cousins, Diane Lichenstein, Victoria Glassman and Shelley Winters. Mount Sinai

Samuel Dubell died Aug. 4 at 86. He is survived by his sister, Rita Rosenfeld; nephew, Malcolm Rosenfeld-Danare; niece, Lynne (Brad) Hoffman; and grandnephews, Brandon and Matthew. Mount Sinai

KHATOUN EBRAMI died Aug. 4 at 93. She is survived by her son, Jamshid; daughters, Mahin and Samin; two grandchildren. Chevra Kadisha

PRINCESS SHIRMA GERBER died Aug. 3 at 77. She is survived by her sons, Gary (Kerry) and Zalman (Miriam); daughters, Denise (Stuart Perlman), Beverly (Daniel Wells), Simcha (Ronnie Fine), Tobi and Chava; 31 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Hillside

Maria Gittelson died July 31 at 91. Hillside

Ruth Goldstein died Aug. 2 at 85. She is survived by her son, Michael; daughters, Andrea Robinson and Nanci Edwards; seven grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; sister, Annette Conely; and brothers, Arnold and Gerome Graboys. Hillside

Morris Greitzer died Aug. 1 at 96. He is survived by his son, Steven (Eve); daughter, Harriet (Mel) Belasco; six grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and brother, Simon (Rose). Hillside

Leon Independence Gubin died Aug. 3 at 98. He is survived by his wife, Louise; daughter, Virginia (Harry) Roney and William (Nancy); four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Hillside

Lillian Harris died Aug. 1. She is survived by her son, Ron (Carol); daughter, Elaine (Robert) Steaffens; seven grandchildren; and four great- grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Dr. Durwood Hersh died Aug. 3 at 87. He is survived by his son, Alan (Janice); daughter, Ruthann (Ken) Bachrach; five grandchildren; and sister, Rosalyn Katz. Hillside

Edith Howard died July 31 at 85. She is survived by her husband, Milton; sister, Sylvia Tussett; brother-in-law, Harold; sister-in-law, Geri; and three nieces. Hillside

Seymour Kagan died Aug. 3 at 81. He is survived by his wife, Elaine; son, Matthew; daughter, Nicole Davis; and sister, Anita Travers. Malinow and Silverman

Jessie Kohn died Aug. 2 at 94. She is survived by her sons, Barry (Will Harrison) and Mel (Wendy); grandchildren, Elisa (Alex) Taub and Gary Kohn; great-grandchildren, Lindsey and Jonathan Taub; brother, Hillis (Miriam) Rittenberg; sisters, Mimi Harris, Tybie Flapan and Gertrude Cousens; and many relatives. Mount Sinai

BARBARA LAYCOOK died Aug. 5 at 53. She is survived by her husband, Thomas; sons, Nathaniel and David. Hillside

Gregoriy Levkov died Aug. 4 at 57. He is survived by his wife,Valentina; sons, Alex and Maxim; daughter, Alla; and brothers, Simon (Paulina) and Yakov (Alla). Mount Sinai

Irving Levy died Aug. 5 at 95. He is survived by his sons, Earl (Linda) and Burton (Jan); stepson, Si Tenenberg; and grandson, Daniel. Mount Sinai

JOSEPH Albert LICHTMAN SR. died Aug. 4 at 86. He is survived by his wife, Caroline; son, Joe Jr. (Bess); daughters, Nancy (Scott) Treggett and Gail (Ed) Margulies; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Sholom Chapels

Charles Mandell died Aug. 2 at 92. He is survived by his wife, Myrtle; daughter, Mimi (Robert) Borden; and four grandchildren. Hillside

Clara Zupnik Mantelman died July 31 at 79. She is survived by her nephew, Dr. Herman Zupnik; niece, Ruth Zupnick; great-nieces, Jennifer and Laua; and great-great-nephew, Shayne Andor. Groman

Bernard Jerome Marcus died Aug. 2 at 76. He is survived by his daughters, Julie (Mark) Shimko and Marilyn (Harvey) Fisher; five grandchildren; and sister, Mildred Stone. Mount Sinai

Harry Markowicz died Aug. 5 at 89. He is survived by his wife, Clara; brother-in-law, Meyer Rofe; and niece, Anna (Larry) Rofe. Mount Sinai

Irma Milman died Aug. 3 at 79. She is survived by her husband, David; sons, Mark (Margo), and Craig (April); four grandchildren; and brother, Donald (Joan) Hodes. Mount Sinai

