My Bobbe

My Bobbe is on my mind. I used to call her every Friday because she was on my mind. She gave me the family update. Her family was always on her mind and that's why she was always on my mind.

I was lucky enough to spend the last couple of months that she was with us, in her home. It was a home like no other home. You can feel the home, from the moment you walk in, the pictures all over the walls, there's about just enough space for a light switch. 

Even before you walk in. The door, it's about the same as every other one on the block. The garden, it's about the same as the others on the block, maybe a little nicer, but its only the same because she was the first on the block with that door, with that garden look. She was a pioneer. A pioneer not just of the home but also of her community. 

She lived in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. A small community that was slowly growing into a global community. Esther Goldman knew everyone in the community. There was a time when the Lubavitcher Rebbe (the leader of the Chabad movement)  was giving a talk, it was being televised and many people were coming in from all over. There was a security threat and the FBI was making sure that everything would run smooth. They asked Esther Goldman to stand by the door with them, just to make sure there wasn't a random woman waltzing in, because she knew everyone.

She told me of when she was getting married and the custom in our circles is for women to cover their hair. However it was not so popular at the time, so the Rebbe asked her specifically if she would (knowing that if Esther would cover her hair others would follow suit). Even though she was not planning on wearing one, she went to great lengths to find a sheitel (wig) that was on par with her standards. She spent a ton of money on a sheitel. One night at a wedding one of the elder men in the community was surprised at her because she was not covering her hair, and made a remark to her, she said "thank you, I take it as a compliment". He didn't realize that her hair was covered, thats exactly what she was going for. 

Here is another classic, what we now call 'a bobbe moment'. She was in the kitchen from where the world revolved around. It was a friday night and my grandfather was in the dining room, sharing a lesson from the weeks Torah portion. She was not able to hear all that was going on. Not wanting to miss a word of what was going on she shouted out "who we talking about?!", my grandfather answered "Avraham Avinu (Abraham our forefather)" she quipped "shucks! I thought it was someone I knew!".

I was lucky enough to capture some moments, even in her last months when she was not so well, she put on her brave face, upbeat tone and dished out whatever was on her mind. I'm gonna miss whatever was on her mind.

Today is her shloshim  (a month since her passing), and she will always be on my mind.

 

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(L) The woman with Bobbe is from Croatia, who was working on a Ph.D. about language and identity in the orthodox jewish community in Brooklyn   (R) on the left is Diana, who is an unbelievable domestic worker and on the right is Regina who had worked by bobbe about 13 years ago and came for a visit. She took pride in treating her  'goye's'  well

(L) The woman with Bobbe is from Croatia, who was working on a Ph.D. about language and identity in the orthodox jewish community in Brooklyn 

(R) on the left is Diana, who is an unbelievable domestic worker and on the right is Regina who had worked by bobbe about 13 years ago and came for a visit. She took pride in treating her 'goye's' well

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After updating bobbe on my friends poker championship winnings, bobbe has her bobbely advice

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This was the last photo I took, this was on her birthday (7 elul - August 13) and all the children and grandchildren were on a conference call, she was so on the ball and spoke to every person as if they were the only one on the phone.   When she was a little girl she came from Europe and started school in America, she was asked when her birthday was, not knowing there was an 'english date' she innocently said in yiddish  'a voch in elul'  and that's how we remember her birthday.

This was the last photo I took, this was on her birthday (7 elul - August 13) and all the children and grandchildren were on a conference call, she was so on the ball and spoke to every person as if they were the only one on the phone. 

When she was a little girl she came from Europe and started school in America, she was asked when her birthday was, not knowing there was an 'english date' she innocently said in yiddish 'a voch in elul' and that's how we remember her birthday.

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