My grandmother used to say that good people die on Shabbos. That was certainly true of Shuly (Shulamit) Kustanowitz, who died on Saturday. Shuly was purely good. She was my first managing editor at the Standard, and I don’t believe that she ever thought ill of anyone – except Yasser Arafat.
My first week at the paper I was understandably nervous. Although I had edited and laid out copy at the Jewish Week, I had never before been responsible for putting out an entire newspaper. Shuly put the job in perspective for me. “First you put in a nice story,” she said, “then another nice story, then another nice story….”
I used to hear her talking, on the telephone, to her children after school. In a model of motherhood, she would gently guide them through their homework – all the while doing her own work for the paper.
When people asked her what a managing editor does, she would say, “I manage,” or sometimes “I manage the editor.” I was grateful to be “managed,” and I really missed that when she left to take a job as “the Israel desk” on a travel magazine.
In later years, as many people know, she was quite ill – but that did not stop her from writing a murder mystery and an occasional very pro-Israel oped for us.
We were all blessed to know her, and may her memory continue to be a blessing.