Mina Bear died Sept. 18 at 88. Survived by daughter Moraye (John Hall); brothers Nate, Leo Rosen. Hillside
I grew up in a home filled with food and love and laughter and music and Yiddishkayt and stories. I was the youngest of four kids and we were part of a tribe in Boro Park, Brooklyn, with my uncle Nat’s family living on the floor above us, my uncle Ruby’s family living next door to us, and my grandparents living above them. Nobody ever knocked on the door and nobody ever needed a key, everybody was always barging into everybody else’s home.
Each culture has rituals and customs surrounding death, and Judaism is no exception. Jewish tradition and the Jewish community provide mourners with structure and direction during the grieving process.
Ethel Baron died Aug. 25 at 90. Survived by daughter Carol; sons Howard, Jack (Rhonda), Mitchell (Miyuki); 3 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai
The overwhelming majority of mourners had never met the Holtzbergs. But that didn't matter. They have become, for Americans, the public face of this tragedy.
While not everyone is jumping on the 'I gotta be me' funeral bandwagon, a funny thing is happening on the way to the mortuary. When it comes to thinking about the end of life, be it in the business of funeral homes or in the minds of Jews everywhere, the world is changing.
My mother, Sylvia Goldstein, Sura Malka bas Yeshiya, passed away on March 11, the fourth of Adar II. She was 92 and had the full use of her mind and wit all of her years.We moved on to the week of shiva.
There are moments when half a world away seems right around the corner. At Young Israel of Century City (YICC) on Sunday afternoon, Israel's pain at the murder of eight young yeshiva students burned through the Los Angeles Jewish community, just as it has in Jerusalem, where the boys lived, and as it has through Jewish communities throughout the world. The death of eight innocent boys studying Torah at Yeshiva Mercaz Harav shrunk the world.
"You hear about tragedies in Israel, but it hits so close to home because this is us next year. Next year we're going to yeshiva," said Chaim Gamzo, a 17-year-old senior. "These guys had their whole lives ahead of them -- like me. I hope to go to yeshiva, to go to college, to have a normal successful life, but they didn't have the opportunity to do that."
Thousands of mourners turned out Friday for the funerals of the eight students, aged 15 to 26, killed in Thursday's attack at a prominent yeshiva in Jerusalem.
Remembrance of a mother's last day.
Finally, I'm grateful to the Almighty for having given me such a remarkable mother who, by example, taught her many offspring about the beauty of Judaism, how to lead meaningful lives and how important it is to do chesed for others. May her memory be a blessing.
Holidays bring up feelings and memories about people who have died. They also offer opportunities to address unresolved issues. The four Yizkor services and the themes of their days correspond to different tasks of mourning.
In Judaism, we sit shiva after a death. We grieve, confront and try to accept. It's an ancient process, and it helps.
Depression is a word that has been cheapened. We forget that it is a diagnosis for a bona fide disease. It becomes a catch phrase for the weighty feelings we experience as we come to terms with life's challenges and honor the process of change.
For a great many of us, there is an instant and easy identification with the Jewish state. They are not they, they are we. The heat of battle forges them into us. Whether we've spent much time there, whether we have blood relatives there, we feel ourselves as one, we are they.
"I really loved your story," Tante Mina said to me in a nearly inaudible gasp. She looked at me and it gave me hope, for her eyes still held that sparkle, that fight, that desire to live. As I walked out of the critical care unit of the hospital to let the next family member into the room, I had no way of knowing that those would be the last words I would hear her speak.
Earlier this month, three California Jews -- all of us strong supporters of Israel -- established a scholarship fund to honor a Palestinian patriot. He was murdered in the terrorist attack in Amman, Jordan, in November, since which time we've been joined by many other prominent members of the local Jewish community. A lot of people have asked me why I was one of the founders. Here's why.
On the day our wedding was to have been, I was intensely aware of the time when we would have been standing under the chuppah, without seeing a clock or watch. My breath stopped, and I stood still, feeling the growing ache in my chest. I spent the day alone, and I cried. And I thought about cosmic meaning and why this was happening to me. And then everything was fine.
We have now entered the period Jews call "The Three Weeks."
It's Davidson, as in Ronald Davidson, my stepfather. He died yesterday at 62 and that's why I'm at a funeral home out on Charleston Boulevard in Las Vegas. My mom is here, too, and though there are copious boxes of proper tissue in the place, she is clinging to the roll of toilet paper she's had by her side since returning from the hospital with nothing but a bag of Ron's stuff: slippers, a stack of Louis L'Amour paperbacks, his watch.
The funeral took place in Vienna on July 7, 1904. The stunning announcement had come on the 4th: Theodore Herzl, dead at age 44.
Here is Stefan Zweig's description of the day:
Again Israel turns to mourning the dead, but this time the list of those killed has been slow in coming. As the bombs used in suicide bombings become more sophisticated, producing deadlier and deadlier blasts, it takes more time to identify the remains of the dead.
Grief erases all regular rules. All the logic that has ever seemed to govern one's life suddenly seems useless. More than useless, it seems pointless.
For the Kids
The groundswell of emotion in response to Ilan Ramon's death has not only been a great inspiration for American Jews, it also has helped strengthen the bond Americans feel for Israel.
"It's a state of mourning for the whole nation. Our school is no different," said Joseph "J.P." Schwarcz, 18, a Yeshiva University freshmanin New York.
At the same time, Schwarcz was quick to note the distinct status of Israel's representative on board, Ramon, as a role model for Jews.
"Throughout the whole week, our deans have come into our class and discussed with us how we should be just like Ilan Ramon," he said.
In mourning the tragic flight of the whole Columbia crew, Jews across America are especially touched by the loss of Ramon. Whether Jews saw him as pioneer or peacemaker, most saw him as the best of the Jewish people.
It was supposed to have been a happy day. Strangely enough, it was.
A local American Israeli family, which lost a daughter in an airport shooting rampage last July 4, is in renewed mourning for a son who died Nov. 26 following a car accident.
The Israeli community, joined by the city's mayor and Jewish leaders, bade a grief-stricken farewell Sunday to a man and woman killed by an Egyptian-born gunman at Los Angeles International Airport July 4.
This coming week begins "the nine days," the period of intense mourning leading up to Tisha B'av, the fast of Av, which takes place on the following Thursday, July 18.
Two dozen colorfully dressed fourth- and fifth-graders from the Pressman Academy, waving small Israeli flags, welcomed Israel's President Moshe Katsav and his wife Gila with Hebrew songs as they arrived Monday evening at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
By the time the transplant team approached Doris Ullendorf and Ken Gorfinkle, they had already talked about donating the organs of their first-born son.
My friend Jane and I met for dinner last week andhad a good laugh about death. California's political campaign seasonis just commencing, and we were discussing, in an offhand way, whatmy husband, an attorney, might have made of an upcoming ballotproposition were he still among us.
"It's amazing that he's still dead," I said,without quite knowing what I meant. Simultaneously, Jane and I letout a roar, a "yipes!" of astonishment, as people do when they touchsomething hot, or come too close to the sitra atra, what kabbalists call"the other side."
Tisha B'Av, the day of mourning in commemoration of the destruction of the two Temples, is notable for at least two reasons. For one, it may be the only holiday that Hallmark hasn't designed a card for. And it seems to be the one holiday that most Jews have heard of, but few seem to know much about. As with quarks and RNA and Rothko, we can drop "Tisha B'Av" into a conversation, hoping all the while that we won't be asked to actually explain it.