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Obituaries, 6/22 issue


Ephraim Isaac Baran died June 7 at 95. Survived by daughter Naomi; sons Josh, David; 2 grandchildren. Armstrong Family Malloy-Mitten

Marie Boren died June 13 at 80. Survived by daughter Eve (Tom) Stout; son Joseph; 2 grandchildren; sister Diane (Sheldon) Dzodin. Mount Sinai

Milton Bromberg died June 8 at 94. Survived by wife Diane Lautman-Bromberg; sons Marc, Bruce; 1 grandchild; sisters Shirley Cooperman, Florence Zarin. Mount Sinai

Rena Deutsch died June 7 at 73. Survived by husband Ralph; stepdaughter Stacey; stepson Todd; sister-in-law Barbara Sherman. Mount Sinai

David Eissler died June 12 at 68. Survived by wife Marjorie; daughters Jillian, Rebecca; sisters Nancy Fichera, Katherine Longer; brother Robert Eissler. Mount Sinai

Rhoda Galardi died June 8 at 85. Survived by daughters Lain Kennedy, Roxy Dee, Gigi Galardi, Kelly Galardi; sons Rob (DeAnne Brining) Beller, Michael (Edwin Billiot) Zephyr, Joe; 5 grandchildren; brother Gary (Carol) Zimmerman. Malinow and Silverman

Ira Gerber died June 8 at 67. Survived by daughter Pamela (Eric) Abraham. Mount Sinai

Andrew Glauberg died April 7 at 37. Survived by mother Rhoda; father Joe; brother Daniel. Mount Sinai

Sam Kappe died June 13 at 87. Survived by wife Anita; daughter Jill (Brian) Stanley; sons Randall, Matthew Kappe; brother Leonard (Abbey) Kapelovitz. Mount Sinai

Randy Harlan Katz died June 3 at 62. Survived by wife Tina; daughter Ashley (Brandon) Shapiro; sons Michael, Matthew; sister Lisa (David) Weld; brothers Greg, Jeff. Mount Sinai

Joseph Kaufman died June 15 at 91. Survived by wife Phyllis; sons Jeffrey, Gary; 4 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Abraham Saraga Koresh died June 10 at age 71. Survived by wife Sharon; stepdaughter Nicole (Brandon Abraham) Berlin; sisters Marga Rockopf, Nava. Mount Sinai

Rhoda Lesh died June 16 at 83. Survived by daughter Susan; sons Scott (Darla), Mitchell (Aleta); 4 grandchildren; 2 great-grandchildren; sister Mickey Bilsky. Mount Sinai

Sandra Joan Levinthal died May 31 at 83. Survived by husband Eugene; daughter Linda (Jamie) Hunter; son David; 5 grandchildren; 1 great-grandchild; brother Robert (Millie) Peskay. Mount Sinai

Lebarose Mirochnick (Miro) died June 14 at age 87. Survived by daughters Sandra (Ralph) Sklarew, Sheri (Phil) DeCarlo; sons Jeffry Miro, Marc (Sunny); 12 grandchildren; 5 great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Evelyn N. Potkin died June 6 at 100. Survived by sons Ralph (Eugenia), Steven, Jeffrey, Benjamin; 10 grandchildren; 8 great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Jan Rimer died June 12 at 81. Survived by husband Seymour; daughters Kelly Nolan, Julie Caruso. Mount Sinai

Adele Schachter died June 12 at 86. Survived by sons Steven (Debbie), Gary; 5 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Shirley Schwartz died May 6 at 88. Survived by daughter Barbara (Rodger) Sadikoft; son Mark (Lea); 2 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren. Chevra Kadisha

Gertrude Small died June 10 at 90. Survived by daughters Deborah, Jacqueline (Mike) Easely; son Mark (Lisa). Mount Sinai

Henry Young died June 12 at 76. Survived by wife Valerie; daughter Heidi (Tina) Young-Lefferty; sons David (Zaira), Michael (Julee); 9 grandchildren; sister Gena Gutman. Mount Sinai

Norma Zane died June 5 at 92. Survived by daughter Eileen Zane Rieder; son Arnold (Trisha Thordarson); 8 grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Hannah Rachel Zukerberg died June 16 at 93. Survived by daughter Janis (Wayne) Wershow; son Jeffrey (Mary); 3 grandchildren; 5 great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai 

Gary Shapiro. Photo from Facebook

Gary Shapiro, cantor and comic, 52


Gary Shapiro, who delighted audiences both at congregations and comedy clubs across Los Angeles, died suddenly April 27. He was 52.

A comedian who infused his act with music, Shapiro trained as a cantor at Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, taking over as the synagogue’s cantor in 1984. He stayed on in that role for two years before stepping away from synagogue life to pursue his comedy career.

Seven years ago, he joined Congregation Beth Israel on Beverly Boulevard to co-officiate High Holidays services. He was well known and admired there, according to synagogue staff.

“He truly, honestly, was a pure, pure good soul,” said the synagogue’s director and co-cantor, Steve Walfish. “He was kind and considerate and loving.”

Rabbi Baruch Cohon, a former longtime cantor at Temple Emanuel who mentored Shapiro there, said, “He was always a very positive and talented young man,” with a great sense of humor.

Shapiro often combined his musical abilities and comic talents by performing onstage at comedy clubs with guitar in hand. He also took to YouTube with many of his satirical ballads. He had performed as recently as April 23.

 

His other roles included as a religious consultant on the TV shows “Six Feet Under and “Seventh Heaven,” according to a 2004 Los Angeles Times interview.

As a teen, Shapiro attended Beverly Hills public schools. His comic streak was evident even then. His high school prom date, Daryn Kagan, recalled on Facebook that he showed up for the big night in a leather tuxedo jacket with gold sequin trim.

Walfish and Cohon co-officiated a funeral at the TaNaCH Chapel of Mount Sinai Hollywood Hills at 12:30 p.m. on May 1.

Shapiro is survived by parents Judy and Aron and brother Howard.

Funerals held for two Jerusalem stabbing victims


Thousands attended the funerals of two Jewish-Israelis who were stabbed to death in Jerusalem’s Old City.

The funerals for Rabbi Nehemia Lavi, 41, and Aharon Benita, a 22-year-old soldier, were held in Jerusalem on Sunday afternoon. They were stabbed to death on Saturday night by a Palestinian assailant who was shot to death by Israel Police.

Lavi, a rabbi at the Ateret Cohanim yeshiva and a father of seven from Jerusalem, had rushed to the scene of the attack. At the funeral, his father praised his bravery.

“Without any hesitation or delay, you ran to save an innocent family that was on its way to the Western Wall,” Yehezkel Lavi said, the Times of Israel reported.

Benita’s wife, Adele, and 2-year-old daughter also were injured in the attack and are hospitalized.

At the funeral for Benita, directly after Lavi’s, Adele’s mother, Miriam Gal, said in a eulogy that passers-by yelled that they hoped Adele would die too as she ran, seriously injured, for assistance.

“Aharon promised her that he would make her the happiest Sukkot ever. What promises he promised her,” Gal said. “Whoever speaks about peace is stupid. There’s no other word. The people of Israel need to wake up.”

In his eulogy for Lavi, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin urged Israelis to continue to visit the Old City and Western Wall, despite the violent attack.

“We cannot stop going to the Western Wall, the remnant of our temple,” he continued. “I urge the pilgrims — don’t forsake the Old City, we must march in the footsteps of Nehemia and Aharon and prove that they [the terrorists] will not harm our way of life,” Rivlin said, according to the Times of Israel.

Paris victims’ families charged for Jerusalem funerals


Israel’s burial association charged each of the families of the Paris kosher supermarket victims nearly $13,000 for their Jerusalem burial plots and funerals.

The charges were levied by the Chevra Kadisha, part of the Religious Services Ministry, after the families refused to bury the men in multi-story tombs, which would have been free, Ynet reported late Tuesday.

Some $10,000 was to cover the costs of the burial plots, and another $3,000 was to help absorb the funeral costs. The French Jewish community reportedly will handle the latter.

The men were buried in the Har HaMenuchot cemetery in Givat Shaul, Jerusalem’s largest burial ground. The families initially had been offered burials in the historic Mount of Olives cemetery but declined because of security considerations, Ynet reported.

 

In Israel, no one’s backing down from a Third Intifada


On the platform of the central bus stop and hitchhiking post for Gush Etzion, a Jewish settlement bloc that spills over Israel’s eastern border into Palestinian territory, wet sand was poured on Nov. 11 to cover a human-sized blood stain from the night before. 

Israeli mother Sharon Katz, 52, examined the sand and the smashed vehicle barriers where Maher al-Hashlamoun had plowed his minivan into 26-year-old Dalia Lemkus before stabbing her to death on Nov. 10. “I wanted to get out of the car and go to her,” the witness told the Journal, dazed. When she spoke, Katz had returned to the scene of the attack, at the suggestion of a friend, seeking some kind of catharsis. “I thought maybe I could put my sweater on her and stop the bleeding.

“She was dying. She was dying,” Katz said of Lemkus, choking back tears. “I can’t get it out of my head.”

A first responder from Magen David Adom, Israel’s version of the Red Cross, described the attack: “First, he knocked her down with the car. And when she crawled back up here,” the paramedic said, pointing to the bus platform. “He stabbed her to death.”

As the chaotic scene unfolded, Katz’s daughter Adi, terrified, begged her mother not to leave the car to intervene. And sure enough, just as Lemkus was taking her last breaths, Sharon and Adi Katz said they watched her Palestinian attacker stab two more passers-by who had tried to help — one in the cheek and one in the gut.

Miraculously, Lemkus had survived another knife attack at this very hitchhiking post (in Hebrew, trempiada) eight years earlier. The stop is also right across the street from the now-infamous trempiada where three Jewish schoolboys were kidnapped in June — igniting the 50-day summer war. But Lemkus didn’t let that stop her: At the young settler’s funeral, many of her friends and family remembered her as fearless, stubborn and determined not to let terrorists drive her off the Jewish homeland. As a tribute to Lemkus, they said, they would continue to do the same.

On the morning of Nov. 11, hundreds of Israelis — mostly settlers, many of them immigrants — gathered in Lemkus’ hometown, another hilltop settlement in the Gush Etzion bloc called Tekoa, to pay their respects. A Muslim call to prayer could be heard echoing through the valley of Arab villages below as young settlers carried Lemkus’ body, via stretcher, down Tekoa’s steep hillside to the town graveyard. Someone strummed a guitar; others hummed along. There were many tears.

“Dalia! Dalia!” wailed her mother, a native of South Africa, as Lemkus was lowered into a grave at Tekoa’s cemetery. “Thank you Dalia, just for being you. I love you so much. We won’t stop doing anything in this country — it belongs to us.

HaShem forgive me, but I hope he dies!” her mother added, sobbing, referring to the man who had killed her daughter.

The Gush Etzion car and knife attack came just hours after another fatal stabbing in Tel Aviv, in which Nur a-Din Hashiya, an 18-year-old Palestinian man, reportedly stabbed 20-year-old Israeli soldier Almog Shiloni to death outside a busy train station. Several more attempted stabbings were reportedly thwarted in Jerusalem that same night — a spike in violence that, for some, pushed recent unrest into Third Intifada territory.

“The second hit-and-run attack this evening proves without any doubt that we are in the midst of a Third Intifada,” Gush Etzion Mayor Davidi Perl said in a statement, calling for a harsher crackdown on Palestinians by Israeli security forces as well as for more Israeli building in Palestinian territory. 

“We are in an intifada,” Israeli Knesset member and former public security minister Danny Danon said in a politicized statement attacking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s weak response.

Not everyone is on board with the label yet, however, and there is a long history of naming the Third Intifada too soon. As a Palestinian shopkeeper in East Jerusalem said to Buzzfeed’s Middle East reporter a couple weeks ago: “I think you journalists think you get a prize for being first.”

“This is not an intifada,” Nabir Taha, 50, another East Jerusalem shopkeeper, told the Journal, speaking from behind the counter of his convenience store. 

“It’s the feeling of the people,” Taha said. “It’s the feeling that it’s not right what Israel is doing. That’s not an intifada. It’s just that we cannot take any more.”

Whatever its name, the recent escalation of Palestinian anger throughout Israel and the West Bank is the most dramatic of its kind since the Second Intifada a decade ago.

And it has a different feel to it. The First Intifada against Israeli occupation in the late 1980s and early ’90s was fought by Palestinians with stones and Molotov cocktails; the Second Intifada, with bombs and suicide vests. Now, the latest uprising may have revealed its hallmark: lone wolf attacks using everyday objects, impossible to ban, as deadly weapons.