Harriet Munoz died Aug. 4 at 74. She is survived by her husband, William; sister, Millie Kellner; brother, Irving (Florence) Kroten; and niece, Judith (Craig) Pettigrew. Mount Sinai

Max Musnicki died Aug. 3 at 85. He is survived by his wife, Rita. Mount Sinai

Melba Pearl Nedler died Aug. 6 at 72. She is survived by her husband, Jerry; children, Beth (Chris) Barber, Barrie (Mathew Miller) and Lee; three grandchildren; and sister, Gloria Cohen. Mount Sinai

Mary Nemer died Aug. 3 at 98. She is survived by her daughter, Beverly Karp; 11 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren. Groman

Alfred Oberman died Aug. 3 at 81 He is survived by his brother, Philip (Fran); sister, Lilian (Sam) Morris; nieces; nephews; great nieces; and great-nephews. Mount Sinai

ISAAK PODOLSKIY died Aug. 4 at 90. He is survived by his wife, Esfir; and two grandchildren. Groman

FRANCES HILDA RASKIND died Aug. 4 at 96. She is survived by her sons, Harvey and Marshall; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Hillside

BETTY KOLKO ROSENFELD died Aug. 1 at 82. She is survived by her son, Sherman. Chevra Kadisha

EVELYN ROTHFELD died Aug. 2 at 88. She is survived by her sister, Renee Nash; and niece, Nancy Deyorle. Groman

Betty Behr Ryback died Aug. 4 at 83. She is survived by her husband, Rabbi Martin; daughters, Anne (Steven) Schmidt and Elizabeth; son, Charles; granddaughters, Samantha and Cassandra; and brother, Walter (Barbara) Behr. Mount Sinai

Lawrence Salk died Aug. 4 at 68. He is survived by his wife, Judith; daughter, Jessica (Ron) Tammarillo; sons, Eric (Liz) and Daniel; mother, Maxine Koolish; and sister, Judy Watson. Mount Sinai

James Singer Sayre died Aug. 2 at 82. He is survived by his wife, Elinor; sons, Steve (Carol) Horvitz and Darron (Marilyn); daughter, Margie Moulton; five grandchildren; and brother, Timmy (Harriet) Singer. Mount Sinai

ALFRED SCHWARTZ died Aug. 4 at 74. He is survived by his wife, Letitia; sons, Ted (Margaret) and Sam; and two grandchildren. Chevra Kadisha

Deborah Stern died Aug. 3 at 103. She is survived by her daughter, Jean Charney; and granddaughter, Chris Marks. Hillside

Charles Wingis died Aug. 2 at 73. He is survived by sons, Steve (Nancy) and Mike; daughter, Jean; grandson, Brett Bolderman; and brother, Joseph (Peggy) Boda. Mount Sinai

RabBi Alfred Wolf died Aug. 1 at 88. He is survived by his wife, Miriam; sons, David and Dan; and four grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Obituaries


Ronald Abelson died July 23 at 75. He is survived by his wife, Shirley; daughter, Kerry Zymelman; and two grandchildren. Sholom Chapels .

George Alexander died July 20 at 74. He is survived by his sons, Gerald, Robert and Lance; seven grandchildren; and sister, Frances. Groman

Richard Alexander died July 21 at 68. He is survived by his wife, Ann; and daughters, Debra, Karen and Kim. Malinow and Silverman

Marvin Bank died July 21 at 86. He is survived by his daughter, Gina. Malinow and Silverman

Burton Eugene Becker died July 23 at 88. He is survived by his wife, Barbara. Hillside

Allen Berliner died July 24 at 65. He is survived by his sons, Isaac and Kevin; brothers, Myron, Irving and Henry; sisters, Alice Mink and Rosalie Blackman; and companion, Carmen Moreno. Malinow and Silverman

Roy Bokhoor died July 20 at 24. He is survived by his mother, Zoya; and uncle, Maurice Neri. Groman

Mary Chaiken died July 20 at 92. She is survived by her daughters, Elaine (Jocko) and Joann Golden; six grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Arthur Chase died July 21 at 67. He is survived by his ex-wife, Charlene Haughey; and cousin, Leon Raskin. Groman

Irving Cohen died July 22 at 89. He is survived by his sisters, Terry Freedmond and Anne; seven nieces; two nephews; and many great-nieces and great-nephews. Mount Sinai

Irene Miller Curcio died July 24 at 67. She is survived by husband, George; son, Rob Miller; stepdaughters, Lisa Murphy and Linda (Albert) Shigemura; stepson, Vincent (Toni); and six grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Robert Gerschner died July 22 at 87. He is survived by his sister-in-law, Celeste (Hal) Erdley. Sholom Chapels .

