My mother was a remarkable woman who lived each day to its fullest.  She was passionate about what she believed in and felt driven to speak out about injustices in society or causes that needed to be funded or supported.  She loved with all her heart.  My father and mother had a love one only sees in movies and that love enveloped everyone who came in contact with them.  She loved her grandchildren with all her heart and was proud of all their accomplishments and would tell me how blessed she was to have such wonderful grandchildren Jason, Justin, Ilan, and Raphael.

My mother was equally comfortable at an elegant soiree dressed to the nines or in her art studio with her hands covered with red clay wedging it or throwing a pot or wearing a smock as she painted with oils and smelling like it as it seemed for days.  She was fond of Rudyard Kipling poem “If” specifically one line that states, “if you can walk with kings nor lose the common touch.”  She embodied this in all aspects of her life.  Though she came from an upper class family in South Africa, she never looked at people through the lens of class or color, they were all people, all equal, black or white, rich or poor.

She wanted to see the world and took us on multiple trips nationally and internationally and supported our requests for travel.  When I called her one day in college to tell her that my advisor asked me to attend a gender identity conference in Copenhagen with her and to see if I should go her response was “of course you should” and I did.  When my sister asked my mother to go see the solar eclipse in Maine my mother’s immediate response was “why of course, why not” and off we went with the Lehigh Valley astronomical society to Dexter, Maine which then evolved into a 4400 mile road trip across country.  Whatever my dream was I could count on her supporting it and encouraging me to follow my passions.

She was a bright light in this community and in our lives that has been extinguished.  She planned to live at least 7 more years which she told us a few days ago.  After having sailed through an expertly executed major abdominal surgery and orthopedic procedure, she died unexpectedly at the result of a nurse’s tragic medical error and a series of medical misadventures at the hospital in Philadelphia.  I know if she were here she would be outraged at what happened to her and she would be sitting at the computer pounding out letters and sending them to anyone who would listen to her to make sure this did not happen to anyone else.

She left us with an outstanding legacy of social activism, living a life of passion and commitment to one’s belief regardless if anyone else supported them.  My mother loved the Rabbi Hillel phrase “if I am not for myself who will be for me; if I am only for myself what am I; and if not now when?”

I call on all of you to honor her by embracing life passionately and squeezing the most out of each minute, each second of each day as she did.  We were blessed to have her in our life.  She leaves a huge gaping hole no one else can fill.


Thank you,