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Sunday, November 07, 2010

For RivkA

At some point over the past week, the Jerusalem Post became aware of the outpouring of love on RivkA's blog (as well as on many other blogs around the world). So they contacted RivkA's family and asked for an obituary that they could run in this past Weekend's print and online editions.

It must be pointed out at this point, that from a stylistic and content standpoint, an obituary and a eulogy are two entirely different animals.

A bereaved person generally has no problem eulogizing a loved one because it pours from the heart. But because an obituary is supposed to provide factual information about the person who has passed, without being colored by the feelings that the author may have for the deceased, it is a task that few loved ones feel capable of tackling.

So the family turned to Jameel, a long-time family friend of Moshe and RivkA. And because he knew of my history with RivkA, he turned to me.

Jameel and I spoke at length about what we wanted the obituary to say, and he sent me over some of his ideas via email. In our early drafts, both of us fell victim to the urge to eulogize our friend, and as the drafts passed back and forth, we delicately stepped back from our friendships and feelings... and tried as best we could (mostly successfully) to present an honest picture of RivkA that would tell a stranger who she was, and what kind of mark she had made on the world during her short stay here.

As the drafts made the rounds and were augmented and edited, RikA's family also made suggestions on things we'd overlooked... and ultimately approved the final version. So that by the deadline given us by the Post, we were able to hand in something that we felt at least began to tell the story of this incredible person.

Needless to say, there was so much more that we would all have liked to say, but the Jerusalem Post gave us only one full page in their weekend magazine. I suppose our hope is that even so brief an outline might allow people who had never met RivkA to visit her blog and read all the wonderful things people were sharing there about her.

I think Jameel can vouch for the fact that her blog's site traffic supports this.

In the obituary we announced an initiative that has been launched by RivkA's friends (with the blessing of her family). I will be writing more about it in the coming days. But suffice it to say that it is a fitting tribute to her memory... and I think she would be very proud to have it as part of her legacy.

You can read what we wrote here.

[BTW, I'm told that Haaretz also ran a copy, but since I don't read them I can't say for sure]

Posted by David Bogner on November 7, 2010 | Permalink

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The JPost article has her blog address wrong. It is coffeeandchemo.blogspot.com, not coffeeandchemo.com.

Posted by: Michael Kopinsky | Nov 7, 2010 3:03:54 PM

Oh, wait. Apparently there's a redirect from the .com to the .blogspot.com. I tried it a few minutes ago and it didn't work then - I wonder why not.

Posted by: Michael Kopinsky | Nov 7, 2010 3:08:45 PM

Michael Kopinsky... I'm guessing it was a PEBKAC error. ;-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Nov 7, 2010 4:11:59 PM

Ha'aretz ran what was most definitely an obituary - no gray area as to if it was a eulogy or an obituary. However, it was obviously an amazing tribute to RivkA that her passing made both the left and right-wing newspapers!

Posted by: Noa | Nov 7, 2010 6:32:46 PM

I definitely noticed the difference between a obituary and a eulogy. The obit was well-written; the fact that RivkA got a whole page and a picture in the magazine section is an acknowledgement of the mark she left on this world.

And I thought it was cool that it was written by two fellow-bloggers.

Posted by: Baila | Nov 7, 2010 7:38:10 PM

I think that you and Jameel did a great job with the obituary.

Posted by: Raizy | Nov 7, 2010 7:48:12 PM

I was at the shiva house on Friday and saw how much RivkA's family -- especially her parents -- appreciated your piece. They were collecting multiple copies of it to bring back with them. יישר כוחכם

Posted by: a Living Nadneyda | Nov 7, 2010 8:46:42 PM

Any details about the g'mach appreciated! I'm about to wean my baby and would love to donate my pump (and other nursing supplies) to this cause. Please post details when you have them.
Yehi zichra baruch.

Posted by: Deva Katz | Nov 7, 2010 9:36:46 PM

Deva,
Please email the gemach at meneketrivka at gmail dot com and one of us will be in touch with you shortly. Thank you.

Posted by: Noa | Nov 7, 2010 10:00:08 PM

Oh no! I'm so sorry to hear the news. What a wonderful job you did writing that up.

Posted by: Tzipporah | Nov 8, 2010 9:23:52 PM

I did not put two and two together about who she was until I spoke to Moshe's cousin at my house last Shabbat. Of course I knew Moshe, but IO am not sure I met Rivka. What a devastating loss!

Posted by: Jordan Hirsch | Nov 9, 2010 8:16:55 PM

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