Namely, cars and knives.

In a chilling trend leading up to the Nov. 10 spree, two Palestinians from East Jerusalem — Abdel Rahman al-Shaludi and Ibrahim al-Akari — rammed their cars into crowds of people waiting at a stop for the Jerusalem light rail. On Oct. 22, al-Shaludi careened through the light rail station near the French Hill neighborhood, killing an infant and an Ecuadorian immigrant. And on Nov. 5, al-Akari killed an Israeli border cop and a 17-year-old Israeli boy when he smashed into another station, even closer to the Old City.

A relative mourns near the coffin of Israeli border policeman Jaddan Assad during his funeral in his village of Beit Jann on Nov. 6. A Palestinian rammed his vehicle into pedestrians at a light rail station in East Jerusalem on Nov. 5, killing the Israeli police officer and wounding 13 others. Photo by imago/Xinhua

Combined with the Gush Etzion vehicular kidnapping in June — and a tractor attack on a Jerusalem bus during the war that followed — this car-as-weapon trend has inspired calls on social media for a larger “car intifada.”

One image being passed around, showing a sedan in the shape of a gun, is stamped with the message: “Achieve the objective — even with your car.” Another likens the white van driven in the Nov. 5 light-rail attack to the M-75, a type of rocket used by Palestinian militant group Hamas in last summer’s war with Israel. And a music video widely circulated on Facebook is encouraging lone wolves to “Run over the settlers! Run over the settlers!”

The uptick in stabbing attacks, too, has birthed a wave of “knife intifada” hype online.

“There is no other action we can do, because of all the security and checkpoints,” Hassan Awad, a 34-year-old from Beit Hanina in East Jerusalem, said of the car and knife attacks. “I think there will be a lot of this in the coming days.”

Even if this new, low-budget Palestinian uprising assumes a different name each week — car intifada, knife intifada, urban intifada, silent intifada, post-intifada — the rage behind it has been on a steady rise.

Awad said he sees this uprising as “not something planned,” but more a series of outbursts from individuals in response to the constant “pushing and pressuring” from Israeli authorities.

Especially, he said, given recent events at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound — a Muslim holy site at the center of Jerusalem’s Old City known to Jews as the Temple Mount. In the past weeks and months, in defiance of an Israeli law saying Jews can’t pray there, Israeli activists have been visiting the Temple Mount almost daily to demand their right to pray. (And, long-term, their right to replace the Al-Aqsa mosque with their own Third Temple.)

Alongside hundreds of other men under age 35, Awad was blocked from entering the Al-Aqsa compound on Nov. 7, as police tried to prevent rioting in the aftermath of the second Jerusalem light-rail attack. So Awad laid his yellow prayer rug on the street outside the Old City and prayed to a line of heavily armed Israeli policemen. “I would prefer to do it inside, but I have no choice,” he told the Journal.

An old family friend of al-Akari, the second light-rail attacker, guessed al-Akari had not taken the recent Al-Aqsa closures lightly either.

“I’ve known him since he was 2 years old. He’s a nice man — always goes to God to pray. Everybody here loved him,” said the family friend, a smiley 57-year-old business owner in East Jerusalem named Mohammed Bakri Abu Ashraf.

However, he said, “I think something snapped in his head. Everybody has cars like this — for family, for work, for holiday. I couldn’t do something like that, and I would have thought the same for him. But his mind went out. They didn’t let him pray. It changed his head.”

Abu Ashraf’s snack shop is located in the Shuafat neighborhood of East Jerusalem, right near where it meets the Shuafat refugee camp — the pressurized community where al-Akari lived, walled in by giant slabs of concrete and Israeli watchtowers. On Nov. 7, clouds of black smoke mixed with tear gas billowed over the wall. Inside, Palestinian youth were caught in their routine dance with police: Kids would throw stones and fireworks at police, and police would fire tear gas and rubber bullets back. The clashes lasted for days.

An elderly Palestinian man who couldn’t get inside the Shuafat camp to see his family on Friday due to the riots, said he was sympathetic to the protesters’ frustration. “This is the first time in 1,400 years that anybody has entered Al-Aqsa with guns and shoes,” he said of clashes at the site earlier in the week. (An exaggeration, but one echoed often around town.)

Many East Jerusalem residents also said they were enraged by the fact that, in the scramble following recent terror attacks against Israelis, all but one of the Palestinian suspects have been shot dead, as opposed to apprehended or merely injured.

“Couldn’t they have shot him in the leg?” asked Abu Ashraf of his friend al-Akari.

Riots reached northern Israel over the weekend after surveillance footage showed 22-year-old Kheir Hamdan, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, shot dead by police officers after pounding on their car window while allegedly holding a knife. A disturbing video of Hamdan’s death further fanned the flames in Jerusalem.

“The urgent task of reinstating some calm to the city cannot be achieved by applying more repressive measures while at the same time mouthing halfhearted commitments to reviving the status quo in the Holy Basin,” wrote Naomi Chazan, former deputy speaker of the Knesset, in the Times of Israel. “What is needed now, more than ever before, is a return to reason: to an understanding that two peoples inhabit the land of which Jerusalem is the heart and that their destinies are irrevocably intertwined.”

Jerusalem’s new resting state is high alert. Clusters of armed police stand on nearly every corner — more than 1,000 officers have been added to usual deployment — and are backed up by the constant buzz of helicopters and surveillance drones overhead.

By last weekend, cement blocks lined each light-rail stop across Jerusalem, “in order to prevent vehicles from plowing into people,” Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. “After the second attack, police have mobilized new units at stops along the line that runs through Jerusalem … and in Arab neighborhoods, in order to prevent suspicious vehicles from leaving.”

However, he said, “Let’s get our terminology straight. No one’s talking about a car intifada.”

But the seed of fear has been planted. Jewish Israelis are now finding themselves, instead of watching out for someone dressed in a bulky jacket — as in the Second Intifada — scanning faces through windshields. When walking along busy streets, and especially near the rail line, many twitch at the sound of a revving engine. Crowds are standing a little farther back from the tracks. Nowhere feels safe.

Second light rail victim, Palestinian attacker buried in Jerusalem


Hundreds attended the funeral for the second victim of the driver who smashed his car into the light rail in eastern Jerusalem.

Karen Yemima Muscara, 22, who had come to Israel more than a year ago from her home in Guayaquil, Ecuador, to complete her conversion to Judaism, was buried Monday morning in the Mount of Olives cemetery in Jerusalem.

Muscara died the previous afternoon at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem from injuries suffered in the Oct. 22 attack. Her mother and her sister had been flown in from Ecuador and were with her when she died. Her father arrived in Israel to attend her funeral.

She was converting after discovering that she was descended from Conversos, Spanish Jews forcibly converted to Catholicism after 1492.

Her funeral took place shortly after the conclusion of the funeral in eastern Jerusalem for the Palestinian man who drove the car that crashed into the Jerusalem light rail stop, killing Muscara and a 3-month-old girl.

The funeral for Abdelrahman al-Shaludi  was held up following disputes with Israel. He was buried at a Muslim cemetery near the Old City walls. Some 300 people reportedly participated in a funeral procession, though only family members attended the burial, according to reports.

The funeral was postponed from Saturday night following protests outside his home in the eastern Jerusalem flashpoint neighborhood of Silwan that security forces feared would grow further out of control during a funeral. The family was limited to 20 mourners at the cemetery; the names had to be submitted in advance.

Shaludi’s family had said on Sunday that it would not take his body for burial unless the restrictions on mourners was lifted.

Israel and the U.S. State Department have called the crash a terror attack. Shaludi’s parents say he lost control of the car.

 

 

Kaddish for a Texan who gave his life in Gaza


The soldiers walk past us, two single-file lines between the gravestones, their blank, sunken faces barely visible in the darkness. The coffin appears, hoisted on their arms and wrapped in an Israeli flag. We follow in its wake.

Within minutes, some 20,000 people have massed around the final resting place of Sean Carmeli, Texas native, IDF soldier, soon to be declared a Hero of Israel.

We stand silent as the rabbi chants verses of psalms begging for mercy. We shrug off official instructions on protocol should a siren sound.

Then a broken, crying, panting voice comes over the loudspeaker. Word by impossible word, Sean’s father is saying Kaddish. We say amen, and it hits home: a 21-year-old boy is dead.

“We all lost a brother today,” Carmeli’s friend, Elior Mizrachi, says in his eulogy. “He was my role model, my best friend.”

Mizrachi exhales. Across the crowd, people begin to sob.

Thirteen soldiers died Sunday in a fierce battle in Gaza, but for Americans living in Israel, Carmeli and Los Angeles native Max Steinberg stood out. They were like us, kids who grew up in the U.S. but moved here for a feeling, an ethereal connection. Both were far from their families but, as Raanana Mayor Ze’ev Bielski said in his eulogy of Carmeli, they felt they had “got to the right place.”

Many of the tens of thousands who came to Haifa’s Sde Yehoshua military cemetery on Monday night were spurred on by social media, Israelis calling on each other to attend the funeral of a lone soldier who had little family here. Maccabi Haifa, Carmeli’s favorite soccer team, asked its fans on Facebook to “accompany him on his final road and represent us as one family.”

The eulogies they heard told a story many American Israelis could recognize: Carmeli’s high school principal recounting how he worked especially hard to catch up to his Israeli classmates. Mizrachi recalling how Carmeli would describe his parents in America to his friends in Israel, and his friends in Israel to his parents in America. Carmeli’s brother-in-law telling the crowd about how his house had become Carmeli’s second home, so far from the first.

And then there was the story’s sad ending.

“We miss you so much,” said Carmeli’s brother-in-law. “It will take awhile not to imagine you coming through the door, throwing your bags on the ground.”

So much of Israeli life is about remembering the fallen — the sirens on Yom Hazikaron, the monuments across Israeli cities, the shells of tanks on the road to Jerusalem. But we constantly push it out of our minds, focus on day-to-day life, return to our routines minutes after bomb sirens ring out.

“I always thought we’d grow up parallel to each other forever,” Mizrachi said. “I didn’t know forever would be cut so short.”

By time the honor guard fired the final salute, the crowd was already filing out of the cemetery, back to life in Israel.

That campus anti-Semitism thing, you say it’s your birthday


Quiet War at UCI

It is unfortunate that The Jewish Journal would choose to run as its cover story two weeks ago an article by Brad Greenberg that preys on the deep and recurrent fears of some in our community of a rampant anti-Semitism on our college campuses (“Quiet War on Campus,” Aug. 22).

There was nothing newsworthy about the article, no recent event or episode to prompt it. The episodes and anecdotes recounted in the story were months and, in most cases, years old — and have been amply rehashed in the Jewish press.

Indeed, the chief novelty that we discerned in Mr. Greenberg’s article was his willingness to report that “the amount of anti-Israel activity on campus is so negligible that it is almost impossible for students to find unless they are looking on all but maybe three campuses a year” —and this from the director of student programs at AIPAC [the American Israel Public Affairs Committee], an organization that is usually not deemed to be slack in defending Israel.

What is even more unfortunate were the letters last week in support of the article. They revealed precious little awareness of the state of affairs on college campuses, and even less of the nature of academic freedom. One letter suggested that we should be outraged because a certain UCLA professor did not submit to a request from an off-campus group to invite a “mainstream speaker” to offer a competing view to his on Zionism. We value the principle of academic freedom and regard it not only as the cornerstone of the American university, but as a key stimulus to intellectual creativity and innovation.

We may not agree with the views of all our colleagues on Israel or other subjects. But to begin to demand — and even legislate — the introduction of so-called balanced perspectives in the classroom is a step not to be taken lightly. Where does it start and where does it end? Should we have insisted that the course on the history of Israel taught at UCLA last year by a distinguished historian of Zionism should have included a speaker who advocated the dismantling of the State of Israel? Is that the kind of balance required? We think not and see the university as a free marketplace of ideas, where logic, quality of argumentation and fine scholarship win out over shoddy research and propaganda.

At the end of the day, we, as longstanding observers of and participants in college life today, concur with the AIPAC official that, thankfully, anti-Semitism is a negligible presence on our campuses today. To regurgitate episodes from four to six years ago is not only not news. It is a disservice to the legitimate fight against anti-Semitism, as well as to the important work of Hillel and other groups in nurturing a vibrant Jewish life on so many college campuses today.

