Mom, these are my דברי פרידה to you, even though it is difficult to think about parting from you. My sibs and I are so fortunate to have had an idyllic childhood in Kitchener. This was so much because of you being such a caring yet not overly protective mother. You didn’t stress about where we were, although you wanted to know with whom. When I would, at last, come home, you were all ears to hear about my adventures at school, on the way home, conversations we had. You truly listened to every word I said even though you were always so busy with housework and community obligations. I think that your attention to every detail of my life made me feel very important and cherished.
The way you always greeted people with your big smile and positive attitude made those outside our family also feel good about themselves. You set a great example for us, your children, in this way and I have tried to pass this along to our children and grandchildren. I learned to be a good listener from you, mom, as well as so many other life skills.
You were always so supportive of dad in his community work as a rabbi and you were a teacher in the Hebrew school as well as involved in the sisterhood activities of the shul. Yet, I never felt that all these responsibilities took you away from my sisters, brother and I. I knew that you always had time for me, whether it was to ask me questions for a test or to go shopping with me for clothes for a חג. I learned from you, mom, to always put our family before other, outside demands.
So fantastic, mom, that you taught us to be appreciative about every little thing in our life. You grew up with so little, yet that didn’t cause you to be bitter. You actually became more grateful for whatever you and dad attained in your lives. People have told us that we always exude such enthusiasm about anything they do for us; and they’re not used to this in the wide world out there. We don’t give it much thought, mom, since you and dad always told us about the first small carpet you bought for your apartment on onward avenue. You told us about how you and dad were so excited about this purchase that you both sat down on the carpet, since you didn’t have any furniture, to enjoy having something new and special.
From your relationship with dad, and later with Marcus, I grasped the concept of love and joie de vivre, mom. How lucky we all were to witness a mother and father who treasured each other above anyone else. You were loyal to dad as his wife, his rebitzin-heaven forbid if anyone spoke during dad’s speech in shul or anywhere else. They would get a dirty look from you, mom, that shut them up immediately!- you were dad’s greatest supporter and kitchen dance partner!
With Marcus, you had a very different life than you had had with dad. Even though you always held on to the role of rebitzin no matter where you were in your life, you were able to shed the onerous obligations of heading a Jewish community. With Marcus, you travelled the world, hiked up mountains, snorkelled in waterways in places you had never dreamed to reach. Since you so loved the sun and warm weather, you drew the line with going to Antarctica, a place Marcus truly wished to see. Good thing the ship left on שבת! There was no way around that, otherwise you would’ve added Antarctica to the list of locations at which you stopped.
Mom, we keep mentioning the word, legacy, when we speak of how you influenced our world and our lives for the good. To say that my sibs and I were fortunate to grow up and to live well into our adult lives with a mother and role model such as you, is a huge understatement. I am limited by words though, mom, so I part from you with these thoughts of how blessed I have been to be a close part of your life. I love you and I’ll miss you.