Lola Goffman died July 21 at 95. She is survived by her sons, Sam (Darilyn) and Hirsch (Debbie); and four grandchildren. Hillside

Frieda Handschu died July 7 at 93. She is survived by her son, Dr. Sylvain (Linda) Silberstein; six grandchildren; and 21 great-grandchildren. Sholom Chapels .

Donald Carl Hoffman died Aug. 6 at 65. He is survived by his wife, Sheila; son, Lee; daughter, Eileen Gannaway; and one grandchild. Groman

Samuel Hoffman died July 24 at 80. He is survived by his sons, Stuart and Rabbi David; and sister, Ida Sachs. Groman

Dorothy Esther Jonesi died July 23 at 88. She is survived by her daughter, Gloria and Rochelle Cohen; three grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; great-great-grandchild, Brianna; and sister, Frances Rouse. Hillside

Roselle Lynn Kahn died July 20 at 88. She is survived by her niece, Patricia Robitaille; great-niece, Charlene Valli; cousin, George Gluck; and friend, Margit Herman. Chevra Kadisha

Esther Karnes died July 21 at 94. She is survived by her granddaughter, Vicki; sister, Dorothy Mallin; and niece, Tobey Silverstein. Mount Sinai

Belle Kosasky died July 22 at 88. She is survived by her son, Melvin; daughter, Doreen Rosen; three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Groman

Judith Carol Levi died July 23 at 61. She is survived by her son, Darryl. Mount Sinai

Bessie Mandelblatt died July 21 at 89. She is survived by her son, Alvin; daughter, Diane Schwarz; and three grandchildren. Groman

Rachel Leah Marcus died July 23 at 90. She is survived by her grandson, Jan (Sandy) Lankin; three great-grandsons; sister, Marilyn (Nat) LeTraunik; nieces; nephews; and friends. Mount Sinai

Shoshana Mehrabanian died July 22 at 102. She is survived by her sons, Mansour and Yahya; grandson, Samuel. Chevra Kadisha

Salim Morad died Sept. 25 at 82. He is survived by his wife, Hanna; children, Shoshana Cohen, Rena (Bill) Martin, Ovadya, Adela and Osharat; seven grandchildren; sisters, Simcha (Shalom) Shemis and Haviva Zion; and brother, Nissim (Dalia) Morad. Mount Sinai

Faye Fortess Mortel died July 21 at 88. She is survived by her sons, Karl (Tihla) and Victor (Denyce). Chevra Kadisha

Rose Edna Newmark died July 24 at 93. She is survived by her daughter, Carole Wood; one grandchild; one great-grandchild; and sister, Jane Wynhoff. Hillside

Lana Esther Pimbley died July 21 at 62. She is survived by her daughter, Jennifer Rubenstein; sister, Linda Rubenstein; and brother, Bernard Rue. Hillside

Harriet Punim died July 22 at 78. She is survived by her husband, Norman; son, Jeffrey; daughter, Patrice Levin; four grandchildren; sister, Frances Miller; and brother, Henry Safer. Hillside

David Rose died July 23 at 81. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth. Groman

Sybil Scheffler died July 24 at 89. She is survived by her sons, David (Dina), Steven (Rose) and Stan (Dora); granddaughters, Irene and Brittney; great-grandchildren, Bridgette and Tyler; and sister, Sally Smith. Mount Sinai

Lily Abdullah Shad died July 23 at 57. She is survived by her husband, Jamil; and sons, Eddie and Charles. Chevra Kadisha

Phyllis Shano died July 22 at 61. She is survived by her husband, Jack; son, Jason; daughter, Hallie; and brother, Steve (Karen). Malinow and Silverman

Irving Spiegel died July 21 at 93. He is survived by his wife, Miriam; sons, Henry and Philip (Jana); daughter, Deborah (Jeffery) Sweitzer; stepson, David; stepdaughter, Susan; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Hillside

Dorothy Stein died July 21 at 79. She is survived by her son, Eric. Malinow and Silverman