Professor Aryeh Cohen
Rabbi Susan Laemmle
Professor David N. Myers
Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller
Professor Roger Waldinger
UCLA

There was little explanation in your article as to why the conclusions of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) — dismissing the Zionist Organization of America’s (ZOA) civil rights complaint that anti-Semitic harassment at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) was not being adequately addressed by university officials — were wrong.

The major problem with OCR’s decision was that it denied Jewish students the protections of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VI protects against racial and ethnic harassment, but to OCR, Jewish Americans are a religious group, not an ethnic group, and thus fall outside the scope of the law.

Jews are an ethnic group, sharing an ancestry, a heritage, traditions, language, homeland and culture. Not protecting them from anti-Semitism on college campuses means that a national problem may go unaddressed, because colleges and universities need not answer for their conduct.

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, representing groups across the religious and political spectrums, complained about the decision in the ZOA’s case against UCI and urged OCR to reconsider it, saying that “[t]his decision will affect Jewish students not only at UCI, but also at other colleges and universities across the United States.”

In addition, three Republican U.S. Senators and six Democratic U.S. Representatives, including California Representatives Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) and Linda Sanchez (D-Cerritos), sent letters to the secretary of education, complaining about OCR’s decision. According to the Senators, OCR’s conclusion was “inconsistent with its prior policy statements.”

Similarly, the Congress Members emphasized that it “reversed OCR policy, as clarified in 2004, of protecting Jews against anti-Semitism.”

Fortunately, congressional efforts are underway to amend Title VI so that it is clear that Jewish students are protected and they can get their education in an environment that is tolerant and welcoming, rather than intimidating or threatening.

Morton A. Klein
National President
Susan B. Tuchman
Director
Center for Law and Justice
Zionist Organization of America

Kaplan’s Birthday

There is a time and a place for everything. Marty Kaplan’s birthday article is inappropriate and does not belong in The Jewish Journal (“Happy Birthday to Me,” Aug. 22).

Paul Venze
Los Angeles

Joe Biden

I am happy to say that I spent many years in Delaware. My children and granddaughter still live there [and] I have worked on Senator Biden’s campaigns (“Rob Eshman’s Monday Journal,” Aug. 18).

Biden understands the issues of the Israel and her neighbors better than most Senators including our own California Senators.

Biden definitely makes a difference I am thrilled to be able to say that I worked on his campaign and that he would always answer my phone calls when I needed him.

I believe he is a great asset to the ticket.

Gila Katz
via e-mail

DeLet: The Solution

I was pleased to note that Rob Eshman identified DeLeT as a “solution” to the “shortage of top-quality teachers in Jewish day schools” and that he singled it out as a “model” of how “to streamline qualified professionals into the teaching profession” (“The Teacher,” Aug. 29).

This is precisely what the funders and founders hoped DeLeT would become when they designed the program seven years ago.

In the ensuing years, DeLeT — Day School Leadership through Teaching — a fellowship program of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion with a parallel program at Brandeis University, has launched over 90 new Jewish day school teachers.

Today, DeLeT continues to take a novel approach to preparing teachers for day schools by helping novices learn the most powerful research-based approaches to teaching and learning while integrating Jewish and general studies.

Anyone interested in learning more about this novel approach to teacher preparation can check out the DeLeT website (www.huc.edu/delet) or e-mail Rivka Ben Daniel, DeLeT’s Education Director at rbendaniel@huc.edu.

Dr. Michael Zeldin
Director
Rhea Hirsch School of Education
and DeLeT
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

The New Jewish Funeral

Your article takes me back several years when a friend lost her 4 1/2-year-old son (“Green is the New Black,” Aug 8).

Thank God I knew someone, Rob Karlin from Los Angeles Funeral Service, who was the most helpful and compassionate person in this time of sorrow. Through his knowledge and contacts, he arranged casket, service and flowers through several resources and by the time we were finished with the comparison of prices from the first quote, Mr. Karlin saved by friend over $3,500 … a major difference in my friends needs.

Several months after the funeral, my friend contributed a portion of her savings to the Tay-Sachs Disease Support Group in memory of her son.

Ursula Reeg
Los Angeles

Obituaries


Harold Ackerman died July 30 at 96. He is survived by his son, Jerrold; and daughter, Tobi Chinsky. Hillside

David Alper died Aug. 2 at 84. He is survived by his wife, Estelle; daughters, Elizabeth Keran and Joan; and sons, L. Andrew and Robert. Hillside

Jeanette Brauner died July 22 at 91. She is survived by her daughters, Sharon Mathes and Gail; two grandchildren; and brothers, Milton and Mervin Koplof. Malinow and Silverman

Mae Brenner died July 30 at 99. She is survived by her daughters, Lori Keir and Judy Kutchai. Hillside

Dorothy Chait died July 22 at 93. She is survived by her daughters, Judy Standel and Rose; four grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Sophie Chudacoff died Aug. 4 at 97. She is survived by her daughter, Rhea Clinton, and her grandchildren, Evan and Arthur. Mount Sinai

Eugene Hugh Costin died Aug. 1 at 80. He is survived by his wife, Mitzi; daughter, Cathy; and sons, Rob and John. Hillside

William Cotlow died July 28 at 90. He is survived by his wife, Rosalie; and daughters, Judy (Richard) Julien, Marion (Dwayne) Morris and Leslee. Hillside

Arthur Alan Diamond died July 10 at 72. He is survived by his uncle, William; and cousin, Andrea (Martin Suart). Mount Sinai

Edward Efron died Aug. 4 at 69. He is survived by his wife, Vida; daughters, Elizabeth (Randall) Redondo, Tamara (Mathew) Palumbo, Shoshana (Bruno) and Jennifer (Sig Summer); sons, Daniel and Louis (Evie); one grandchild; and brother, Albert. Malinow and Silverman

Phyllis Fannie Engel died July 27 at 83. She is survived by her husband, Morris; sons, Micheal and Hartley; and brothers, Jack and Allan Chisuin. Hillside

Harris Solomon Frankel died Aug. 1 at 91. He is survived by his wife, Esther; son, Mark (Jodi); daughters, Rycilly Lynch and Eileen; and eight grandchildren, Guthrie, Cody, Kendrick, Danny, Evan, Jason, Bryan and Joel. Mount Sinai

Cyrille Friedman died July 23 at 94. He is survived by his daughter, Sandy Weimer; son, Sam (Laurie Stein); two grandchildren; and brother, Oscar Schwartz. Malinow and Silverman

Robert “Bob” Friedman died July 12 at 87. He is survived by his wife, Eleanor; sons, Alan (Vivien), Mike and Ben (Barbara); eight grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. Chevra Kadisha

Dr. Marvin Gilbert died Aug. 4 at 85. He is survived by his wife, Nancy; daughter, Tamara (Surja) Tjahaja; sons, Randall and Jason (Barbara Fain); and five grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Jack Goldberg died July 27 at 95.He is survived by his son, Loren Gould; sister, Selma Mannheim; and friend, Dwight Griffith. Mount Sinai

Sally Goldberg died July 31 at 69. She is survived by her husband, Leon; sons, Mark (Becky) and Craig (Sandy); three grandchildren; sister, Beverly (Stan) Berlowitz; and brother, Elliot (Linda) Weinstein. Malinow and Silverman

Sarah Goldberg died Aug. 2 at 101. She is survived by her daughters, Fana Spielberg and Devorah; son, Jack; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Florence Goldstein died July 19 at 93. She is survived by her son, Barry (Keng Wah); daughter, Linda (Gary Brown); grandchildren, Lisa Faite and David; and sister, Renee Pyle. Mount Sinai

Lea Halpern died July 25 at 83. She is survived by her daughter, Leora (Alan) Lanz. Malinow and Silverman

Norma Hammer died Aug. 1 at 82. She is survived by her daughter, Lynne (Elliott) Smith; son, Matthew (Teri) Haymer; five grandchildren; and brother, Leonard Kolkey. Mount Sinai

Victoria Horowitz died July 21 at 89. She is survived by her husband, Harry; sons, Stanley and Lawrence (Diane); grandson, Josh; and sister, Lily Weiwrich. Mount Sinai

Katrina Kane died July 18 at 27. She is survived by her father, Andrew (Sarah); mother, Maggie (Ron) Jacobs; brothers, Nick Forland and Brad; sister, Sabrina Jacobs; grandmother, Valerie; and uncles, Robert Garson and Peter. Mount Sinai

Howard Katchen died July 25 at 72. He is survived by his daughter, Tracey. Malinow and Silverman

Ethel Kipperman died July 17 at 98. She is survived by her son, Steven (Stephanie); grandchildren, Gia and Lara; and great-grandchildren, Alyssa and Cassie. Mount Sinai

Bette Korber died July 20 at 86. She is survived by her daughter, Sue (John) Benco; son, Richard; five grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and brother, Sid Clayman. Mount Sinai

Paul Krasne died July 27 at 79. He is survived by his wife, Nan; daughters, Susan (Steve) Nozet and Linda (Marvin) Dratsinsky; grandchildren, Dana and David; sister-in-law, Jane (Chuck) Fedalen; and brother-in-law, Lloyd (Mary) Goldwater. Mount Sinai

Lucy Israel died July 22 at 86. She is survived by her husband, Joseph; daughters, Rosalind (Larry) May and Sharon (Charlie) Balot; and four grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Eliahou Moshe Irani died July 8 at 89. He is survived by his wife Florine; sons, Moshe and Abraham; daughters, Carmella and Vera; and eight grandchildren. Eden Memorial Park

Edith Lane died July 30 at 89. She is survived by her son, Robert. Hillside

Rubin Lazar died Aug. 1 at 79. He is survived by his wife, Serene; sons, Mark (Rachel) and David (Sascha); daughter, Robin; and eight grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Charles Lewis died July 26 at 82. He is survived by his wife, Hilda; daughter, Gail (Ken) Jacobs; son, Mark (Fiorenza); and grandchildren, Evan and Sloane. Mount Sinai

Jennee Marks died July 28 at 35. She is survived by her daughter, Breanna; parents, Maxwell and Sophia Litt; and sisters, Tracy (Troy) Christman and Lissa (Lee) Bass. Malinow and Silverman

Eva Nadel died July 28 at 83. She is survived by her son, Harry; and two grandchildren. Groman

Solomon Oziel died July 19 at 85. He is survived by his cousin, Clara. Groman

Said Pakravan died July 11 at 77. He is survived by his wife, Mary; sons, Uri, Danny and Pejman; daughter, Dalia; brothers, Sion and Amir; 12 grandchildren; sisters, Farokh and Toura. Chevra Kadisha

Dr. Jordan Matthew Phillips died July 29 at 85. He is survived by his wife, Mary; and stepdaughter, Vanessa Page. Hillside

Leon Pitson died July 28 at 96. He is survived by his nephew, Jack (Miriam); niece, Pearl (Dr. Rick) Syres; and cousin, Stella (Albert) Soulema. Malinow and Silverman

Else Reissman died July 27 at 91. She is survived by her niece, Susen Kay; and nephew, Mark Herschthal. Malinow and Silverman

Arthur Rubenstein died July 18 at 94. He is survived by his son, Howard (Lauri) Roberts; daughter, Sue (David) Northrup; granddaughter, Rachel (Tim) Davidson; and great-granddaughters. Mount Sinai

Richard Sagerman died July 22,at 73. He is survived by his wife, Audrey; son, Eric; daughter, Nancy; brother, Marvin; and four grandchildren. Groman

Jean Schrager died July 30 at 101. She is survived by her son, Sheldon; and granddaughter, Lisa Elkin. Hillside

Pauline Seewack died Aug. 2 at 100. She is survived by her daughter, Marilyn Katleman; son, Larry (Lois); seven grandchildren and their spouses; and nine great-grandchildren. Hillside

Blessing Semler died Aug. 3 at 92. She is survived by her sons, Allen (Sherry) Haynes, Ronald (Lisa) and Barry; ex-daughter-in-law, Mary; 16 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Marilyn Shapiro died July 20 at 77. She is survived by her good friends, Bonnie Franklin and Judy (Dr. Michael) Bush. Mount Sinai

Dr. Jack Sinder died July 25 at 88. He is survived by his daughter, Penny; son, Marlon; and friend, Nira Roston. Malinow and Silverman

Stuart Speiser died Aug. 3 at 65. He is survived by his wife, Elaine; sons, Jeremy and Robbie (Claudia); granddaughter, Sophie; and brothers, Arnie and Franklin (Liz). Mount Sinai

Allan Summit died July 30 at 92. He is survived by his daughters, Rennie (Rudy) North, Susan Rem and Laurie (Barry) Weichman; five grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and brother, Aaron (Beverly) Sumetz. Mount Sinai

