Funeral February 10, 2019

Eulogy

I’ve thought about this moment for a long time and what I would say.  What can one say about a Women of Valor, an Eshet Chayil.  Mommy understood her role as a daughter, wife, caregiver and mother; to provide for her family in any and every way possible.  To feed, to clothe, to educate and to guide with Jewish principles and loving kindness.  But not just for our family but every family and person she met and touched in her life.

What can one say about a Queen Esther, who was chosen to survive the terrible Haman, Hitler, in order to continue the Jewish faith and traditions.  To live and go on to work as a nurse and help deliver babies, to marry and raise a family that understands the importance to our survival of following the Jewish values of love and caring and belief in God.

It is important to me as it was to my mom to share some of her painful life story so that we never forget what happened and to show that Hitler failed in his attempt, as many before him have tried, to wipe out the Jewish people.   

My mom was born in Kielce Poland and described herself as a Kieltzer and a Holocaust survivor.  The war definitely shaped her thoughts and had a profound impact on how she lived the rest of her life.  The Nazi’s in the concentration camps ignored the names of the Jews to further degrade their spirits and she was known there by the tattooed number on her arm, A-14861.  She wore that number without shame or disguise and told everyone who asked, about the tragedies of the war with the directed attempt to eliminate the Jews.  This was of significant importance to her to make sure that we Never Forget.  To all of us here today, my mom who was known as Esther or Estusia, and her survival and the generations of family and friends that she produced and developed are proof of their failure in their attempt.  She survived the Holocaust including the Kielce Ghetto, internments in the Nazi labor and concentration camps in Poland of Pionki, and Auschwitz and then in Germany at Bergen-Belsen, Elsnig and Bomlitz. After the war upon returning back to her home town to look for her father, she and her mom had to once again survive the murdering of Jews in the notorious Kielce Pogrom.  My mom participated in many activities throughout her life that shared her stories including the Spielberg tapes, many articles about the Kielce Pogrom and most recently was recorded as part of the award winning film documentary “Bogden’s Journey”. 

This was her history but her life was more than that.  She got a nursing degree in Germany and as an obstetrics nurse delivered dozens of Jewish babies. She came to America at age 20 and worked hard to create a new life.  She married my dad Abraham (Abie), had children and grandchildren and great grandchildren who she loved and adored very much.  She developed lifelong friendships and hundreds of lasting relationships with everyone she met.  She was known by everyone as a giver not a taker.  She remembered everyone’s birthday, special event and anniversary with a card and a gift and always had food ready if anyone dropped by.  I often wondered how she did that but then found her secret calendar with every day filled in with the birthday, anniversary, wedding, engagement, graduation or other special event.  She bought cards by the dozens to always have one available at a moment’s notice.  She gave gifts from her heart and was the first to help when anyone was in need.  She always dressed well and enjoyed her visits to the hair salon.  She made Passover Seders each year for 20 or more and never had the same food dishes each night.  She was very proud of her kugels and Jell-O molds with fruit inside.  She baked hundreds of cookies and was known as the cookie lady by everyone in town.  If she went to a store and got friendly with a clerk or bank teller then the next time she would bring them cookies.  My mom was always warm and friendly but no pushover.  If she had an opinion she was not shy and defended her family and friends with fervor.  She was tough and sometimes obstinate but you always knew it came from a place of love.

She had great tragedies in her life including the losses of her father and most of her Aunts, Uncles and Cousins in the war, and then in America her mom, youngest son, Howard Aron, and 12 years ago her husband.  May they all rest in peace.  But she survived, persevered and thrived. Most recently we are extremely grateful that at age 90 she was able to attend her grand-daughter Danielle’s marriage to Ben.  She was all about the simchas.  The last few years could not have been possible if not for her wonderful home aides, Chrissy and Balcia.  Mina and I are forever thankful for your help, love, caring and support of our mother in her final months, days and hours.  Now it is our period of great loss and time for her to join the others all within our hearts, thoughts and memories forever.  May we also Never Forget.

Goodbye Mom – we love you.