Stephanie Lynn Susman died July 20 at 45. She is survived by her parents, Arnold and Norma; and sister, Valerie Goldfine. Hillside

David Tourqeman died July 22 at 83. He is survived by his wife, Marcella; and sons, Raymond and Jaime. Chevra Kadisha

Cele Troyan died July 20 at 88. She is survived by her brother, Jeff Lewis; and niece, Andrea (Brad) Polak. Mount Sinai

Lucille Victor died July 23 at 84. She is survived by her son, Michael Shulem; daughter, Lyn Greene; 11 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and relatives, Barton Shulem, Deborah Davis and Harold Ross. Groman

Harold Wasserman died July 20 at 74. He is survived by his wife, Heidi; son, Mark (Debra); daughter, Beth (Chuck) Samuel; five grandchildren; and brother, Leonard (Marge). Malinow and Silverman

Herman Weintraub died July 21 at 92. He is survived by his sons, Larry (Barbara) and Ronald (Marilyn); daughter, Renee; two grandchildren; and sister, Ruth Eskow. Mount Sinai

Libbie Winograd died July 23 at 91. She is survived by her son, Cary; daughter, Deborah; two grandchildren; and niece, Beth Cohen. Groman

Irene Zenker died July 21 at 95. She is survived by her son, Arnold (Barbara); and daughter, Carol. Malinow and Silverman

Obituaries following our October 8th issue, have been archived and can be found in our archives section.

Brotherly Love


Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, in the early afternoon, I visit my younger brother at his nursing home, a mile from my home in Providence, R.I.

I bring him grapes and a banana because he can eat only soft foods, and I also bring him the first section of the previous day’s newspaper. He sometimes reaches for it, occasionally holding it upside down, but I think it important that he be aware, if that is still possible, of the world he left behind when his many illnesses struck him down. For the same reason I asked the nursing home staff to use his title of doctor so that he might be mindful of his professional accomplishments as a professor of economics and as an advisor on economics to the government of New Zealand.

The discussions we have are one-sided. I tell him what is happening with my family. He says nothing, but does look at me, perhaps to acknowledge my presence.

The degrees he earned — at Princeton, Harvard and NYU Law School — have long since been lost in a life increasingly dominated by the ravages of schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease and dementia. I once brought him a copy of a book he wrote on anti-trust, which is still available in several local libraries, but he showed no sign of recognition.

For 40 years, while I lived in Jerusalem, Los Angeles and Providence and he lived at Rutgers University and in Wellington, New Zealand, we were out of touch. We had little in common; I was a Zionist and much involved in Jewish life, whereas he cared nothing for either and remained all of his adult life a Republican in a family of New Deal Democrats. Even as children, our relations were not close. I was outgoing, a mediocre student. He was withdrawn, but always first in his classes. He was a lifelong bachelor without issue; I have been married for most of my life and have four children.

And then a few years ago, he wandered into a doctor’s office in Manhattan babbling incoherently, which is when I learned that he was no longer living in New Zealand, but in a shabby, single-occupancy hotel. For several years, while he was hospitalized and then in a nursing home, I traveled every week by train to New York. Finally, I brought him to Rhode Island.

Everything, negative and positive, can be a learning experience. For most of my life, I have shared the common American assumption that Western democracies are unsurpassed in their concern for the individual. The nuclear family structure we live in has its problems, but it is far superior to the extended family system of more traditional societies in its creation of a safety net for the young, the weak and the elderly. After all, we have Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to support us in our final years.

I now have to question that assumption. It is not that my brother has been left to die on the street. The taxpayers, through the state and federal governments, provide for his physical needs. He has food to eat and a place to sleep and nurses to attend to his wants. If he were more responsive, he could share in the activities that the nursing home provides.

But traditional societies provide something else, the need for which we tend to ignore: a closely knit, intergenerational family. My brother would be surrounded by people he knows and loves and, health permitting, would have responsibilities and activities in keeping with his abilities. My grandchildren live in Los Angeles and St. Louis and I see them twice a year. I play almost no role in their lives nor they in mine. I miss them; I am not sure that they miss me.

My wife once asked me why, after all the years of separation, I took such an interest in my brother. "I don’t believe in a hereafter," I answered, "but in case I am wrong and I should meet our mother again, she might ask me if I took care of my brother."

"And?"

"If I said ‘no,’ she would kill me."

