Remembering Edith Sobel

We mourn the loss of a dear friend

A Tribute to Edith Sobel

Spoken at the evening Minyan, on Thursday July 17th by Men’s Organization Co-President David LaDue


Hello everyone.


I’ve been asked to say a few words about our dear

friend Edith Sobel, and  I would be honored to.                           Edith with Eleanor Roosevelt

I think that Edith would not want us making a fuss and she certainly would not want me delaying evening prayers - so I will be as brief as I can.


Very simply I am heartbroken that Edith is no longer here with us, and I’m sure many of you feel exactly the same way.  She was a wonderful person - the kind of person we all aspire to be: thoughtful - caring of others - deeply committed - direct - intelligent and with a deep love of Judaism, the Jewish people, and for this shul.


Edith is a link to our history.  She and Sam attended Adath Israel on the Grand Concourse before the shul moved here to join with the Conservative Synagogue.  She gave us a strong sense of community and continuity.  When you first come to a shul there are a few people that you start to bond with – people that make you realize that the shul is a good place to be.  Edith was one of those people for me.


Edith’s view of the world and her place in it was very evident in the actions she took.  Edith was always thinking of others - and always making a difference on the broad scale and one by one.  I can talk about the way she helped me and my family, and I’m sure many of you have similar stories.


When my sons, Benny and Mitchell, were born, it was Edith who arranged for meals to be sent to Annette and me through members of the Chavurah.  Those first few weeks with a new baby - your life is turned upside down and it’s hard to manage things. Because of Edith we remembered to eat and we got good meals from our friends at CSAIR.  What a profound and practical way to bond the community together and to show you care to an overwhelmed family.  And it was not just for us - for many years Edith coordinated these meals for other CSAIR families with new babies as well as families with illness and families in mourning – profound and practical help for our members – just when they needed it most.


And it was Edith and Sam who started the Learning Disabilities Fund so that our Hebrew School could reach out to children with Special Needs and Learning Differences to provide Jewish education and learning.  This was a cause near and dear to Edith’s heart and to Sam’s, and of course to my family’s as well.  Thanks to the programs and the fund started by Edith and Sam (with their contributions and additional grants and funding from others) my son Benny was able to take full advantage of a very special Hebrew education here at CSAIR.  And it was our joy that Edith and Sam were able to see first hand the benefits of this program - at my son’s Benny's Bar Mitzvah last year. 


Edith always greeted Benny with obvious pleasure when she saw him at shul and never hesitated to tell him and us how good it made her feel to see his progress and how far he has come. She would always be on the lookout for programs Benny could benefit from – and she offered us encouragement every step of the way.


After davening today The Men’s Club will go on with our regular meeting as scheduled.  But there is only one topic we’re going to talk about today - our dear friend Edith Sobel.  Well go around the room sharing our thoughts and memories of this very special person.  And all of you are more than welcome to join us - men and women. We’ll be in the board room right after evening prayers.


And to our dear friend Sam Sobel - whatever sadness and loss we are feeling today, we can’t begin to imagine what you are going through.  I can only hope that you can take some small comfort in knowing that our thoughts and our prayers are with you at this difficult time and that we all share in this terrible loss.  Sam, we all stand with you and if there is anything any of us can do just let us know.


One of the last times I saw Edith in this building was at the Israel 60th birthday party.  She spoke to me with pride of the picture we had posted of her with Eleanor Roosevelt.  And as I’ve mentioned we will be sure to include that photo every year from now on at the Israel Independence day display here at shul.  It can be one of the many ways that Edith will stay alive in our hearts forever.  


And so, to conclude, we have been blessed these many years that Edith Sobel brought her special kind of class, dedication, drive and grace to this shul day after day - year after year.  She was a true and dear friend to all of us.  Her passing is a permanent and irreparable loss.  We will simply never be the same without her.  But we will never ever forget her.