Shulamit Kustanowitz, a former managing editor of this newspaper who was known to all as Shuly, died on Saturday. (See the opposite page.) Although we cherish her memory as a “partner in crime,” as a lover of Israel and family and Jewish life and thought, as a warm and funny and brave and supremely kind human being, she was also a writer whose words deserve to be remembered.
Here, culled from her computer by her husband Al, are some of them.
In a May 27, 1988 editorial, she wrote, “Towards Israel’s existence, every Jew should feel the deepest responsibility.” And she called on all of us to “serve time in the Israel Defense Forces” or “work in such programs as â€¦ American Volunteers for Israel, which provides manpower in non-combat areas so that Israelis can … get back to running the country.
“But if not to fight, and if not to help, the least we can do is goâ€¦. To discover roots or deepen religious feeling. To be supportive both in spirit and finances. To show boldly that we are part of Am Yisrael, the People of Israel.”
And go she did, as much and as long as she was able. On a press trip some years ago in which she took part as the “Israel desk” of Travel Weekly magazine, she memorably pointed out irrigation hoses keeping the country green – as proud as if she had devised and installed them herself. (Travel Weekly, by the way, so esteemed her that the magazine sent her on a singular Israel trip – just Shuly and Al, with accommodations for her special health needs.)
Jerusalem was her love and care – among many loves and cares. For Yom Yerushalayim in 2000, she wrote, “Regardless of the level of observance, Jews are likely to find themselves speaking of Jerusalem at some point because it is and always has been our coreâ€¦.
“Some Jews here and in Israel don’t know why Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and his predecessors have called Jerusalem our eternal capitalâ€¦.
“But only when Jews control Jerusalem are the faithful of all religions permitted access to all its holy sites.”
In that same article, she noted, “The city’s destruction formulates our expression of mourning when leaving a home where shiva is being observed and visitors are obliged to say, ‘May you be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.'”
May Shuly’s mourners – which must include everyone who ever knew her – be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.