Muslim Messages


Amid the profusion of billboards along Southern California freeways, motorists are being startled by a new one. It features seven smiling faces of various ethnicities, with one, a woman wearing a black headscarf, holding a small American flag.

Underneath, in bold letters, are the words, "Even a smile is Charity — a message from your Muslim neighbor." The sponsor of the soft-sell ad is the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and the billboards are indicative of its increasing sophistication in presenting the benign and nonthreatening face of Islam.

The cost of each billboard rental ranges from $5,000 to $8,000 per month, and so far, only three carry the "smile" message. One is located near LAX and the other two are in Orange County.

But if they are deemed effective, similar signs are planned for other American cities, said CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper in Washington.

The concept was developed by the Southern California chapter of CAIR, whose public relations coordinator, Sabiha Khan, said the slogan was based on a saying by the Prophet Muhammad, "Your smile for your brother is charity." Different positive messages will be posted each month, she said.

The higher profile comes even as CAIR weathers criticisms that it has served as a platform for people and groups that support terror against Israeli citizens. CAIR denies the charges — and keeps smiling.

Over the past year, and especially since Sept. 11, CAIR has evolved into an effective voice of the Muslim and Arab communities in the United States. Taking a leaf from Jewish defense organizations, any real or perceived slur or discriminatory act against a Muslim is instantly met with protests and barrages of news releases to the media.

Sibling Rivalry


I have three sisters, two older and one younger. My youngest sister, Debbie, was born when I was 8 years old. In the months leading up to her birth, I remember clearly the anxiety I felt over the possibility that it might turn out to be a boy and I might end up with a brother.

I suppose most 8-year-old boys would be thrilled at the possibility of having a younger brother to play with, boss around and teach the important ways of boyhood. So I must not be like most young boys. For months I had been telling my parents that if my mother gave birth to another boy, I was moving out and leaving the family! I was definitely not up for any competition in the boy department of my family — sorry, that job was already taken.

So, when the fateful day arrived on Oct. 9, 1957, I recall the anxiety and anticipation with which I greeted the arrival of my yet-to-be-known sibling.

I was sitting in class when a call came in asking that I be sent down to the principal’s office. I knew immediately it must have something to do with the impending birth of my sibling, so I raced down to the office, where I found my father waiting for me and my sister Candy, who was in another class at the same school. When, with a big smile, our dad informed us that we had a new baby sister, I was thrilled and couldn’t wait to welcome Debbie into the family.

But as the years went by, reality set in, and I became convinced every time my parents let Debbie do something that they would never have allowed me to do at the same age, that it must mean they loved her more — and I was jealous.

I even recall teaming up with an older sister to bring our “grievances” to the attention of our parents so we could enlighten them as to how unfair they were being and how unequally we were being treated. And I remember how deep the feelings could be.

So when I read this week’s Torah portion reminding us about the intense sibling rivalry between Jacob and Esau, and how fearful Jacob was of meeting up with his brother once again, knowing how he had abused and mistreated him, I thought back with great sadness on my own misplaced childhood jealousies and insecurities.

The fact is that too often parents do love their children differently, showing preference for one over the other and letting them know in a hundred different ways that no matter what they do, they will never really measure up. I see it in my work as a rabbi all the time, and every time I do it breaks my heart, knowing how fragile children’s egos really are.

In Vayishlach, we catch a glimpse of something remarkable, something redemptive in the human soul. When Jacob finally meets up with Esau bringing along his childhood fears and vulnerabilities, “Esau ran to greet him. He embraced him and, falling on his neck, he kissed him; and they wept” (Genesis 33:4). And Jacob, startled and awed by the open love of his brother, sweeping away decades of hurt and fear, replied, “To see your face is like seeing the face of God” (Genesis 33:10).

Would that we could all be as generous of spirit as Esau. Perhaps our real challenge from the Torah this week is to embrace the spiritual gifts of both brothers — from Esau to learn generosity of spirit, and from Jacob to look into the eyes of everyone we meet and have the vision to see the face of God.

Where the Heart Is


They say you can never go home again.

Well, you can. Only you might find yourself staying at a Travelodge, driving a rented Ford Contour and staking out your childhood home like some noir private eye just trying to catch a glimpse of the Johnny-come-latelys that are now living in your house.