Pauline Surks died Aug. 2 at 95. She is survived by her daughter, Maxine; and son, Brian. Malinow and Silverman

Melvin Zwicker died Aug. 3 at 87. He is survived by his wife, Helen; daughter, Erica; one grandchild; and sister, Ella. Groman

Obituaries


Bertram Abels died July 15 at 77. He is survived by his daughter, Alicia; son, David; three grandchildren, Chelsea, Zachary and Hunter; and brother, Elvin. Mount Sinai

Harold Alexman died July 16 at 82. He is survived by his sons, Leonard (Rosemarie), and Larry (Kelly); daughter, Laura; six grandchildren; brother, David (Ruth). Mount Sinai

Mildred Bermack died July 22 at 95. She is survived by her daughters, Elaine Peloquin and Janet (Edward) Brickman; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Hans Beyeler died July 7 at 56. He is survived by his wife, Faye; children, Jonathan, Rochelle and Sarah; sister, Ursula Vogl; sister-in-law, Jeri McKeever; nephew, Sean McKeever; and niece, Jennifer Walters. Mount Sinai

Ralph Black died July 9 at 87. He is survived by his wife, Frances; daughters, Martha (Michael) Kahn, Shayne (Ted) Zinke and Andrea; grandchildren, Sarah and Rachel Kahn; and brother, Stu (Lee). Mount Sinai

Doris Boyarsky died July 20 at 85. She is survived by her daughters, Lynne (John Disanto), Rochelle (Steven) Klein and Karen Albani; and son, Charles Freedman. Malinow and Silverman

Ruchla “Rosett” Broit died July 7 at 93. She is survived by her husband, Bernard; stepdaughter, Graciela (Nashed) Tanious; and nephew, Roland Rozen. Mount Sinai

Bernard Brooks died July 18 at 88. He is survived by his wife, Ruth; daughters, Barbara (Earl Gregory) Neubarth and Joan (Robert) Greavy; son, Mark; three grandchildren; one great-grandchild; sisters, Faith (Marvin) Dean, Marcia Feinberg, Rita Cohen and Ann Hanover; and brother in law, Lee Berle. Malinow and Silverman

David Cohen died July 6 at 77. He is survived by his wife, Perla; daughters, Joelle Pognot, Lisette Pleskof and Sonia Plesset; sister, Ninette; and nine grandchildren. Chevra Kadisha

Rabbi Irwin Cutler died July 8 at 78. He is survived by his wife, Denise; daughters, Laurie Segal and Rachel Rottenberg; sons, David and Daniel; and brother, Rabbi Jerry. Malinow and Silverman

Harold Diamond died July 21 at 83. He is survived by his wife, Judith; daughter, J-me; son, Mahlin (Marcela); and three grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Shirley Miriam Feldman died July 17 at 81. She is survived by her daughter, Ellen (Roger) Singer; sons, Randy (Rene) and Steven; and six grandchildren. Mount Sinai

William Feldman died July 13 at 92. He is survived by his wife, Irene; daughter, Norma (Scott) Damschroder; son, Sanford (Lynda); four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Edna Felshman died July 16 at 89. She is survived by her sister, Miriam Parness. Malinow and Silverman

Betty Fisher died July 8 at 97. She is survived by her son, Gerald; daughter, Harriet Goldman; four grandchildren; and sister, Adelle Zepezaver. Mount Sinai

Louis Gallenson died July 14 at 84. She is survived by his wife, Shelley; daughter, Randi (John) Protopappas; sons, Stephen (Judith) and David (Karen); four grandchildren; and sister, Irene Friedman. Malinow and Silverman

Eliana Gouy died July 7 at 1 month. She is survived by her parents, Fabien and Mandana; grandmothers, aunts and uncles. Malinow and Silverman

Erwin Greenberg died July 20 at 79. He is survived by his wife, Sally; and daughter, Deborah Glasser. Malinow and Silverman

Florence Haas died July 15 at 96. She is survived by her niece, Beverly (Daniel) Wiseman: and caregiver, Cherry Cabral. Mount Sinai

Reesa Heifler died July 12 at 86. She is survived by her daughter, Diane (Samuel) Werbel; son, Robert (Valerie); five grandchildren; and great-grandson, Evan Gould. Mount Sinai

Mary Hoffman died July 9 at 87. She is survived by her son, Rick (Marie); daughter, Terrye (Jeff Hahne); and granddaughter, Kimberly. Mount Sinai

Eliahou Moshe Iani died July 8 at 89. He is survived by his wife, Florine; sons, Moshe and Abraham; daughters, Carmella and Vera; and eight grandchildren. Eden Memorial Park

Murray Klein died July 10 at 91. He is survived by his sons, Richard and Bruce; and sister, Jeanette. Groman

Nathan Klein died July 14 at 82. He is survived by his son, Andrew; daughter, Renee; brother, Harold; and four grandchildren. Groman

Jacob Korn died July 12 at 89. He is survived by his friend, Michael Altshuler. Mount Sinai

Neil Levin died July 12 at 39. He is survived by his mother, Alice; and sister, Bonnie Powell. Malinow and Silverman

Rae Kamin Leviton died July 16 at 89. She is survived by her husband, Sidney; son, David (Marlene) Kamin; daughter, Rhonda (Frank) Johnson; three grandchildren, Aaron, Daniel and Travis; sisters, Mary Royal and Molly Goosen. Mount Sinai

Ruth Linden died July 16 at 82. She is survived by her children, Morad (Nadia) Gabai, Nancy (Moshe) Yavene, Robert (Maureen Orr), Joan (Steven Schnider) and Patricia (Fred Gysi); 14 grandchildren; and companion, William Franklin. Mount Sinai

Mikhail Maraminskiy died July 14 at 87. He is survived by his daughters, Serafima (Michael) Zorich and Rozaliya Maraminskaya; three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Steven Ohren died July 9 at 54. He is survived by his sister, Lynn; and brother, Michael (Joan). Mount Sinai

Jerome Pauker died July 15 at 97. He is survived by his son, David. Malinow and Silverman

Melvin Pevsnek died July 19 at 75. He is survived by his wife, Libby; daughters, Gail (Fred) Rollman and Karen (Michael) Nebel; six grandchildren; and sister, Florence Kaplan. Mount Sinai

Hedwig Porges died July 13 at 87. She is survived by her daughter, Diane Pollinger; and sons, Leonard and Harry. Malinow and Silverman

Bess Ratner died July 9 at 93. She is survived by her daughters, Barbara (Tom) Leanse and Bonnie Gold; six grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and sisters, Marion Fenton and Sandra Sadikoff. Mount Sinai

Coleman “Carl” Reisman died July 10 at 80. He is survived by his wife, Shirley; daughters, Andrea (Serge) Taylor and Kim (Herbert) Nesmith; son, Michael; and grandchildren, Jordan and Lauren. Mount Sinai

Jack Richman died July 2 at 86. He is survived by his wife, Ann; son, Peter; daughters, Helen, Robin and Elizabeth; 11 grandchildren; and sister, Lillian. Groman

Robert Rosene died July 11 at 74. He is survived by his wife, Adrienne; daughters, Karen (Mitchell) Shultz and Julie (Robert) Blumberg; sons, Scott (Debra) Mund and Jeffrey; nine grandchildren; and brother-in-law, Dennis Steiner. Hillside

Livia Sasvari died June 22 at 88. She is survived by her husband, Tibor; son, Emery (Robbi) Stein; daughters, Susan Cook and Eva (Gabriel) Weiss; six grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and sister, Clara Seman. Mount Sinai

Henry Schiffer died July 13 at 66. He is survived by his wife, Vivian; son, Mark; stepdaughter, Laura Zipkin; and sister, Libby (Emil) Lemoine. Mount Sinai

Mimi Schwartz died July 17 at 97. She is survived by her sons, Bruce and Douglas (Deborah); six grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Miriam Sheklow died June 13 at 85. She is survived by her friends. Malinow and Silverman

Stuart Sobol died July 10 at 50. He is survived by his wife, Julie; son, Adin Shy-Sobol; daughter, Emma Shy-Sobol; father, Merle; brother, Larry; and sister, Tammy Evans. Mount Sinai

Eleanor Solomon died July 23 at 86. She is survived by her husband, Hal; daughters, Beverly Cherep and Sheri Gorman; son, Rick; grandchildren, Adam and Stacy Gorman; sister, Marcia (Herb) Rosenheck; sister-in-law,Violet Levine Chipps; nieces; and nephews. Mount Sinai

Lillian Sugar died July 15 at 97. She is survived by her daughters, Phyllis Wilens, Rosalie Abrams, Ann Alpert and Sherry Pritikin; sons, Jack and Malvin; 14 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren; and brother, Sam Holcomb. Mount Sinai

Jack Weiser died July 13 at 87. He is survived by his sons, Stuart (Anna) and Paul (Joy); daughter, Barbara (Alan Goodman) Weiser; companion, Romaine Kazacoff; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Scott Michael Weiss died July 12 at 32. He is survived by his parents, William and Adele. Groman

Obituaries


Sue Lynn Alexander died July 1 at 74. She is survived by her husband, Joel; sons, Glenn and Marc; daughter, Stacy; and two grandchildren. Groman

Samson Asch died July 4 at 100. He is survived by his daughters, Hella (Charles) Hershson and Basia (Larry) Frank; son, Morris (Linda); and three grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Leslie Eckerling died July 6 at 54. She is survived by her daughters, Elizabeth (Ian) Crossley, Rachel (Ralph Capasso) and Samantha; son, Aaron (Cristina); father, William Turf; and brother, Robert (Barbara) Turf. Malinow and Silverman

Gary William Ferenstein died July 6 at 67. He is survived by his son Greg (Teresa); daughter, Rachael; and granddaughter, Macy. Hillside

Gloria Bard George died July 6 at 87. She is survived by her grandchildren, Brian (Patricia), Jeffrey and Victoria; and brother, Robert (Myrna) Bard. Mount Sinai

Dorothy Grossman died June 6 at 92. She is survived by her daughter, Melissa; sons, Neal, Alan, David, Marc and Joel; and brother, Jerry Pauker. Malinow and Silverman

Larry Harmon died July 3 at 83. He is survived by his wife, Susan; son, Jeff; daughters, Ellen (Ira) Kosberg, Marci (Armie) Carabet, Leslie Breth and Lori (David Schwarzman); and four grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Milton Jack died July 3 at 90. He is survived by his son, Michael David (Betty Ann), three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Hillside

Esther Kaiserman died July 2 at 90. She is survived by her sons, Mark and Alan (Phyllis). Malinow and Silverman

Henry Kurland died July 3 at 83. He is survived by his wife, Beatrice; sons, Scott, and Dr. Jeffrey. Malinow and Silverman

Eric Lieber died July 2 at 71. He is survived by his wife, Peggy Lieber; daughter, Christine; and one grandchild. Malinow and Silverman

Sylvia Liebman died July 4 at 81. She is survived by her daughter, Zelda Dan. Mount Sinai

Germaine Lovental died July 1 at 88. She is survived by her son, Alex; sister, Judith; and one grandchild. Groman

Leonard Muskin died July 5 at 88. He is survived by his brother, Stuart (Bettie); nephews, Brule (Mary-Beth), Alan (Linda) and Michael (Diane Murada); and friend, Judy (Mort Kolbe) Fishman. Mount Sinai

Meir Nunberg died July 5 at 90. He is survived by his daughters, Yaffa (Martin Nienstedt) Kaplan and Alice (Steve Treistaru; and grandsons, Joshua and Alex Kaplan. Mount Sinai

Mary Port died July 3 at 92. She is survived by her son, Robert (Anne); daughter, Susan (Ron) Timpson; three grandchildren; one great-grandchild, Logan; and sister, Rhea (Werner) Wolff. Mount Sinai

Moshe Ronen died June 28 at 79. He is survived by his wife, Ela; daughter, Dina Brown; and sister, Bita Hucker (Alon). Chevra Kadisha

Vernon Rusheen died July 6 at 83. He is survived by his sons, Dr Jeffrey (Grisel), and Dr Larry (Dana); daughters, Lisa (Dr. Douglas) Gardner and Patricia (Dr. Michael) Kupfer; and nine grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Bertha Sacks died July 6 at 89. She is survived by her daughter, Ronney (Fred) Johnson. Malinow and Silverman

Joan Ward died July 3 at 55. She is survived by her daughters, Wendy (Sasha) Kottmeier and Lisa (Jimi); son, Patrick (Priscilla); four grandchildren; mother, Claire Bennett; and brother, Richard (Debbie) Bennett. Mount Sinai



Beverly Auerbach Pressman, Singer and Teacher, Dies at 59

Beverly Auerbach Pressman died July 18 in San Jose at 59, after a valiant two-year struggle with uterine cancer. Her husband, Rabbi Daniel Pressman of Congregation Beth David in Saratoga, was at her bedside. She was also the beloved daughter-in-law of Marjorie and Rabbi Jacob Pressman of Beverly Hills.

