Sunday, I carried the coffin and helped fill the grave of my last remaining grandparent. My father’s mother died at the age of 98 on Simchat Torah. She was the youngest and the last living of 11 children born in Rumania. She lived those early years without running water or electricity. She emigrated to this country, married, raised a family and at her death leaves behind 8 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren. Two of those grandchildren have made Israel their home. Two work for the Jewish community. Of course, as a Jewish grandmother, she’s probably most proud of all the lawyers and doctors. All are Jewishly committed and connected. What a legacy!
While all of my siblings and cousins really never realized it while we were young, my grandparents had very, very little. After moving from their apartment in Chelsea, MA, they lived in a Jewish sponsored HUD building, just like our Riverview Towers. When my grandmother could no longer live on her own and her dementia got to be too powerful, she moved into a Jewish nursing home, just like our JAA. Her quality of care and her being in Jewish environments made her life meaningful and rewarding. It makes me so proud to be a donor to our Federation.
When I was early in my Federation career, I remember calling my grandmother to say hello. She told me that the Boston Federation had just solicited her for the campaign and asked her to go from $18 to $36, and she did so (if only my solicitations today were so easy). Remember, she had very little. She was so proud to make that increase and I think even more proud to share that fact with me. My grandmother stretching to give more is a lesson for all of us about what is really important in life.
Shabbat Shalom. May the name of Mollie Finkelstein (z”l) be forever as a blessing.