It’s a familiar story. Kids grow up, parents sell the family home and move to some sunnier climate, some condo somewhere, some smaller abode. We grown-up kids box up all the junk from our childhoods – dusty ballet shoes, high school textbooks, rolled-up posters of Adam Ant – and wonder where home went.I’m not a sentimental person, I told myself. I don’t need to see old 3922 26th Street before we sell the place. I even skipped the part where I return home to salvage my mementos from the garage. I let my parents box up the stuff, which arrived from San Francisco like the little package you get when released from jail. You know, here’s your watch, the outfit you wore in here, some cash. Here’s the person you once were.

After a year, San Francisco called me home again. I missed it. High rents had driven all my friends out of the city to the suburbs, so I made myself a reservation at a motel and drove there in a rented car. The next day, I cruised over to my old neighborhood. There was the little corner store my mom used to send me to for milk, the familiar fire station, the Laundromat.

I cried like the sap I never thought I’d be. I sat in the car, staring at my old house, tears welling up. It had a fresh paint job, the gang graffiti erased from the garage door. New curtains hung in the window.

I walked up and touched the doorknob like it was the cheek of a lover just home from war. I noticed the darker paint where our old mezuzah used to be. I sat on our scratchy brick stoop, dangling my legs off the edge, feeling as rootless as I’ve ever felt.

You can’t go home in a lot of ways, I discovered that night, when I met up with an ex-boyfriend. “Great to see you,” he said, giving me a tense hug. “The thing is, I only have an hour.”

What am I, the LensCrafters of social engagements?

As it happens, his new girlfriend wasn’t too keen on my homecoming. We had a quick drink and he dropped me back off at my low-rent motel, where I scrounged up change to buy some Whoppers from the vending machine for dinner. I settled in for the evening to watch “Three to Tango” on HBO.

“You had to watch a movie with a ‘Friends’ cast member,” said my brother, nodding empathetically.

“That’s sad.”

My brother and I met up at our old house, like homing pigeons, though we could no longer go inside. We walked down the street for some coffee, and I filled him in on my trip. He convinced me to stay my last night at his new place in San Bruno, just outside the city. I’ll gladly pay $98 a night just for the privilege of not inconveniencing anyone, but he actually seemed to want me.

“I love having guests,” he insisted. So I went.

It’s surprising how late in life you still get that “I can’t believe I’m a grown-up” feeling, like when your big brother, the guy who used to force you to watch “Gomer Pyle” reruns, owns his own place. It was small and sparse and he had just moved in, but it was his. The refrigerator had nothing but mustard, a few cheese slices and 14 cans of Diet 7-Up.

We picked up some Taco Bell, rented a movie, popped some popcorn, and I fell asleep on his couch. Insomniacs rarely fall asleep on people’s couches, I assure you. I don’t know why I slept so well after agonizing all weekend over the question of home, if I had one anymore, where it was. I only know that curled up under an old sleeping bag, the sound of some second-rate guy movie playing in the background, my brother in a chair next to me, I felt safe and comfortable, and maybe that’s part of what home is.

But it’s not the whole story. As much as I’d like to buy the clichés about home being where the heart is, or as Robert Frost put it, “The place where when you have to go there, they have to take you in,” a part of me thinks the truth is somewhere between the loftiness of all those platitudes and the concreteness of that wooden door on 26th Street.

I’ll probably be casing that joint from time to time for the rest of my life. I’ll sit outside, like a child watching someone take away a favorite toy, and silently scream, “Mine!”

Jewish Journeys


Joshua Hammer’s book is called “Chosen by God: A Brother’s Journey” (Hyperion Press), and while the titular journey refers to his brother, it may very well apply to Hammer himself.

In Newsweek’s Nov. 8th issue, Hammer — a foreign correspondent who will become the magazine’s Berlin bureau chief in January — gave the nation a window into his life. In an excerpt from “Chosen” Hammer recounted his quest to reconnect with Tony, his estranged younger brother. During their time apart, while Hammer had traveled the world covering war and political unrest, Tony had become Tuvia, a “Torah Jew” with a wife and sprawling family, entrenched in an ultra-Orthodox lifestyle

“My brother became this amazingly novelistic figure to me,” Hammer told the Journal. “I became mesmerized by what had happened to him.”