She was a person of great integrity, who taught those who knew her about being consistent in everything you do.

One of her rules for living was to never show up anywhere empty-handed. In addition to her love of cooking, her passions were music and teaching. She was married for 40 years, after meeting her husband when they were teenagers at a United Synagogue encampment at Camp Ramah in Ojai.

After growing up in the San Fernando Valley, Beverly attended UCLA and Barnard in New York, from which she was graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in American studies. She earned a master’s degree from Cal State University and later a bachelor’s in vocal music from San Jose State University.

The Pressmans spent some years at Congregation Ner Tamid in Palos Verdes, before settling in San Jose 27 years ago. Rabbi Pressman has served at Beth David ever since.

She taught elementary school for 15 years, but also found time to sing with Schola Cantorum, a community choral group. She had a beautiful soprano voice and was an upbeat, selfless person with unusual spirit until the day she passed away.

She is survived by her husband, Rabbi Daniel Pressman; children Aliza (Craig Chosiad), Benjamin and Rebecca; father, Louis Auerbach; siblings, Melvin Auerbach and Jeffrey Auerbach; and in-laws, Rabbi Jacob and Marjorie Pressman.

Obituaries


Alice Appel died June 3 at 84. She is survived by her daughter, Carolyn (Hank); grandchildren, Jeff (Lisa) Solny and Carrie (Ken) Block; and four great-grandchildren. Hillside

Jack Applebaum died May 29 at 82. He is survived by his son, Larry (Lucia); and granddaughter, Lauren. Mount Sinai

Harry Baily died May 24 at 86. He is survived by his wife, Shirley; children, Mark and Melinda; three grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter. Hillside

Willard John Beebe died June 2 at 89. He is survived by his daughter, Patricia; son, Leonard; daughter-in-law, Carol; five grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. Hillside

Corina Berk died March 3 at 83. She is survived by her cousins, Susan Maya-Barnert and Gerardo Ezra Behar. Malinow and Silverman

Maurice Bletterman died May 6 at 65. He is survived by his son, Edward; and brother, Bernard. Malinow and Silverman

Ricka Bornstein died May 26 at 79. She is survived by her husband, Walter; sons, Dr. John (Nancy) and Dr. Daniel (Linda); and five grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Saul Brandman died May 27 at 82. He is survived by his wife, Joyce; and children, Michael, Sonya and Maureen. Hillside

Marjorie Bright died May 24 at 86. She is survived by her son, David. Malinow and Silverman

Benjamin Cardozo died May 28 at 65. He is survived by his wife, Andrea King; son, Nathan (Rebecca Kline); and sister, Bonnie (Johny) El Baz Deckel. Malinow and Silverman

Phyllis Crosby died May 28 at 73. She is survived by her husband, Larry; daughter, Tami (Haskell) Rosenberg; son, Michael (Glenda); and five grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Barbara Jacqueline (Spivak) Diamond died June 3 at 76. She is survived by her daughter, Marcella; son, Jeffrey; granddaughter, Satya Diamond y Martinez; and friend, Chloe (Keil) Ross.

Robert Einstein died June 1 at 83. He is survived by his wife, Pauline; son, Gary (Joan); daughters, Marlene Spiegel and Wendy (Paul) Eagle; and seven grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Evelyn Eskenazi died May 23 at 86. She is survived by her daughter, Katherine (Pierre) Eskenazi-Handl; son, Victor; two grandchildren; and brother, Lee Quain. Malinow and Silverman

Joseph Feinstein died May 24 at 74. He is survived by his wife, Frieda “Fran”; daughter, Suzanne (Paul) Roberts; son, Brad; and four grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Frieda Fetter died May 24 at 83. She is survived by her husband, Oscar; daughters, Lillian (Howard) Hellman and Fay (Scott) Goldman; and four grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Joseph Frankel died May 24 at 94. He is survived by his wife, Helen; daughters, Rhonda Glowall and Esther Wolfe; son, Alvin; six grandchildren; and brother, Irving. Malinow and Silverman

Frances Friedman died May 27 at 91. She is survived by her sons, Larry and Jerry; three grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. Hillside

Leonard Max Gallop died May 28 at 92. He is survived by his sister, Phyllis; and by seven nieces and nephews. Mount Sinai

Marcey Giberson died May 19 at 78. She is survived by her daughters, Kim, and Pam (Eddie) Cole; and son, David (Patti). Malinow and Silverman

Ruth Golden died June 1 at 84. She is survived by her husband, Milton; children, Barbara (Mark) Felman and Dr. Jo Anne; grandchildren, Shari and David; and brother, Dr. Simpson Schechter. Hillside

Stan Hersh died May 25 at 74. He is survived by his sons, Paul and Michael; daughters, Susan (Michael) Schoen and Dionne Hersh-Matthies; three grandchildren; nephews, Ken and Mark (Maryl); and former wives, Colnlin Cline, and Ronna Perrin. Mount Sinai

Henry Himmelfarb died May 29 at 89. He is survived by his wife, Roslyn; sons, Gary (Debbie) and Alan (Reema); daughter, Lori (Jeff) Kaplan; and six grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Phillip Hirsch died June 1 at 90. He is survived by his wife, Regina; children, Mark, Laurene and Stuart; grandchildren Scott and Joshua; and sister, Helene. Hillside

Sara Hyman died May 22 at 91. She is survived by her daughter, Barbara Salas; sons, Yehuda and Myron (Laura); five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. The Neptune Society

Sheila Kahn died May 30 at 75. She is survived by her husband, Michael; daughter, Julie (Kenneth) Zunder; and grandchildren, Adam and Allison Zunder. Mount Sinai

Helene Kleinzweig died May 18 at 82. She is survived by her daughter, Gina (Richard) Robey; sons, Fred (Debra) and Robert (Monica); and seven grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Benjamin Kovitz died May 28 at 94. He is survived by his wife, Miriam; daughters, Johana, Sonia, and Deborah Barkat; and son, David. Malinow and Silverman

Fred Kratz died May 25 at 92. He is survived by his wife, Lillian; daughter, Sally Richman; son, Richard (Shawn); grandchildren, Max and Maya; and brother, Paul. Mount Sinai

Lorraine Lane died May 27 at 80. She is survived by her daughters, Donna (Herman) Eng and Linda (Howard) Arbiter; and 11 grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Joseph Ben-Zion Lang died May 13 at 86. He is survived by his wife, Betty. Chevra Kadisha

Edward Bernard Lipton died May 28 at 83. He is survived by his wife, Jeannette; sons, Jack P. (Marilyn) and Robert (Patricia); daughters, Suzie (Robert) Moll, Linda and Margaret; 14 grandchildren; and sister, Frances Fishman. Mount Sinai

Ruth Lipstein died May 30 at 60. She is survived by her husband, Allan; son, Michael; daughter, Lisa; grandchildren, Sebastian and Isabella; and brother, Brian Caplan. Hillside

Claire Mack died May 26 at 88. She is survived by her son, Michael; and daughter, Linda. Hillside

Edith Mallon died May 22 at 86. She is survived by her friends, Elliette Ellis and Elivira Kanim. Hillside

Marc Manasee died May 30 at 56. He is survived by his mother, Marilyn. Malinow and Silverman

Celia Marlis died May 22 at 90. She is survived by her son, Richard; and daughter, Gail. Hillside

Norman Martin died May 24 at 82. He is survived by his son, Joshua; and daughters, Liza Cross and Chloe. Mount Sinai

Farlan Myers died May 27 at 89. He is survived by his wife, Peggy; and daughter, Nancy. Hillside

Obituaries


Obituaries

Dorothy Beck died May 20 at 85. She is survived by her son, Michael (Sally); daughter, Linda (Karl) Lindeur; five grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Ellis Berkowitz died May 13 at 79. He is survived by his wife, Lillian; and daughter, Ellen (Res). Mount Sinai

Katherine Chertok died May 17 at 66. She is survived by her husband, Leroy; daughter, Lori; son, Robert (Jolene); grandson, Bradon; and sister, Susanne Candiotti. Mount Sinai

Dorothy Coblens died May 19 at 89. She is survived by her husband, Robert; daughters, Carrie (Marvin) and Nancy; daughter-in-law, Elke (Manny); six grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and sister, Vivian. Mount Sinai

Ralph Cohen died May 21 at 85. He is survived by his wife, Theresa; and daughters, Sandy (Joseph) Hart and Phyllis. Mount Sinai

Sonia Cohen died May 14 at 88. She is survived by her sons, Barry (Deborah), Ronald, Warren (Marilyn) and Bennett (Cindy); daughter, Beverly; five grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Carol Coller died May 15 at 60. She is survived by her husband, Jeffrey; sons, Jared and Jason; mother, Jo Grove; and brother, Robert (Sandy) Royer. Mount Sinai

Warren Jay Cowan died May 14 at 87. He is survived by his wife, Barbara Gilbert; daughters, Bonnie Fleming and Claudia; stepchildren, Melissa, Sara and Jonathan Gilbert; and eight grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Sidney DeLott died May 15 at 93. He is survived by his wife, Jeanne; and daughter Carol Lapin. Malinow and Silverman

Tillie Dorfman died May 20 at 90. She is survived by her son, Gary; daughter, Sheila; six grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Groman

Kathie Egar died May 14 at 65. She is survived by her husband, Samuel; and daughters, Randi and Hilari. Mount Sinai

Gail Diana Elad died May 20 at 67. She is survived by her husband, Shmuel; sons, Ronen and Barry; daughter, Debra; two grandchildren; and brothers, Harry and Steven. Groman

Martin Elliason died May 13 at 97. He is survived by his niece, Belha Aigen. Malinow and Silverman

Blanche Minnie Feldman died May 16 at 83. she is survived by her husband, David; son, Rabbi Eliot; daughter, Bonnie; and grandchildren. Sholom Chapels.

Oscar Harris died May 17 at 92. He is survived by his sons, Dr. Randy (Mimi), Mark, Joshua and Frederick; grandson, Ryan Harris; and friend, Gloria Abrams. Mount Sinai

Boruch Hochman died May 20 at 91. He is survived by his wife, Nora; children, Pearl (Bruce) Rogers and Henry; and four grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Selma Horwitz died May 12 at 90. She is survived by her son, Stewart (Mary Ann). Mount Sinai

Gerald Hurwitz died May 15 at 57. He is survived by his wife, Colleen; daughters, Carrie (Don) and Katie (Gerardo); sons, Jake and Kris; two grandchildren; mother, Sylvia; and brothers, Bob (Julie Bridges) and Arlen. Malinow and Silverman

Carol Iancovici died May 18 at 83. He is survived by his wife, Sonia; daughter, Milena (Paul) Murdoch; and grandchildren, Graham and Tess. Sholom Chapels

Zvi Israelski died May 18 at 87. He is survived by his wife, Zhaav; son, Amos (Jeanne Johnson); daughter, Dalia. Mount Sinai

Lillian Kassner died May 15 at 74. She is survived by her daughter, Lisa; son, Neal; grandchildren, Emily and Benjamin; and sister, Dorothy (Dr. Stanley) Keys. Mount Sinai

Jacob Katz died May 19 at 83. He is survived by his son, Michael (Barbie); daughters, Donna (Marc) Strong and Elaine (Scott) Scherr; and four grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Murray Kray died May 16 at 85. He is survived by his wife, Eleanor; daughter, Janet (Steven) Scharf; son, Steven (Rayn); four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Doreen Lefstin died May 18 at 80. She is survived by her sons, Ross and Jeffrey; sister, Marilynn Minsberg; and brother, Richard (Eileen) Mines. Mount Sinai

Lila Mankofsky died May 20 at 80. She is survived by her husband, Benjamin; sons, Flynn and Craig Chernos; and daughter, Deborah Smithers. Mount Sinai

Albert Masliah died May 12 at 90. He is survived by his son, Errol; daughter, Esther; and grandchildren. Sholom Chapels.

