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Eulogies for those we have lost

At this painful and bewildering time many members of our community have lost family and friends.

To add to the sadness, it has not been possible to honour our beloved dead by gathering to share affectionate memories in the way they deserve, or to comfort the mourners as we would wish.

We can never fully remedy this, but to make up for it in some part we are sharing online some of the words spoken by relatives and friends.

Jonathan Polin for his father Paul Polin z"l

My Dad was the eldest of three children – Paul, Helen and Geoffrey. He was born in 1931 in Bethnal Green to Ada and Ralph. Only his brother, Geoffrey, survives him.

He lived on Brick Lane and his earliest memory was being taken to shul for Simchat Torah with candles, apples and flags. He had no idea who he was named after. In 1940 he was evacuated to Maidenhead but cried so much that he was sent home after only one day! He returned to live at the family home in the East End on the ground floor behind the sweet shop started by his grandparents. His dad was a cabinet maker (like Suzy's grandfather) (and many other Jewish emigres) and now I am proud that my son has developed those designer genes.

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Carmel and Daniel Eilon for their father Sam Eilon z"l

Professor Sam Eilon was an “economic migrant” who came to the UK to improve life for his family. This was not an easy decision for Sam since he was a second generation Jewish Palestinian born in Jaffa, as a result of his great great grandmother kidnapping her baby granddaughter (Sam’s future grandmother) in Odessa (beset with pogroms at the time) in the 1880s and taking her to Ottoman Palestine to force the rest of the family to follow.

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Sharon Cavendish for her mother Marie Cohen z"l

My mother, Miriam bat Shimon ha’Levy, Marie Cohen was born on 19th June 1926. Her mother Etty, nee Brookstein and father Shimon had at least 10 children, 8 of whom survived into adulthood. Mum was number 5. When she came along there were already 2 brothers and 2 sisters and her mum went on to have 3 more boys.

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Rivka Gottlieb for her father Michael Gottlieb z"l

My brother spoke beautifully at the funeral yesterday, and shared his words again last night when we met on Zoom with family. I’ve never had Yoni’s gift for humour - which I’m pretty sure he got from our dad - or his gift with words. So please bear with me.

These last few weeks are a bit of a blur. Days seem to merge into each other, and time seems to pass both faster and slower at the same time. It’s very strange - for everyone.

I was trying to remember when exactly was the last time I saw my dad. I didn’t know then, of course, it would be the last time.

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Sarah Miller for her father Victor Miller z"l

In the right-hand corner of our garden stands a huge oak tree. It stands tall and proud and right now it’s beginning to bud. There are signs of life emerging. Spring has arrived and particularly right now when we are living during this lockdown, there is time to stop and take notice of its beauty and listen to the bird song.

But this beauty hides another reality, the reality of unimaginable loss that is happening to thousands of families in this country and hundreds of thousands across the world. And this unimaginable has happened to us. We have lost our Oak tree… Dad … the man who has stood by our sides throughout our lives and this loss is excruciating.

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Laura Miller for her father Victor Miller z"l

This has been such a strange experience – to be apart from dad, and from one another, as he goes on his journey and yet to be so powerfully drawn together in our love and grief.
Thank you for sharing your stories, pictures and feelings about dad. It’s helping us and I hope it helps you too, to remember him with us. We’d love to continue to share memories and promise to do something fitting when we come out of quarantine.

For now, I just want to say something about dad as I experienced him, as his younger

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David Feldman for his uncle Louis Feldman z"l

Uncle Lou had without doubt the purist most beautiful of souls.  At these most difficult of times when we, none more so than today, are all touched by the impact of current events, we believe that life will never return to our previously polarized society.  Rather, we hope and believe that a better society will rise, one that is characterized by goodness, kindness, generosity, loyalty, selflessness, sweetness, friendliness, gentleness, sincerity, warmth and smiles.  These traits are very much the buzz words of the moment but each has been used on multiple occasions to describe Uncle Lou upon people reacting to his passing.


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Mon, 20 May 2024 12 Iyyar 5784