The Eulogizer: Remembering Debbie Friedman, arts figures and a Schindler Jew

The Eulogizer: Remembering Debbie Friedman, arts figures and a Schindler Jew

JERUSALEM ““ The Eulogizer is a new column (soon-to-be blog) that highlights the life accomplishments of famous and not-so-famous Jews who have passed away recently. Learn about their achievements, honor their memories, and celebrate Jewish lives well lived with The Eulogizer. Write to the Eulogizer at

Beloved folk singer, community activist Debbie Friedman

Debbie Friedman, whose folk-inspired melodies have become standards for thousands of Jewish communities and families worldwide, died Jan. 9 at 59. Friedman blended Jewish text and liturgy with folk, pop, and New Age tunes to create a modern liturgy that is used nowadays in summer camps, synagogues, communal organizations and homes.

One from Schindler’s List

Helen Rosner, who died Dec. 29, in Melbourne, at 86, was born in Krakow, Poland. She met her future husband, Leopold Rosner, in the Krakow Ghetto coffeehouse where he played accordion. He was sent to Plaszow labor camp, headed by the notorious Amon Goeth, on their wedding night in 1943. Goeth caught Helen smoking a cigarette one day and he pulled out his revolver, but an aide whispered to him that she was the wife of Rosner, the accordionist, and he let her live.

They were rescued by Oskar Schindler, who also had loved her husband’s music.

The Rosners moved to Melbourne in 1949 and later started Dayan Receptions, named after the Israeli Gen. Moshe Dayan.

Financier, art collector

Roy Neuberger, who went from the world of finance to financing the world of modern art, died Dec. 24 at his home in New York’s Pierre Hotel. He was 107.

Neuberger’s collection included hundreds of paintings and sculptures by 20th century masters such as Milton Avery, Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. He became one of America’s leading art patrons by donating art to more than 70 institutions and helping to establish the Neuberger Museum of Art at the State University of New York at Purchase in 1974.

Founding member of Juilliard Quartet

Raphael Hillyer, founding violist of the Juilliard String Quartet, one of the world’s premier chamber music ensembles, died Dec. 27 in Boston at 96. He also was a soloist and teacher known for the warmth and expressivity of his tone.

A 2006 article on the string quartet’s 60th anniversary quoted a 1958 review of the quartet’s performance at the Edinburgh Festival: “In unanimity, in control of tone, in rhythmic vitality, and in intonation, the quartet appeared unsurpassable.”

Former Yale Slifka Center director

Amy Aaland, who ran Yale’s Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life from 1996 to 2008, and was active in Jewish religious life at the university, died Jan. 3 at 47. She was eulogized as a true “aishet chayil,” “woman of valor.”

Prominent Israeli actor

Yosef Shiloach, a well-known Israeli actor who had major roles in classic Israeli comedies including “Alex Holeh Ahava” and Hagiga B’Snuker (“Snooker”), died Jan. 2 at 69. Shiloach’s place in Israeli cinema was cemented in 2009 when he received a lifetime achievement award at the Jerusalem Film Festival.

JTA Wire Service

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