Rabbi Meier Schimmel,
Congregation Beth Meier Founder,
Dies at 89
Studio City's Rabbi Meier Schimmel died Sept. 30 at age 89, almost 47 years after he opened Congregation Beth Meier and watched it become a quiet, unassuming little staple of Jewish life in the San Fernando Valley.
Congregation Beth Meier opened in December 1958, near Moorpark Street and Colfax Avenue. Early on, the shul's Star of David was stolen and a swastika painted on one of its white walls. Schimmel left the swatiska up for a week -- to be seen by all, he told The Journal last year, to "let my neighbors feel what's happening here."
Today, the Traditional-Conservative congregation has about 150 families. Schimmel started turning over major duties to Rabbi Aaron Benson in 2003, although until about six months ago the elder rabbi recited opening and closing Shabbat prayers. The rabbi's wife, Rochelle, died in 1981 after spending 40 years running the shul's 125-student school.
The son of a Frankfurt rabbi, Schimmel was one the last of the pre-Holocaust generation of European-trained rabbis. After fleeing Nazi Germany, he arrived in America and was an Army chaplain in the war.
He turned down Steven Spielberg's request to sing a prayer in "Schindler's List," saying he was too busy.
Along with his theological pedigree, Schimmel had a big heart. When an elderly, childless couple's parrot died, Schimmel officiated at a little parrot funeral service, thus honoring the couple's childlike affection for the bird.
He is survived by his daughters, Debby (Ken) Bitticks and Selma; four granddaughters; and eight great-grandchildren; and sister, Fanny Grossman. -- David Finnigan, Contributing Writer
Rose Esther Allen died Sept. 14 at 95. She is survived by her son, Robert (Carmen Villar); daughter, Toni (John) Allen-Broderick; seven grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and brother, Martin (Victoria) Gordon. Mount Sinai
Farang Barlavi died Sept. 14 at 84. She is survived by her granddaughter, Soheila Halimi. Chevra Kadisha
SANFORD BLOOM died Sept. 18 at 84. He is survived by his wife, Mary Jane; sons, Gregory and Clark; daughter, Marsha (Alan) Garber; five grandchildren; one great-grandchild; and sister, Evelyn Schwartz. Hillside
Ethel Bromberg died Sept. 11 at 92. She is survived by her sons, Bruce (Terri), Michael (Gail) and Dennis (Nan); eight grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; brother, Norton Figatner; and sister, Helen Dresser. Groman
Carl Chaplan died Sept. 14 at 85. He is survived by his wife, Rose; sons, Ronald and Leslie; daughter, Ellen Jannol; seven grandchildren; and sister, Esther Chapman. Groman
Margie Druker died Sept. 14 at 84. She is survived by her son, Larry; and granddaughter, Amy. Mount Sinai
James Finley died Sept. 18 at 87. He is survived by his sons, Rabbi Mordecai and Steven; daughters, Deborah Delamore and Diana Johnson; 10 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Groman
Delores Diane Flasher died Sept. 15 at 80. She is survived by her sons, Jeffrey and Gary; daughter, Barbara; five grandchildren; brother, Marty (Bunny) Solomon; and sister-in-law, Florence Solomon. Mount Sinai
Gerald Freidlin died Sept. 15 at 78. He is survived by his son, Michael. Malinow and Silverman
PAUL LEWIS GOLDFINE died Sept. 15 at 42. He is survived by his father, Melvin; brothers, Brian (Lisa) and Phil (Valarie); and nephew, Kase. Hillside
Sylvia Guggenheim died Sept. 16 at 87. She is survived by her daughters, Barbara and Eileen. Malinow and Silverman
Jerome Jules Gurnick died Sept. 17 at 74. He is survived by his wife, Marcia; son, Ken (Sherly); daughter, Ellen (John) Rosenberg; four grandchildren. Mount Sinai
Ella Ivanushkina died Sept. 18 at 56. She is survived by her daughters, Mariya and Jenny. Mount Sinai
Rachel Kagasoff died Sept. 15 at 89. She is survived by her sisters, Helen (Jack) Stein and Freida Margolis; three nephews; and one niece. Mount Sinai