In late 1997, after living on four continents in four years, Hammer returned to America and visited his brother and his wife of 13 years, Ahuva, at their suburban home in Monsey, New York. In rich detail, Hammer describes in “Chosen” working his way through the Orthodox-Mecca Rockland County, and seeing his brother in person for the first time in years — a “bearded apparition” amidst the clutter of a ramshackle home. At Tuvia’s suggestion, the Hammer brothers take a trip up to Tosh, a Hasidic enclave in Montreal. It is during their drive that Hammer grapples with his brother’s extreme views, as Tuvia expounds Messianic beliefs; disowns acting — his college passion — as engaging in idol worship; claims that the galus — the exile — is extended for Jews hourly “anytime a goy does a favor for a yid”; and defines a Jew (“I’m not talking about the Israeli state. I’m not talking about Steven Spielberg. I’m talking about the frum Jews — the real Jews.”). The trip (and Newsweek excerpt) culminates in a frenzied tish where Hammer experiences a fleeting face-to-face with Tosh rebbe and founder Ferenz Lowy before being shoved aside by Lowy’s fanatical devotees.

If the selection he chose for Newsweek comes off as a damning appraisal of Tuvia and his way of life, Hammer notes that a crucial passage detailing a dinner at Tosh was excised by Newsweek’s editors. He also emphasizes that the chapter is only one part of a book that wrestles to present a balanced portrait of his fraternal relationship. Hammer not only illuminates the reader on Tuvia’s world, but the factors that led the two down their divergent paths — most significantly, the broken childhood they shared in the aftermath of their parents’ divorce. As “Chosen” progresses, Hammer examines his own life as a foreign correspondent; his inability to deal with Tony’s decision, which brought him much anger and embarrassment; and the ramifications of Tony’s Orthodoxy on the entire Hammer family.

Hammer admits that he was put off by the intensity of Tosh’s inhabitants, such as the physically-aggressive hysteria surrounding the Tosh rebbe.

“I really wasn’t trying to be judgmental,” says Hammer, regarding the Newsweek excerpt’s ending. “I guess it was a powerful image of the anonymity, the subjection of the ego… It captured for me what a lot of Hasidism was about, getting those five seconds of connection… the majesty and the remoteness of the rabbi.”

Heaping complexities onto Hammer’s depiction of his sibling’s world is the fact that Tuvia fell under the influence of Shlomo Helburns, a rabbi considered off-kilter even within the ultra-Orthodox community. The Helburns association eventually strained Tuvia’s marriage to the point where Ahuva insisted that he address economic realities and forfeit his 12 hour days of davening for some computer courses. Hammer praises Ahuva’s role as Tuvia’s “reality check,” and believes that Tuvia is “not representing the average Jew or even the average Orthodox Jew. He’s come by an extreme influence.”

Friends at Newsweek have long encouraged Hammer to commit his story to ink. However, roaming the world in the frontlines of difficult news terrain can complicate one’s life.

“You don’t ever have time to sit back,” says Hammer, who finally spent October through April holed up at his Pacific Palisades residence writing “Chosen.”

So in the aftermath of bringing their close encounter to print, just where is their relationship right now?

“It’s currently suffering from a lot of damage,” says Hammer. “He’s really upset. He feels betrayed.”

Even though Hammer was up front about documenting their reunion — the book’s vivid dialogue transcribed from taped conversations — Tuvia felt that his older brother made him and his world look foolish. Of course, Hammer realized all along that his project risked offending his brother.

“The exploitation aspect is a troubling one,” says Hammer. “The fact that my brother feels betrayed only underscores that, and I haven’t found a satisfactory answer to this [issue]. It’s complicated by the fact that it’s my own brother.”

“For a journalist,” continues Hammer, “the truth is the most important [thing]. I know that sounds callous. I’m still wrestling with it.”

With the distance between the Hammer brothers now reduced to some angry e-mails, Joshua is still trying to formulate a satisfactory reply to his brother’s rage-filled missives. He also realizes that his readers may reduce both brothers down to a contentious metaphor for the interdenominational schism within Jewish society.

“I would say that’s pretty accurate,” says Hammer of such an interpretation. “I’m the assimilated, secular Jew, living in the temporal world; the world of ambition, working in the media.”

At 42, Hammer remains single and rootless, led around the world by career. And whatever one says about Tuvia and his lifestyle, the ba’al teshuva is happily married, anchored by family and community. So how does Hammer respond to those who feel that his brother leads a richer personal life?

“They have a point,” says Hammer. “My brother raised that point in a recent e-mail.”

“A relatively happy person,” Hammer admits that he has trouble committing in relationships. Yet he attributes this to his restlessness; a restlessness he suggests that both he and his brother derived from their tumultuous childhood, but express differently.

