Irene Klass: A Difference-Maker In So Many Lives
Mommy, more and more I find myself longing for you, for so many different reasons. I have decisions to make and I miss your wisdom. I try to imagine what you would tell me and I’m lost. I have your picture on my desk and I look at it every day lovingly and longingly.
I think of all the different sayings you utilized to teach us life’s lessons, such as: If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well; Cleanliness is next to godliness; If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything. The list goes on and on. But it wasn’t a sterile list; you lived what you preached. Hindy quotes you all the time, including some of the funny things you said, and we both laugh.
It was such a joy to talk to you. I knew since my earliest years that I could tell you everything and you would understand. Any article I ever wrote I brought to you first, and though it was hard, I always accepted your criticism and it actually made my articles better.
And the singing: How I loved to harmonize with you. Whenever I learned a song in Bnei Akiva I taught it to you and we would sing together. I remember your last birthday. You were no longer very aware of your surroundings. It was a Shabbos and I came over and sat next to you and for an hour sang the songs we used to always sing together. And lo and behold, your mouth started to move and for that entire hour you turned to me and moved your lips. And then I remembered that music is the voice of the soul – and I knew I had reached your soul.
I often meet people who tell me they remember my mother and how special she was and that there is no one like her. I know it’s the truth. I remember when I interviewed Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, a”h, she said matter of factly, “I loved your mother.” And Devora tells me how much she misses you and your saintly soul. When she sees all the phonies around and then she thinks of you, she is reassured about the world.
Your great-granddaughter Rachayli was telling me some of her memories of you from when she was a little girl. She was five years old and it was summer and she was learning how to ride a two-wheel bike. Her father had taken off the training wheels that day and you came for a visit. She wanted to show you how she could ride and you told her that was the very thing you wanted to watch her do. You made her feel so special and you acted like you had all the patience in the world. And then she took a picture with her bike standing next to you, a picture she cherishes to this day.
Another one of Rachayli’s memories: When she was in 8th grade, you bought her a book called Forever My Jerusalem. It was a beautiful book. “I couldn’t put it down,” Rachayli recalls. “I read it over and over and it gave me such a love for Eretz Yisrael.”
Rachayli today lives in Jerusalem and still remembers how special you always made her feel.
There are little great-grandchildren named after you – Hindy’s grandchildren Ayelet Yitta and Avichayil Yitta, and my great-granddaughter, Atara Yitta. And Dovid has a little girl also named for you. And they have the same spunk in their personalities you did. They are little girls now and I daresay they have the makings to be very smart, just as you were.
I was talking with an old friend and she said that sometimes when she can’t sleep she reminds herself that she has made a difference in this world. I liked that. You surely made a difference in this world, Ma, and in so many lives that I can’t count the numbers. I have tried to mold myself after you, and I hope I also make a difference. May your neshamah have an aliyah and may we always bring you naches.
Dr. Ivan Mauer: A Combination Of Intellect And Menshlichkeit
Has it really been six years? Time seems to lose its significance. I just know how much I miss you.
For me, you always remain my wonderful husband, looking straight at me in the framed picture I have on my desk. Sometimes I see you smiling and at other times I see a cynical look. I talk to you and I know your answers. Wherever I go I meet people who remember you, patients and old friends. For your patients, there never was a doctor like you and they don’t hesitate to let me know their stories. As for your friends, they all miss your weekly phone calls. No matter where you were, you called them to wish them a Good Shabbos.
I thought of you all through this year’s election cycle. Oh, how you would have enjoyed it, and you would have stayed awake with me on Election Night until the count was over. And intellectual though you were, I know exactly whom you would have voted for.
You had an amazing appreciation for knowledge – secular, of course, but especially Torah. Every Shabbos you would read from Rabbi Simon Dolgin’s parshah book and then from Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski on the parshah and then from Rabbi Yeshaya Leibowitz on the parshah. And after we met Rabbi Berel Wein you bought all his books and tapes and never tired of reading or listening to his insights.
You had respect for all people. No one was too little or unimportant to you. From the street sweeper to the postman to the garage attendant, you stopped to chat with all of them. And you made everyone feel important. I remember the medical conferences you attended every year. You wouldn’t skip a single lecture and were horrified when I suggested you could make a little time for some vacationing.
Your greatest pride and joy were your children and grandchildren. You were so happy that Tzvi and his family and Michal and her family live in Israel. Gila turned 18 this month and she is doing Sherut Leumi in Shaarei Zedek hospital. Gedalya Yishai will be bar mitzvah in three months. Adin is an officer in the IDF and Elan is already a senior in high school. Rachayli and her Los Angeles husband Shaul made aliyah and have two little boys.
Those are just a few of the milestones in the lives of some of the Israeli grandchildren. And you would have gotten much naches last month when your grandson Josh read his parshah so beautifully in Los Angeles.
You made each grandchild feel special and they all loved you so much. We lost you way too soon. But you live on inside me and your children and you always will.
“When love is strong and runs deep, it pulsates with an energy that cannot be stopped, not even by death’s grip. When two souls are connected and one departs this world, the separation may seem final, but in truth the relationship transcends time.” (“Small Miracles” by Yitta Mandelbaum and Judith Leventhal)