Dorothy Miriam Matloff died May 17 at 95. She is survived by her sons, Elliot and Leslie; nine grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

David Mintz died May 12 at 49. He is survived by his wife, Susan; son, Jeffrey; daughter, Jessica; parents, Elliot and Miriam; sister, Susie (Joel) Elder; nieces, Alyssa and Meghan; mother-in-law, Eileen Gordon; sister-in-law, Deborah Tannenbaum; brother-in-law, Paul (Masako) Tannenbaum; and stepmother-in-law, Claire Tannenbaum. Mount Sinai

Walter Morawetz died May 13 at 88. He is survived by his wife, Geraldine; and daughter, Linda Holtzman. Malinow and Silverman

Marcelle Rita Ozar died May 11 at 88. She is survived by her sons, Paul (Roberta), Daniel (Paula), Robert (Sharon)and Harry (Erin); 20 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Gertrude Prezant died May 22 at 97. She is survived by her daughter, Claire Rexon; grandson, Joshua (Laurel) Rexon; and sister, Mildred Janowitz. Mount Sinai

Bernard Riman died May 20 at 93. He is survived by his daughters, Marcia (Eduardo Sobelman) Riman Selz, and Judith (Ronald Fischer); three grandchildren; and six great-grandchiildren. Mount Sinai

Melvin Sabel died May 11 at 89. He is survived by his wife, Sylvia; and sons, Nathan and David. Malinow and Silverman

Shirley Sapiro died May 12 at 79. She is survived by her husband, Melvin; daughter, Rhonda (Loren) Sokolow; son, Mark (Lisa); and four grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Eva Schindler died May 21 at 90. She is survived by her son, Edward (Beth); daughter, Elaine (Hal) Jacobs; six grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and sisters, Neda Born and Faye Frankel. Mount Sinai

Sheldon Schuster died May 21 at 73. He is survived by his wife, Susan; son, Don (Sue); daughter, Jackie (Marc) Zev; four grandchildren; sister, Sandra Rockwell; niece, Rhonda; and nephews, Lee and Eric. Mount Sinai

Arthur Sherman died May 12 at 77. He is survived by his daughters, Andrea Gibson, Dana Bursk and Jennifer; sons, James and Arthur Jr.; and six grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Obituaries


Sylvia Beck died May 6 at 76. She is survived by her husband, Walter; daughter, Shira (Paul) Wintner; and three grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Lillian Berger died May 11 at 93. She is survived by her daughter, Rosalie (Felix) Slater; son, Louis (Bonnie); four grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Arlene Bratsouleas died May 8 at 69. She is survived by her daughters, Susan Merkle and Frances Lustig; aunt, Shirley (Bernie) Schwartz; cousin, Bobbie (Rodger) Sadikoff; and niece, Lisa. Mount Sinai

Ida Chester died May 4 at 93. She is survived by her daughter-in-law, Harline; grandsons, Lee (Wendy) and Glen (Joshua Barbosa); and great-grandchildren, Bennett and Max. Mount Sinai

Maxwell Danelen died May 3 at 91. He is survived by his son, Robert. Sholom Chapels.

Albert Dexter died May 10 at 88. He is survived by his wife, Elaine; daughters, Barbara and Carole; five grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren. Groman

Arieh Samuel Diamond died May 4 at 19. He is survived by his parents, Rebecca and David; brothers, Jacob and Raphael; grandmothers, Audrey Polley and Alice; aunts; uncles; and cousins. Sholom Chapels.

Sedona “Gaile” Dubow died May 8 at 83. She is survived by her sons, Joseph and Jack; grandson, Murray; sister, Helen Julian; and brother, William Ruehle. Mount Sinai

Charlene Eckstein died April 29 at 75. She is survived by her daughter, Ellen (Craig) Rubin; sister, Margery Shlaes; and sister-in-law, Sylvia Weishaus. Sholom Chapels.

Paula Feuer died May 5, at age 90. She is survived by her sons, Randy and Ron; six grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren. Groman

Arthur Fields died May 4 at 84. He is survived by his companion, Joyce; son, Ben (Susan); and grandchildren, Michelle and Michael.

Harriet Fisher died May 7 at 66. She is survived by her husband, Howard; daughter, Mindy (Marc) Schlossberg; son, Marc; three grandchildren; brother, Bennet Levine; and sisters, Sharon Milch and Barbara (Eddie) Steedman. Mount Sinai

Louis Fox died May 6 at 88. He is survived by his son, Andrew (Lynne); daughter, Jerry (Richard) Ginsburg; five grandchildren; and sisters, Evelyn Holiber and Bea (Irving) Rhein. Mount Sinai

Mildred Frank died May 6 at 92. She is survived by her daughter, Sandy; and son, Dr. Barry Aaronson. Malinow and Silverman

Edgar Joshua Friedman died May 2 at 77. He is survived by his wife, Gertrude; daughter, Annette Field; and sister, Gerda Klein. Sholom Chapels.

Fay Friedman died May 4 at 89. She is survived by her son, Joel (Frances). Mount Sinai

Isidor Friedman died May 4 at 83. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy; sons, H. David (Lois), Marc (Cindy) and Randy; daughters, Robin (Alfred) Munksgard and Paula; and six grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Joanne Greenhouse died May 10 at 79. She is survived by her daughters, Karen (Mark Schwartz), Jackie (Richard) Hollander and Kim; three grandchildren; and half-brother, Bob Landman. Mount Sinai

Edward Hasson died May 10 at 79. He is survived by his nephew, Aaron. Malinow and Silverman

Dr. Murray Elias Jarvik died May 8 at 84. He survived by his wife, Dr. Lissy; sons, Jerry (Gail) and Larry (Nancy); and three grandchildren. Sholom Chapels.

Darlene Jelin died May 10 at 57. She is survived by her brother, Robert Smith; aunts, Barbara (Stan) Krasnoff and Carol Herman; and many cousins. Mount Sinai

Milton Knopoff died May 10 at 73. He is survived by his wife, Helen; son, Steven. Sholom Chapels.

Riva Kosman died May 1 at 83. She is survived by her husband, Hyman; sons, Michael and Daniel; daughter, Joyce; and 12 grandchildren. Groman

Lawrence Levine died May 8 at 80. He is survived by his wife, Lyn; sons, Richard (Audry), Robert (Sandy) and Michael; four grandchildren; and sister, Joyce Black. Mount Sinai

Selma Lich died May 8 at 89. She is survived by her son David (Sharone) Lich; daughters Jacqueline (Bruce) Williams and Diane; four grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

William Marenus died May 5 at 86. He is survived by his wife, Lee; sons, Harold (Marlou) and Kenneth (Donna); daughter, Marjorie Ann; grandson, Jonathan; and brother, Joseph. Mount Sinai

Hyman Michael Margolis died May 6 at 86. He is survived by his sons, Dale and Allan. Sholom Chapels.

Lillian Helen Meyer died May 9, at age 86. She is survived by her son, Barry; two grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Groman

Diana Gubmann Ribakoff died May 11 at 76. she is survived by her husband, Robert; sons, David, Joe and Alex; daughters-in-law; and 11 grandchildren. Sholom Chapels.

Pearl Ridgley died May 10 at 82. She is survived by her daughters, Ellen (Bob) Eidem and Philis (Steve) Halperin; grandsons, David and Bennett Halperin. Mount Sinai

Sidney Robins died May 4 at 93. He is survived by his wife, Lucille; daughter, Barbara (Charles) Halaby; grandchildren, Alec and Alexis Halaby; and sister, Helen Mazzola. Mount Sinai

Frances Schneider died May 4 at 101. She is survived by her daughter, Millicent (Bob) Sherwindt; son, Edward (Reggie); four grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Jack Schrager died May 6, at age 82. He is survived by his nephews, David and Merle; niece, Susan; brother, Harry; and grandnieces, Samantha and Diana. Groman

Bernard Segelin died May 7 at 86. He is survived by his daughter, Amy; brother, Harris; and sisters, Ruth and Irene Miller. Mount Sinai

Lillian Snider died May 10 at 93. She is survived by her sons, Robert and Dr. Mark. Malinow and Silverman

Leonard Thomas died May 10 at 75. He is survived by his stepdaughter, Judy (David) Bencie; stepsons, Scott and Zachary Widdes; four grandchildren; and sister, Ellie Glass. Mount Sinai

Dvoyra Verkhman died April 25 at 94. She is survived by her grandsons, David Sutton and Boris (Frankah); and six great-grandchildren. Chevra Kadisha

Chaja Vinokurova died May 7 at 94. She is survived by her daughter, Rimma Posin. Sholom Chapels.

Edward Weber died May 10 at 84. He is survived by his wife, Audrey; son, Marc; daughter, Robin Harris; four grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and brother, Joe. Mount Sinai

Sylvia Yanow died May 10 at 92. She is survived by her daughter, Leanne Feldman; and son, William (Minna Fyre) Brodsky. Malinow and Silverman

Abraham “Abe” Yudson died May 7 at 89. He is survived by his daughters, Barbara and Gayle; and sister, Sylvia Savitch. Malinow and Silverman

Final lesson


In this week’s Torah portion, Vayechi, we have the most intimate description of a deathbed scene and the most elaborate description of a le’vayah (funeral)
contained in the Torah.

As I read through this portion in preparation for writing this column, I found myself struggling for a theme. I quieted my mind for a moment and found myself immersed in memories — memories of the dying, of funerals, of people working through grief. Like all congregational clergy, I have attended to the dying and their families. It is one of the holiest things I do, or, more precisely, one of things I do that makes me most conscious of the Holy.

It’s an aspect of a rabbi’s life that, I believe, is key to all of us, but one that we don’t talk about much, even to each other. I feel in some ways that a dying man helped make me a rabbi.

I was a rabbinical student at the Los Angeles campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion when I first reported to my second part-time student pulpit in Boise, Idaho, in September 1982. Linda, the synagogue president’s wife, picked me up from the airport and after a bit of chitchat asked me if I was willing to work hard. I said that I was and told her a bit about myself, to which she responded, “Well, maybe you’ll do.” She told me that there was a dying man, and she felt he needed to talk to a rabbi.

I had no idea what rabbis or anyone said to someone who is dying. It was just before Rosh Hashanah, and I thought maybe he would want to hear the shofar, so I brought it along with my prayer book.

When we got to the hospital, Linda took a seat in the waiting room, and I walked into the dying man’s room. He was having trouble breathing and looked angry. He said, “What’s that in your hand?” I told him it was a shofar, and I asked him if he wanted to hear it. He told me that if I wanted to be helpful, I could throw my shofar and my prayer book out the window and bring him a gun so he could put himself out of his misery.

I could feel that I had been play-acting at being a rabbi, doing what I thought a rabbi should do. I wasn’t real. I caught my breath, and my bearings returned.

I put the shofar and the siddur on an empty bed, pulled up a chair next to him and said, “I don’t have a gun, and I don’t know that I would give it to you if I had one, but tell me why you want one.”

He told me of his excruciating pain in taking each breath. He told me of a wasted life, of the bitterness in his family. He just wanted out.

I told him, “I want you to tell me what went wrong, what you would do differently.”

I did not ask that only as therapy, I am a bit ashamed to say; I asked for me. I suddenly knew that one of the ways I might die would be like this, in a hospital bed, in pain. Would I think of a life wasted? Would I be filled with bitterness? I wanted him to teach me.

Each word was spoken in pain, but he insisted on speaking. I filled in words for him, and eventually pulled out a notepad and started writing things down. He spoke in grief about his children and their discord. I asked him what he would want to tell them, what legacy he wanted to give them. I told him, “This is your final goal — help us live better lives.”

He grew so tired that I knew it was time to leave the room. I told Linda how it went. I could see her eyes laugh when I told her about asking him about the shofar. When I finished, she said, “You’ve got some work cut out for you here.”

I flew into Boise once a month for a few days each time. I visited with the man in the remaining few months of his life, and I spoke to his family. I helped him compose what I later learned was called an ethical will, a way of passing his values on to his family.

Linda and her husband, Alan, guided me carefully through the entire process, up through his death, which occurred when I was in Los Angeles; a lay leader officiated at the funeral. I felt the dying man’s family was transformed by his work, a transformation I hope was lasting.

I took the lessons he taught both to me and his children to heart. I became a witness to a family story, a story of love and bitterness and folly, and a final redemption. I realized that every family, every person has such a story, a fully textured life of hopes and dreams, of joy and heroism and tragedy, and we hope, of redemption.