“Who’s necessarily to say that one lifestyle, one approach is better than the other,” concludes Hammer.

And even though a gulf still exists between Joshua and Tuvia and the future holds no guarantee of resolution, Hammer says he has gained from this experience.

“I have a lot of respect and understanding of [Judaism]. I don’t run away from being Jewish. I’m really much more in tune with it,” says the writer. After some more thought, he says softly, “I feel more rounded. I know my brother now.”

Author Joshua Hammer will discuss “Chosen by God: A Brother’s Journey” on Thurs., Dec. 9, at the National Council of Jewish Women/Los Angeles, 543 N. Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles. For more information, call (323) 651-2930.

My Brother’s Keeper


My brother, who at 70 is younger than me by two years, has a world-class collection of the mysteries of Agatha Christie and a complete set of the novels of Anthony Trollope. They are being joined, gradually, by the Greek historians and Galsworthy’s Forsythe Saga.

These volumes, together with the Wall Street Journal, the New Yorker, the Economist and other publications to which he subscribes, sit on a bookshelf and rolling table by his bedside in a nursing home about one mile from our home in Providence, RI.. My brother never married or fathered children so on the wall over his bed are pictures of our parents and my wife and daughter. If I could locate them I would also find place for his doctoral degree in economics from Harvard and his law degree from New York University.

But they have been lost over the years of his illnesses, which began in his 20s with schizophrenia and now include Parkinsons, some dementia and occasional seizures. These have so debilitated him that he rises from his bed now only to shuffle slowly behind his walker to the bathroom.

I visit him three or four times a week, bring him another book, straighten out his bookshelf, give him news of those of his friends who still call me to ask of his condition, and sit for a half hour or so by his bed just to let him know that I am there. There is little verbal communication between us since he finds it difficult to understand what anyone is saying and often simply doesn’t respond.

For half a century we had no contact with each other. I lived as an adult first in Jerusalem, then Los Angeles and now Providence. For some of those years he was institutionalized. When schizophrenia became controllable by drugs he began to write textbooks on economics one of which, on anti-trust legislation, is still in the libraries of many universities.

Later my brother moved to New Zealand where he was an advisor to the government on economic matters.

I did not hear from him until several years ago when, babbling incoherently, he wandered into a doctor’s office in Manhattan and was placed in a hospital. He remained there for a year, during which I visited him weekly and finally succeeded in having him brought to Rhode Island, having found a nursing home both clean and compassionate.

When he came here last year, my wife outfitted him with an electric typewriter, paper, a small desk, a dictionary and a thesaurus. He spent several hours each day writing charming little stories about animals and even began a memoir about his years in New Zealand. I hoped that we might be able to publish some of his writings but gradually he lost interest and also the dexterity required to type. Today the typewriter gathers dust as do the TV and the VCR, neither of which he can operate or in which he has any interest.

Often when I visit he is sleeping, the effect I imagine of some of the drugs he takes. I try to rouse him just to let him know that I am there but he rarely awakens. I place the newest book on his table, spend a few minutes straightening out his things and leave, guiltily relieved if truth be told, that I have the half hour free to attend to other matters. If he were in a coma or otherwise near death I would stay, hold his hand to let him know he was not alone, and read by his bedside although neither Christie, Trollope nor the Economist are my preferences.

He has support in addition to my visits. The Rhode Island Jewish Federation sends a rabbi to visit him and supplies him with religious objects necessary to observe the Jewish holidays. And the nursing home staff bought him some Christmas cookies and chocolates so that he would not feel left out of the celebrations. I would like to be able to ask him about his life in New Zealand, his opinions about the Microsoft anti-trust case, and other matters about which he has some expertise. As the only Republican in a family of liberal Democrats, his thoughts on impeachment would be interesting to hear and to discuss.

But he is past all that now. His days and nights are spent in bed, moving restlessly from a lying down to a sitting up position and back again. The doctors tell me that this is a symptom of his illness and that all of his problems are progressive; that he can remain this way, his mind functioning but his body helpless for some years to come.

In the meantime I note a slight improvement. He has remembered another author he would like to read, Angela Thirkell, a British novelist. I have checked with Books in Print; Ms. Thirkell’s novels have recently appeared in paperback. There are a good number of them; my brother’s reading schedule is set for several months to come.


Yehuda Lev writes from Providence, Rhode Island.