My grandmother passed on yesterday afternoon, July 16th.
She was 95 years of age, and she was one tough lady.
She came over from Germany way back, when the world was in a pretty bad state of turmoil, and she managed to do some pretty amazing things. She raised my father and my uncle – mostly on her own. From the stories I hear now, I know that they two were no easy walk in the park.
It seems that she was a “True New Yorker” – didn’t take any flak from anyone, did her own thing, and tried to have a good time.
One story from a long time ago, when my sister was about 8 and I was a little younger, and my cousin even younger than I, we all went to Oma’s (Oma = grandmother in German). She took all us kids out for the day, and she took us on the subway (against my uncle’s request that we take a cab wherever we go).
My cousin was wearing a light-colored shirt that had a breast pocket. In that pocket, she had put a 5-dollar bill that my uncle gave her for the day – for whatever.
At some station, the doors open, and some kid sticks his hand into my cousin’s pocket to grab the bill. Oma grabs his hand, while still in her pocket and starts yelling at the punk. My sister and cousin are freaking out, and yell at Oma to let him go, let him go.
She finally reluctantly does and he sprints off with his ill-gotten 5 bucks.
It may have only been 5 dollars, but my grandmother wouldn’t hear of it. You protect what’s yours.
She was a fighter. She came to Israel in late 1990 – for my Bar Mitzvah. If you remember back then, the Gulf War was imminent, and she calmly got off the plane, lined up and received her complimentary gas mask, and came to Jerusalem where we lived.
January14-15th, 1991, the Gulf War starts, sirens blow, and she was staying at our upstairs neighbor along with my future brother-in-law.
My uncle calls and tries to convince her to come back to the USA, but she wouldn’t hear of leaving Israel at that point.
She stayed along with us for the entire war – all until it was over, and my sister’s wedding was a couple days after the war ended.
She will be missed by many, and the knowledge that she spent her life giving to others whenever she could, especially finding books on living a healthy life for everyone, affirms the fact that if there is a Heaven, she is surely there, sitting around, chatting with everyone and telling them what’s good for them.
My father’s mother, Ruth bas Chana, will forever be my Oma.