DOROTHY VIVIAN KALIFF died Sept. 17 at 89. She is survived by her daughter, Marla Sherwood; one grandchild; and sisters, Ida Stein and Ann Dorf. Hillside
Aghdas Kashanchi died Sept. 14 at 82. She is survived by her daughter, Minou; sons, Bahram (Myrian), Harry (Flora) and Behnam (Minou); nine grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Malinow and Silverman
Ida Kraim died Sept. 14 at 80. She is survived by her husband, Harry; sons, Jerry (Adina) and Steven; and two grandchildren. Mount Sinai
Adele Laxer died Sept. 19 at 85. She is survived by her son, Gerald (Leslie); daughter, Carol Rosenbaum; grandchildren, Lisa and Kevin (Kathy); and sister, Florence Binder. Mount Sinai
Ida Miller died Sept. 18 at 94. She is survived by her daughter, Susan Spiritus. Malinow and Silverman
David Milstein died Sept. 19 at 87. He is survived by his daughter, Beth; son, Mitchell; grandson, Dylan; and nephews, Lester and Mark Shufro. Mount Sinai
Ashraf Naeim died Sept. 14 at 86. She is survived by her son, Faramarz; and daughter, Farzan Meshkinpour. Chevra Kadisha
Helen Nathanson died Sept. 16 at 81. She is survived by her husband, Jerome; daughter, Roberta (Larry) Erlichman; sons, Lawrence and Donald (Esther); three grandchildren; brother, William (Sandy) Jurman; sister, Mildred Rosen; and sister-in-law, Pearl. Mount Sinai
Yaghoub Noorizad died Sept. 16 at 84. He is survived by his wife, Ezat; and son, Pirooz. Chevra Kadisha
Louise Nobakht died Sept. 15 at 73. She is survived by her daughters, Ziba (Behzad) Soroudi, Jila Montnegro, Mitra and Yasaman Akaks; brother, Moise Koutal; and sisters, Gity Bostani, Jenine Kamkar and Mahin Zahir. Malinow and Silverman
Ruth Mildred Pressman died Sept. 16 at 84. She is survived by her husband, Abe; son, Barry; daughters, Sheryl Dialey and Kayla; and two grandchildren. Groman
Ruth Rothman died Sept. 14 at 84. She is survived by her husband, Dr. George Leonard; and daughter, Barni Robb. Groman
Steven David Schatz died Sept. 14 at 59. He is survived by his mother, Jean; sons, Aaron (Kathryn) and Noam (Sarah); one grandchild; and sisters, Miriam Harris, Francine (Stephen) Heiks and Carole (Jack) Robberson. Malinow and Silverman
TERRY SHANBROM died Sept. 14 at 72. He is survived by his wife, Frances; daughters Barbara (Brad Greenberg) and Karen (Marilyn Ader); son, James; and four grandchildren. Hillside
JOSEPH EFRAIM SIEGEL died Sept. 15 at 79. He is survived by his wife, Kay; children, Lynn, Howard and Jill; and four grandchildren. Hillside
Sanford Zellic Scharf died Sept. 18 at 52 He is survived by his wife, Michele; son, Jeremy; daughter, Brittany; mother, Lillian; brothers, Alan Ducker, Marty (Barbara), Lonny (Nancy) and Norman; sisters, Susan (Neal) Epstein, Janee (Alan) Friedman and Michelle. Mount Sinai
Barbara Straus died Sept. 16 at 77. She is survived by her daughter, Denise; son, Mark (Susan); and two grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman
Moisey Tarnavskyi died Sept. 14 at 88. He is survived by his daughter, Larisa (Vladimir) Tarnayskaya; granddaughter, Ella (David) Fedonenko; and two great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai
Gerhard William Thilgen died Sept. 18 at 83. He is survived by his wife, Olga; and son, Thomas (Deborah). Mount Sinai
HAROLD SAMUEL VISTOR died Sept. 15 at 80. He is survived by his wife, Marjorie; sons, Bruce, Skip and Jonathan; six grandchildren; and sisters, Judy Stulberg, Shirley Finkel and Harriett Goldberg. Hillside
IRWIN WARD died Sept. 16 at 82. He is survived by his sons, Jeff and Douglas; and daughters, Susan Raitano and Wendy. Hillside
Helen Wandell died Sept. 17 at 90. She is survived by her daugther, Sunny Glenda (Ben) Benjamin; grandchildren, Jeffrey and Kerry Benjamin; brothers, Henry and Bill Strull; and sister, Gertrude (Julie) Heichman. Mount Sinai