In loving memory of my mother - Phyllis Saidel ZL

Last week, my mother passed away. She was 87 when she returned her soul to the creator.

Losing a parent is hard, all the more so when it comes suddenly. In my mother’s case, it was something that we knew was coming, but even more so, I lost my mother over 9 years ago, when she developed full onset Alzheimers.

Here is my eulogy in her honor from the funeral.

Unfortunately, what we have fresh in our memories, is the recent period, the last few years. And those were not good years, they were hard years. some of your grandchildren unfortunately almost only remember you as you were in these last years. But there was so much more than that. You were so much more than that, and I want to share some of those memories with you all.

Many of you don’t know my Mom, one of the five Rabinowitz sisters, the last one to survive. Her younger sister Anita Z"L passed away only two weeks ago.

My mother was a tennis player (so I am told, because I never actually got to see her play). I only heard stories, and I remember as a child a huge vase full of trophies that she had from competitions she had won.

But not only a tennis player. She was a master in the kitchen, an amazing caterer, hosting events (weddings, bar mitzvahs) with 200-300 people. My wife asked me yesterday, what were my favorite foods that I remember she made, I don’t really remember a single favorite one, but I do remember her kichel, her chopped herring, her teigelach. Always top notch, of the highest quality and amazing.

She was a women who opened her heart and home to everyone. I cannot count the number of people my father used to collect at shul to bring back home for meals over the years. Every Shabbat and Chag we had people at our table, every meal. A welcoming home, an inviting home, and that was all because of you.

Yes, my brothers and I did have two parents, my father Z"L also did so many things, but you were “The Parent”. You cared for us, made sure we wanted for nothing, made sure we got the right education, took care of our Aliyah to Israel, you took care of everything.

Life with my father was not always easy, you had a difficult marriage for many years with him. Fights, crises, but you did everything, everything to be there for us. You worked, far too much, so that we would want for nothing. And I know I did not say thank you enough while you were alive, only after the fact, do I really understand what you sacrificed for your children.

It was not only family you cared for. During the big Aliyah from the Soviet Union you dedicated so much of your time to try and help them, with clothing, additional funds, school books, gifts for the chagim, and all because someone needed to do it. Because they needed help. That was you. You were known as the “local branch of the absorption ministry” in Pisgat Zeev, and you always helped with any and every request that came your way. You brought happiness and a smile to so many people, and all of this as a volunteer and on your own free time.

It is hard for me to remember those times, because what is fresh in my memory are the last few years. Not the Sundays as young kid that we went to Aunt Mickie, and swam in her pool, played cricket with the cousins in her garden. Not the many Yom Ha’atzmaut days that we went to Anita, with amazing food, with all our cousins and where we would just be there, together, till the late hours of the evening. You were the connecting link between us all.

What I do remember fresh in my mind are the last years. The years where we saw you disappearing right in front of our eyes. Losing touch with reality as the years progressed.

There are times I don’t want to remember, episodes in the hospital, fights, anger, court rooms.

It was not respectable, you did not deserve that. You only deserved the absolute best, and I am sorry that there were times when we really did not manage to give you best, the respect you deserved. I do promise you though, it was all done for you, to honor you.

To my brother Les. Danja and I would like to say thank you. Not only to you, but also to Sheryl, Davidi, Ashira, Yair and Racheli. The whole family thanks you. Thank you for being the son that took care of everything, that you cared for Mom, that you were willing to go all the way, that risked so much, the whole family gave up so much, lost so much, just so that you could keep the mitzvah of Kibud Eim. I wish that we all will be able to do that Mitzvah as you all did.

And to Sriyani. You are officially not a blood relation, but we do consider you part of our family. There are no words of gratitude that I can say for what you have given my mother over the years. The care, the love, the patience, the help over the last eight years is something that if my mother would be able to say here today thank you, I am sure she would. On behalf of my mother, her son’s, her daughter’s in law, her grandchildren, we will forever be grateful for what you did for my Mom. We will always remember you, and what you did for her.

And to my mother, Ma.

I hope you are in a place of all good. Actually, I have no doubt that you are, because you were worthy of heaven already with all the things you did your life, there is no way that you are not looking down at us from under the wings of the Almighty.

Forgive us please if we hurt you in any way, something we did was not right, we did not help enough, we did not visit enough or did something wrong. Everything we did was to honor you and out of the utmost respect.

Send regards to Dad. I am going to miss my mother. We will all miss you.

Look kindly from above on your children, on your granchildren, on the whole of Jewish people.

May your soul be bound in the bond of life. Amen.

My brother also shared his obituary in honor of my mom. You can read it here A True Life Eshet Chayil Superhero