Every life is like a book of the Torah, filled with laws and lessons, wisdom, drama and destiny. I realized something of my role as one who works with the dying and their families — if I can, to draw out a teaching, a legacy, for those left to grieve, and for me.

And as we attend to the dying, grieve with their families, draw out lessons and legacies, we strengthen them, and we are strengthened.

This column originally appeared in The Journal on Jan. 9, 2004.

Mordecai Finley is the rabbi of Ohr HaTorah congregation, as well as provost and professor of liturgy and mysticism at the Academy for Jewish Religion, California Campus.

Obituaries


Marty Adlin died Sept. 26 at 88. He is survived by his wife, Frances; brothers Bernard (Arlene) and Sidney; and special brother-in-law, Ted Krakower. Malinow and Silverman

Selma Balberg died Sept. 27 at 89. She is survived by her husband, Harry; son, Stephen; daughter, Susan Robinson; and four grandchildren. Groman

Ester Beckerman died Sept. 23 at 85. She is survived by her daughters, Pnina (Michael) Rothenberg and Lalik Martin; five grandchildren; one great-grandson; and brothers, Yehuda, Shlomo and Mordechai Makover. Chevra Kadisha

Uri Berger died Sept. 28 at 91. He is survived by his daughters, Batya Reff and Sara; two grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Groman

Jerry Berk died Oct. 2 at 85. He is survived by his wife, Shirley; sons, Michael (Karen) and Arnold (Sally); daughters, Michelle (Herman) Desser and Penny (Philip) Attneave; six grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren. Groman

Ben Bronson died Sept. 26 at 91. He is survived by his daughter, Marlyn (William) Diamond-Gray; five grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and brother, Herman. Mount Sinai

Joseph Brown died Sept. 28 at 84. He is survived by his wife, Pauline; son, Jeffrey; daughters, Arlene Mars and Ellen Weitz; brother, David; nine grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Groman

Natalie Darnov died Sept. 28 at 76. She is survived by her husband, Morris; daughter, Sharon; son Rabbi Allen (Cantor Avima); three grandchildren; and brothers, Henry (Sarita) and Samuel (Lelia) Rose. Mount Sinai

Ruth Lillian Falkin died Sept. 30 at 80. She is survived by her sons, Bernard and Lawrence (Harriet); and sister, Joyce Sincher. Malinow and Silverman

Rae Iris Feinberg died Sept. 27 at 83. She is survived by her son, Howard; daughter, Susan (Jeff) Strumpf; and three grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Ira Frieder died Sept. 26 at 86. He is survived by his daughter, Regi (Gary) Block; son, David (Rondi); and four grandsons. Mount Sinai

Sigmond Frohlich died Sept. 30 at 95. He is survived by his sister, Ethel Leiman. Malinow and Silverman

Dorothy Gavin died Sept. 30 at 84. She is survived by her daughter, Carla (Richard) Satnick; and granddaughter, Shauna Satnick. Mount Sinai

Gary Goosen died Sept. 30 at 67. He is survived by his son, David; daughter, Susan; mother, Molly; and sisters, Randy and Andy. Groman

Joseph Gould died Sept. 28 at 85. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy; sons, Marc (Cyndi Goldman) and David (Deborah Chankin); and three grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Muriel Hahn died Sept. 30 at 83. She is survived by her son, Jonathan. Mount Sinai

Paul Heller died Sept. 29 at 60. He is survived by his wife, Susan; and sons, Jordan and Luke. Malinow and Silverman

Rakhil Khokhlova died Sept. 25 at 80. She is survived by her daughter, Yevegeniya; and grandchildren, Galina and Tatiana Bluvshteyn. Chevra Kadisha

Minnie Rothman King died Sept. 30 at 93. She is survived by her son, Darrell (Sandra); and one grandchild. Groman

Robert Kline died Sept. 30 at 61. He is survived by his wife, Georgann; daughter, Lisa; and brother, Thomas. Malinow and Silverman

Leo Laufer died Sept. 18 at 82. He is survived by his niece, Beatrice Freed. Chevra Kadisha

June Laxer died Oct. 1 at 85. She is survived by her daughter, Ellen (Michael) Garner; son, Kenneth; four grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Ralph Lazarus died Sept. 29 at 94. He is survived by his daughter, Susan (Earl) Broidy; sons, Bill (Lynn) and Steve; and six grandchildren. Mount Sinai

David Lerner died Sept. 29 at 88. He is survived by his wife, Sarah; son Rabbi Barry Dov; daughters, Betha Hollander and Sarah; seven grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. Groman

Dolores Hillner Levin died Oct. 1 at 86. She is survived by her sons, Barry and Joel (Marilyn); three grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and sister, Renee (Leon) Sherman. Malinow and Silverman

Anna Levine died Oct 2 at 91. She is survived by her sons, Steven (Gabriela) and Jacob; four grandchildren.

WALTER JACK MARZOUK died Sept. 27 at 64. He is survived by his wife, Joyce; sons, Ben, Michael and Raymond; sisters Lillian Sciammas, Nelly Ibrahim and Odette Cohen. Hillside

Vajeheh Moin-Amini died Sept. 18 at 86. She is survived by her daughter, Nina Sami. Chevra Kadisha

Iraj Mehrannia died Sept. 19 at 79. He is survived by his wife, Sona; and daughter, Nazie Meskin. Chevra Kadisha

Florence Pascoe died Oct. 1 at 95. She is survived by her sons, Dennis (Susan) and Michael. Malinow and Silverman

Iosif Perstin died Sept. 22 at 68. He is survived by his wife, Raisa; and daughter, Alla Suzdaltsev. Chevra Kadisha

Bernard Peters died Sept. 28 at 85. He is survived by his son, Joe; grandchildren, Sandra Albertson and Daniel Peters; and two great-grandchildren. Chevra Kadisha

Bernice Ratner died Sept. 23 at 90. She is survived by her daughter, Jacqueline Ann Ratner-Stauber; and grandson, Adom Ratner-Stauber. Chevra Kadisha

LILLIAN ANN ROSS died Sept. 27 at 78. She is survived by her grandchildren, Jessica (Chanania) and David; brother, Frank (Rosalie); sister, Evelyn; and nieces, Marsha and Barbara. Hillside

DAVID SALLAN died Sept. 26 at 90. He is survived by his wife, June; son, Bruce; and two grandchildren. Hillside

Sylvia Schneider died Sept. 27 at 92. She is survived by her son, David (Tobianne); three grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and brothers, Norman (Beverly) and Arnold (Helen) Kominsky. Malinow and Silverman

Donald Schwartz died Sept. 26 at 83. He is survived by his wife, Rebecca; daughters, Marilyn Rado, Bobbie (Mito) Sion and Ronnie (Lenny) Lieb; and five grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Dr. George Shecter died Sept. 28 at 92. He is survived by his son, Paul (Moriah Bat-Hayim); daughter, Alice (Richard Gracer); and granddaughter, Nicole Pollack. Mount Sinai

Annabelle Frances Singer died Sept. 26 at 84. She is survived by her husband, Aaron; daughter, Ellen (Paul) Plumer; sons, Howard (Terry) and Dennis (Claire); and two grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Harriet Bernice Slomiak died Sept. 29 at 76. She is survived by her sons, Jeffrey, Mark and Jay; daughter, Ellen Glettner; brother, Cantor Harvey Bein; nine grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Groman

SOL SMITH died Sept. 25 at 86. He is survived by his daughters, Shirley-Mae (Dr. Harvey Roter) and Carolynne ( Ze’ev Drori); sons, David (Irene) and Mark (Marcia); seven grandchildren; and brothers, David and Mel. Hillside

Freyda Penner Spatz died Sept. 30 at 87. She is survived by her daughters, Julie DaVanzo (Frank), Barbara and Andrea (Bob Wunderlich); four grandchildren; and sister, Edith Penner Wolfson. Hillside.

Lois Jane Spector died Sept. 26 at 74. She is survived by her husband, William; daughter, Ellen Kotler; sons, Dr. John, Dr. David, Steven, and Jeffrey; and four grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

SAMUEL SWARTZ died Sept. 25 at 92. He is survived by his sons, Joel and Steven; four grandchildren; two great-grandchildren and brother, Paul. Hillside

Roman Tsyrlin died Sept. 28 at 62. He is survived by his wife, Ludmela; daughter Inga (Reza) Farahanchi; one grandchild; and mother, Lubov. Malinow and Silverman

Deanna Waxman died Sept. 29 at 90. She is survived by nephews, Michael and Richard Druyen; and nieces, Earline Cooper and Adele Leibman. Groman

Gertrude Leah Weingarten died Sept. 30 at 101. She is survived by her daughters, Connie Gerson and Louise Goldsmith; nine grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Bernard Wyman died Sept. 29 at 79. He is survived by his wife, Phyllis. Malinow and Silverman

 

Obituaries


Author & Former Jewish Journal Columnist David Margolis

Dies at 62

David Margolis, who lived and chronicled the transformation of an American hippie of the 1960s into a deeply spiritual resident of a West Bank settlement, died July 17 at the age of 62.

A Brooklyn native, Margolis was a widely published journalist, novelist and editor, who died of cancer and was buried near his home in Beit Yatir, in the Hebron Hills. Most recently, Margolis served as the Jewish World editor of the Jerusalem Report magazine. Between 1990-93, Margolis was a senior writer, investigative reporter and award-winning feature columnist for The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles.

Yehuda Lev, his colleague at the time, recalled his constant serious but civil discussions with Margolis on their differing religious and ideological beliefs.

“David never succumbed to extremism,” Lev said. “He was that rare individual who combined idealism with practicality and overlaid them both with a protective layer of honesty.”

Margolis described his hippie commune experiences in his first novel, “Change of Partners” (The Permanent Press), followed by “The Stepman” and a collection of short stories in “The Time of Wandering.”

“I consider David the foremost chronicler of that slice of the Jewish ’60s that went from rootless, hedonistic hippiedom into, somehow, a deeply spiritual engagement with Jewish life and the challenge of Zionism. That transformation is at the center of all his writing,” said Martin Jaffee, professor of Jewish and international studies at the University of Washington.

Screenwriter and novelist Robert Avrech described Margolis as “a major American Jewish writer who never received the attention he deserved … a master storyteller with a wicked sense of humor.”

Producer-writer David Brandes recalled Margolis as “a true mensch and one of the sweetest people I ever met … with a wry sense of humor and perceptive insights.”

After moving with his family to Israeli in 1994, Margolis established himself as a successful freelance journalist for general and Jewish newspapers and magazines, created marketing material for major Israeli universities and hi-tech companies, and co-wrote the prize-winning CD-ROM, “Artrageous! The Amazing World of Art.”

His writings were honored by the BBC, American Jewish Press Assn., the Israeli government, and the Center for Jewish Culture and Creativity, among others.

