Aaron Katz '12 Remembers His Grandmother in Tablet Magazine
Excerpted from Tabletmag.com:
“Five rows up from the bottom, five columns from the end.” It had been a number of years since I had last checked the yarhzeit plaque for my paternal grandmother, Eva Katz, at Congregation Beth Jacob of Beverly Hills, but I knew exactly where the plaque was. I would count five rows up from the bottom of the board and then five columns in from the end, just as I had since childhood, and there it was.
Sadly, my most recent visit to the main sanctuary in Beth Jacob was for the funeral of my aunt, my father’s sister, Anne Samson, who passed away in a horrific car accident at the end of August. As I walked out of shul, I made sure to stop by the yahrzeit board to locate my grandmother’s plaque. A small light bulb next to the plaque is customarily turned on during the month in which the yahrzeit falls, or during the holidays when Yizkor is recited. My grandmother passed away in the month of Iyar, and it was now Elul, weeks away from the next Yizkor recitation on Yom Kippur. The light should have been turned off, yet fittingly, the small yellow light beside her name was aglow.
Eva Gelberger was born in 1924 in a small town in eastern Hungary, and was the only member of her immediate family who survived Auschwitz. She married Emil Katz shortly after the war and settled in Los Angeles, where they raised my father and his two siblings. My father always shared with us his vivid, loving memories of his mother, who died from a brain tumor in 1967. My grandfather remarried the following year, to a relative of his, and I was fortunate to have close relationships with two full sets of grandparents growing up, as my maternal grandparents also lived nearby.
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