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01/28/2022 10:50:47 AM


At the end of last week, my Aunt Betty Shapiro, sister of my late mother, passed away in Boston, at the age of 105 and 1/2. Since I have the “podium” here, I would like to devote this column to her memory.

[I had hoped to be able to travel to Boston for the funeral this past Monday, and, indeed, it had always been assumed that when the time, came, I would conduct it.  Unfortunately, due to complications with arranging the PCR test for my return to Canada, despite my triple vaccine status, I had to decide against participating in person. At least, due to the modern miracle of zoom, I was able to attend virtually, and even to deliver a eulogy.]

My aunt was the last of 8 siblings. I am one of many cousins, most of whom, including myself, felt very close to her. Since she never married and had children, our bond was very strong.

As the winter Olympics begin shortly, here is a relevant story: in her professional life, she was for many years executive secretary in a company that, as a sideline, owned movie theatres.  Once, back in the 80’s, when my family was visiting Boston from Montreal, she gave us passes to see “Chariots of Fire.” That was the story of two English track stars in the 1924 Olympics. One of them was Jewish, the other Protestant.

The non-Jewish one quoted a powerful verse from Isaiah chapter 40: “HaShem gives strength to the weary. Young people might run and become tired, but those who trust in HaShem will have extra strength.” [I was disappointed that the Jewish fellow could not have thought of that!]

I believe that in my Aunt’s case, her trust in Hashem helped give her strength in her longevity. [Every Thursday night, up to the last Thursday of her life, I would call her and we would talk about the parasha.]

While participating in the zoom, I reflected on demographics. When growing up, most of my cousins lived near me, around Boston. Yet for the funeral, we had relatives zooming in from Montreal (me,) Jerusalem, Netanya, New Jersey, Florida, etc.  Very few have remained in Boston. The wandering Jew!

May her memory be for a blessing.

Shabbat shalom

Mon, June 27 2022 28 Sivan 5782