Seven years ago my husband and my mother died within a few hours of each other and were buried on the same day, my husband in Israel and my mother in New York. They are forever enjoined in my memory.
They had a wonderful relationship. They loved one another and were both brilliant. In fact, they were true intellectuals, and maybe that is the secret to their having gotten along so famously. He used to call her Madame Shakespeare and she called him Sir William, alluding to the fact that my mother could quote Shakespeare fluently and often.
Both of them were tremendous ba’alei chesed. Mom gave charity unstintingly and no one was ever turned away from her door. My husband was a physician who gave the same quality care to everyone regardless of whether he was paid or not.
Both loved Israel and gave their utmost to help in whatever way they could. Mom supported families and yeshivot in Israel and my husband was the beloved doctor in the settlements, never accepting payment.
My mother and my husband were fiercely devoted to their families.
My mother, Irene Klass, was a role model for me and my sister, Hindy. But well beyond her two daughters, she became the role model for each of her granddaughters. She was so unique – extraordinarily sharp of mind, passionate about her Judaism, a gifted writer and an avid reader, and a ba’alas tzedakah extraordinaire. How proud she was of her grandchildren – every one of them a Torah-true Jew.
And Mom, this past year saw two new great-grandchildren of mine named after you. One to Shira and Avraham Hirtz and one to Rachayli and Shaul Klein, two of Shandee’s daughters. They join two of Hindy’s granddaughters and another one of mine.
Mom not only quoted Shakespeare from memory, she regularly cited Pirkei Avot and the Gemara whenever she wanted to make a point. And she was well ahead of her time when it came to health matters. I never knew anyone who washed his or her hands as thoroughly and as often until I met my husband. She tried to use only organic vegetables and fruits and served us meals when we were children that had all sorts of veggies and fruits my friends had never even heard of.
She dressed in style and used to tell us that a talmid chacham never went out with stains on his clothing.
My husband, Dr. Ivan Mauer, treated mentally disabled patients. He gave every one of them his time and loving care and they loved him in return. I remember when he telephoned their residence and admonished the administrators for allowing them to go out unkempt and with unclean clothes. At first they took umbrage at his criticism, but eventually they realized he was right and from then on the patients were dressed differently. It is no wonder that when these patients heard he died they went into mourning.
Ivan was a deeply religious man. For him, being Orthodox wasn’t just about the commandments between man and God but between man and man as well. He couldn’t abide phonies. He had a phenomenal intellect and was a voracious reader. He devoured everything from medical journals to books and articles on subjects ranging from science to politics to baseball.
But his greatest enjoyment came from reading divrei Torah, especially those written by rabbis he loved, Rabbi Dolgin, Rabbi Wein, Rabbi Lamm, and Rabbi Waldman. And he took special pride in reading scholarly works published by his son Tzvi, publisher of Urim Publications.
Mom, no one who knew you will ever forget you. But especially to me and to Hindy and to your grandchildren you will always remain a shining beacon of light.
Ivan, your memory shines brightly in the hearts of all who knew you. Your children remain devoted to your memory and your grandchildren miss you and talk about you. As for me, I have not filled the hole that your passing has left in my heart. But I am consoled remembering your words to me – that you will always be with me.