He is survived by his wife, Judith; children Hodya, Ephraim and Noa; grandchildren; mother; and two brothers. — Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor

Moses Allen died June 23 at 95. He is survived by his daughter, Elizabeth (Ron) Ingersoll; two grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Sanford Baines died June 25 at 85. He is survived by his daughter, Linda (Teddy) Antitala; two grandchildren; two great grandchildren; nieces and nephews; and great-nieces and great-nephews. Mount Sinai

Sarah Lillian Budnick died June 21 at 83. She is survived by her daughter, Carolyn Sarnoff; and sister, Esther Sanft. Groman

Lillian Burg died June 20 at 84. She is survived by her husband, Louis; daughter, Myra (Charles Christensen); sons, Andrew (Lena DeMonte) and Randall; and grandchildren, Marissa and Jason. Mount Sinai

Daniel David Chase died June 21 at 81. He is survived by his wife, Babette; sons, Barry and Mark; daughter, Robin Battles; and five grandchildren. Groman

Abe Douglas died June 22 at 79. He is survived by his wife, Irene; sons, Mordachai, David, Schuyler and Palmer; daughter, Sharon Carter; 11 grandchildren; brother, Jack Plugash; and sister, Bertha Cooper. Groman

MINNA EHRENBERG died June 20 at 99. She is survived by her daughter, Susan (Edwin) Isenberg; two grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; sister Florence (David) Levine. Hillside

Leslie Freeland died June 24 at 60. She is survived by her sons, Eric and Abe Toke. Malinow and Silverman

Jack Gartner died June 23 at 89. He is survived by his son, Lawrence; daughter, Barbara; and sister, Eve Dobkin. Mount Sinai

Gloria Gault died June 20 at 80. She is survived by her husband, Harold; daughter, Michele; sons, Andrew (Fran) and Robert; and three grandchildren; and sisters, Estelle Bartels and Bernice (Fred) Swidler. Malinow and Silverman

Ruth Goldstein died June 22 at 81. She is survived by her son, Larry (Virginia); daughter, Rona Edwards; three grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Mount Sinai

Molly Goodman died June 25 at 80. She is survived by her husband, Max; son, Jan; daughters, Lauren (Richard) Packard and Melanie (James) Murez; and eight grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Dr. Bernard Jacobs died June 21 at 82. He is survived by sons, Dr. Michael Jacobs; daughters, Dr. Brenda and Linda; and four grandchildren. Groman

Julius Karosen died June 22 at 93. He is survived by his daughters, Judith (Carl) Schlosberg and Sharon Lewis; four grandchildren; and great-grandson, Zachary Rosenberg. Mount Sinai

Simon David Kashar died June 24 at 91. He is survived by his wife, Annette; son, Marc (Kathy); daughter, Francine; and one grandchild. Groman

Cantor Morris Luffman died June 20 at 88. He is survived by his wife, Anne; daughter, Evy Paul; one grandchild; and two great-grandchildren. Groman

Arlene Meyers died June 25 at 75. She is survived by her sons, Richard and Brian; three grandchildren; and brother, Neil Factor. Groman

PEARL MILLMAN died June 24 at 86. She is survived by her husband Milton (Smokey); son, Michael (Marie); daughter, Lisa (Gene); and grandsons, Jeffrey and Brian. Hillside

Jacob Minsky died June 22 at 89. He is survived by his nieces, Lynne Arbogast and Barbara Quintana. Groman

John Newman died June 22 at 90. He is survived by his wife, Rebecca; sons, Walter and Robert; daughter, Nancy Artis; and six grandchildren. Groman

Ann NicholS died June 22 at 92. She is survived by her son, Rubin (Theresa); daughter, Diane (Michael) Solomon; four grandchildren; and great-granddaughter, Sadie Solomon. Mount Sinai

RITA OKRENT died June 23 at 76. She is survived by her husband, David; son, Neil; daughters, Nina Loebl and Jocelyne Okrent; four grandchildren; sister, Deborah Tarlowe; and brothers, David, Tobias, Elias and Joseph Holtzman. Hillside

FRANCES OSEP died June 23 at 87. She is survived by her daughter Gayle Galli; and two grandchildren. Hillside

Heddy Pitt died June 21 at 93. She is survived by her niece, Ann (Michael) Mantell; and sister-in-law, Marta Sibor. Mount Sinai

Albert Ponaman died June 21 at 74. He is survived by his wife, Bernice; sons, Todd (Julie), Michael (Caryn), Scott (Judith Mello); daughter, Tammy (Frank) Vaughan; eight grandchildren, one great-grandchild; and sisters, Doris Plaplan, Charlotte (Heshy) Goldberger, Arlene Paul, Edith Ponyman and Jackie Kay. Mount Sinai

Mirian Karp Romeyn died June 22 at 54. She is survived by daughter, Jessica; and brother, J. Harvey Karp. Groman

MABEL NINA SAMTER died June 20 at 100. She is survived by her niece, Lola Jameson; and nephew, John Jameson. Hillside

Harry Schreiman died June 23 at 79. He is survived by his sons, Stephen, Mark and Michael (Courtney); daughters, Deborah (Richard) Kelly, Lisa, Karen and Marcy; and five grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Ebrahim Shabanfar died June 22. He is survived by his wife, Rabigha; and daughter, Nahid. Chevra Kadisha

Shokat Shakib died June 23 at age 85. She is survived by her son, Aziz Mokhtar. Chevra Kadisha

GLADYS SKLUTH died June 22 at 98. She is survived by her son, Neal Scadron; and one grandchild. Hillside

GEORGE VOLLMER died June 20 at 84. He is survived by his wife, Ann; son, Jim; daughter, Joyce; four grandchildren; and brother Fred. Hillside

EDWARD WEINBAUM died June 20 at 76. He is survived by his companion, Gloria Weinbaum; sons, Mitchel and Ronny; daughter, Donna Thompson; one grandchild; and brother, Melvin. Hillside

Gerhard Wenke died June 25 at 88. He is survived by his wife, Rhea; son, Daniel; and two grandchildren. Groman

 

World Briefs


Thousands March for Israel in New
York

Tens of thousands gathered in New York to salute Israel. Marchers and onlookers filled Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue on Sunday for the annual Israel Day Parade.

Palestinians Fake Jenin Funerals

Palestinians reportedly have been holding phony funerals in the Jenin refugee camp, apparently to make the death toll there appear worse than it is. An Israel Defense Force drone filmed a funeral procession on April 28, during which stretcher-bearers dropped the purported corpse. The “dead” man hopped back onto the stretcher, but the next time he was dropped, he walked away in a huff.

House May Seek More Funds for Israel

Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives are considering adding $200 million in aid to Israel. Congressional sources say the additional money, which has not been earmarked by the White House as part of its annual supplemental aid package, is expected to be debated Thursday by the House Appropriations Committee and could go before the full House next week. Lawmakers passed a resolution last week expressing solidarity with Israel and seeking additional funds for the Jewish state.

Italy Balks at Bethlehem Deal

Italy stood by its refusal to take in 13 Palestinian terrorists holed up in Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity. Despite U.S. pressure and appeals from the Vatican, Italian officials said Wednesday that the European Union as a whole should deal with the issue of who takes in the 13 men. “I am opposed to it,” the Italian daily La Stampa quoted Deputy Premier Gianfranco Fini as saying. “If we took in the 13 Palestinians, we would be exposing our country to a series of grave risks.” Jordan, Egypt and other Arab nations also have refused to take in the 13.

On Tuesday, Italy complained that it was not sufficiently briefed on the details of a deal for ending the standoff at the church, where more than 100 Palestinians have been surrounded by Israeli troops for more than a month. Under the terms of the deal, Israel and the Palestinians agreed that 13 of the militants wanted by Israel would be exiled to Italy. In addition, some 26 gunmen would be sent to the Gaza Strip, where they would be imprisoned under the watch of American and British jailers, Palestinian sources said. The remaining Palestinians not wanted by Israel would be freed.

Pro-Israeli Dutch Politician Slain

A Dutch politician who often spoke out on behalf of Israel was shot and killed. Right-wing Pim Fortuyn, who often spoke out against Islam and immigration, was shot at close range Monday night, nine days before national elections. Four people who were with Fortuyn at the time of the attack chased the gunmen, and police are now holding a suspect, according to reports. There are no details about the gunman’s identity or motive.

‘Suspicious’ Fire at Oakland
Synagogue

Officials are investigating what they’re calling a “suspicious” fire at a California synagogue. No one was hurt and there was little damage after the fire burned the outside of the Beth Jacob Congregation in Oakland. On Sunday morning, firefighters extinguished three small fires at the site and found what appeared to be gasoline around the building. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Anti-Defamation League are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators. The Orthodox shul has ben vandalized before when three security cameras were stolen. — Mike Levy, Staff Writer

Florida JCC Scammed?

Top employees at a Florida Jewish Community Center (JCC) may have bilked the institution of hundreds of thousands of dollars. According to the Palm Beach Post, the State Attorney’s Office is investigating a suspected credit card scam at the Jeanne Levy JCC in West Palm Beach, allegedly involving the top executive and several others. The alleged embezzlement was first discovered by the local Jewish federation, which was suspicious after the JCC overspent its $7 million budget.

U.N. Condems Israel

The U.N. General Assembly approved an Arab-sponsored resolution condemning Israel just hours after a Palestinian terror attack on a Tel Aviv suburb. The 189-member world body condemned Israel’s recent military operation in the West Bank and its rejection of a U.N. fact-finding mission to Jenin. The resolution was approved 74-4, with 54 countries abstaining. The United States voted against the resolution

Swiss Fund Wraps Up

A Swiss fund set up to help needy Holocaust survivors wrapped up its work. Created five years ago, the fund paid out some $180 million to nearly 310,000 people around the world, according to officials. The fund was established after Swiss banks were accused of having close financial ties to the Nazis and of hoarding the contents of long-dormant bank accounts opened by Holocaust victims.

All briefs courtesy of Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

There’s No Time Like the Present


In my family, death and funerals seem to inspire joking. Maybe it’s discomfort, but it also seems to be a lack of concern and heaviness about the whole thing. No one in my family does much visiting of graves, and burials are apparently not deemed necessary.

My mother wants her body cremated and her ashes scattered at her camp in Maine. I imagine my sister and I will someday combine sharing our grief with a nice trip to New England.

My father, after years of making jokes about his postmortem plans, suddenly informed us that he wants to donate his body to the Northeastern Medical College in Ohio. (His only concern is that some of his former psychology students might recognize him.)

My grandparents also gave their bodies to medicine. My father recalled how some men from the medical school carried my grandmother out in a body bag. Did it bother him? “Well, they looked just like the men who came to fix the television,” he joked.

But it is a serious subject, and a necessary one to discuss — well before the time comes, in order to avoid extra emotional stress and expense.

Yet only 35 percent of the funerals in the Los Angeles area are preplanned through mortuary arrangements, says Steve Espolt, director of sales at Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary in Los Angeles. This means that someone — a spouse or a child perhaps — not only has lost a loved one, but also has to make arrangements for the person’s body while grieving.

Planning a funeral is not unlike planning a wedding, Espolt says. For both events, you need clergy, a location, flowers and probably some meaningful comments. But “a wedding is usually planned over six months to a year and is the happiest day of your life. A funeral has to be planned in 24 hours and might be the worst day of your life,” he says.

“We don’t ask to be born, and we have nothing to say about when it’s our time to be called,” says Ira J. Polisky, sales manager at Eden Memorial Park in Mission Hills. Making arrangements and having them paid for ahead of time, Polisky asserts, “is the greatest expression of love within a family.” Eden offers seminars at temples and fraternal groups for the purpose of bringing the facts of life about funeral arrangements out in the open.

“After 20 years in this business, I’ve seen prepared and I’ve seen unprepared,” Espolt says. “Prepared is better.”

Both Polisky and Espolt mentioned payment plans they offer to encourage families to be prepared. “A small deposit is made,” says Polisky of Eden’s plan, “and then the necessary items are paid off over a seven-year period, which locks in the prices.” This way, one isn’t forcing a new widow to start writing checks at the painful time of loss.

If it’s practical and relatively easy to make arrangements, why are so few people prepared?

“Most people don’t like to think about their own mortality, so they don’t like to talk about what will happen to them after they die,” says Arnold Saltzman, general manager of Mount Sinai Memorial Parks and Mortuary.

“Many people take the ostrich approach,” Polisky says. “They pretend that nothing will happen to them, that they will have as much time as they want.”

According to Espolt, men are worse than women, because more men don’t want to admit they’re going to die. Now they are having to deal with their parents’ arrangements, and they don’t like that either. So, they avoid the subject.

Saltzman, a former therapist and executive vice president of the Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles, a beneficiary agency of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, has seen stress explode when funeral arrangements are not made ahead of time. “Families come in with old wounds and battles that they’ve had over the years,” Saltzman says. “The stress causes them to become more agitated, rather than bringing them together, and as they’re trying to reach these decisions they haven’t made already, they get into arguments.”

One result is “emotional overspending.” Espolt describes a situation where a recently widowed man asked the son of his deceased wife to choose whatever he wanted for his mother, since she hadn’t made her wishes known. “The son picked the most expensive casket available, which made the widower uncomfortable, partly because he knew his wife wouldn’t have wanted anything so extravagant, but he’d made the offer and felt he had to live with it.”

Parents frequently make a decision to just let their kids take care of funeral arrangements when the time comes. “This places an undue burden on children,” Saltzman says. “If the parents won’t talk about it, their children should try to initiate discussion. It will make things easier when the time comes.”

To encourage discussion, Saltzman has created a brochure called “The Right Words,” which offers advice on how to broach this awkward subject. Mount Sinai has also launched a campaign that includes pins that say, “Let’s Talk.”

Espolt says Hillside is also keeping its services in the front of people’s minds with a recent community service ad offering 20-year yahrtzeit memorial calendars to anyone who calls and asks for one.

After speaking with these professionals, I feel relieved that I know what my parents want for themselves after they die. It will be difficult enough to be feeling their loss without trying to imagine what they would have wanted.

Hopefully, it’ll be many years before I need to think about it again.


Ellie Kahn is an oral historian, freelance writer and the owner of Living Legacies Family Histories in West Los Angeles. Her e-mail address is elliek1@earthlink.net.

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