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Rachel Ariella Askenazi
Rachel will celebrate her Bat Mitzvah on June 20, 2009 at Temple B’nai Torah in Bellevue.
Rachel is the daughter of Mary and Adi Askenazi of Sammamish and the sister of Michael. Her grandparents are Esther and Jacob Askenazi of Mercer Island and the late William and Madeline Dacey.
Rachel is completing the 7th grade at Evergreen Junior High. Her interests include modeling, sewing, school, and the flute.
Courtney celebrated her Bat Mitzvah on May 30, 2009 at Temple B’nai Torah in Bellevue.
Courtney is the daughter of Debbie Salzman and Marc Hagan of Bellevue and Dr. Steven and Julie Salzman of Bellevue and the sister of Ryan Salzman, Amanda Hagan and Courtney Noonan. Her grandparents are Helene Salzman of New Jersey and Virginia Noonan of California and the late Dr. Morris Salzman and the late George Anthony Noonan.
Courtney is in the 7th grade at Odle Middle School. Her interests include dance, technology, her friends and MySpace.
Natalie Sara Frank
Natalie will celebrate her Bat Mitzvah on June 13, 2009 at Temple B’nai Torah in Bellevue.
Natalie is the daughter of Rona and Alex Frank of Bellevue and the sister of Yael and Meravi. Her grandparents are Anita and Dan Frank of Afula, Israel, Ida Lazar of Tel Aviv, Israel and the late Dr. Mark Lazar.
Natalie is in the 8th grade at Highland Middle School. Her interests include chess, running and playing the viola. For her mitzvah project, Natalie is playing Jewish music on her viola at the Stroum JCC and a local retirement home.
Abbi Evanna Weiss
Abbi will celebrate her Bat Mitzvah on June 20, 2009 at Herzl-Ner Tamid on Mercer Island.
Abbi is the daughter of Gary and Caryn Weiss of Sammamish and the sister of Adina. She is the granddaughter of Bob and Becky Minsky of Mercer Island and Jim Winters of Redmond.
Abbi is completing the 7th grade at the Jewish Day School. She is passionate about fashion and enjoys playing volleyball and basketball. Abbi’s mitzvah project is to sponsor Birthday-Angels.org, which enables underprivileged children in Israel to celebrate their birthdays with a special party kit.
Marissa celebrated her Bat Mitzvah on May 9, 2009 at Herzl-Ner Tamid Conservative Congregation on Mercer Island.
Marissa is the daughter of Kathleen Goldstein of Bellevue and the late Jeffrey Goldstein. She is the sister of Shamber. Her grandparents are Nathana Berman of Tamarac, Fla., Ken Goldstein of Easton, Mass., Nora Madden of Hudson, Fla. and the late John Madden.
Marissa is in the 8th grade at Odle Middle School. Her hobbies include music, acting, playing guitar, texting, watching movies, traveling, and hanging out with her friends. For her mitzvah project, Marissa organized a book drive to collect books for donation to local children’s charities.
Madison Kaylee Strauss
Madison will celebrate her Bat Mitzvah on May 16, 2009 at Temple B’nai Torah in Bellevue.
Madison is the daughter of Kimberly Ann Campbell and Richard Aaron Strauss of Bellevue and the sister of Campbell Jacob Strauss. She is the granddaughter of Natalie Strauss of Seattle.
Marissa is in the 7th grade at Chinook Middle School. Her hobbies include playing soccer, reading, swimming, going on vacations, and skiing. For her mitzvah project, Marissa gathered donations of used children’s books to benefit schools in the Bellevue School District where 30 percent or more of the student body qualifies for free or reduced-price lunches.
Micah Joseph Zimmerman
Joel and Sarah Zimmerman announce the birth of their son Micah on March 27, 2009 at Overlake Hospital in Bellevue. Micah was 20 inches long and weighed 7 lbs., 13 oz.
Micah is the grandson of Chuck and Ellen Rubin of Bellevue, Peter Zimmerman of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. and Stephanie Zimmerman of High Point, N.C.
Micah’s first name was taken from his great-grandfather, Mickey Schwartz, and his middle name from his great-grandfather, Joseph Zimmerman.
Oliver will celebrate his Bar Mitzvah on May 23, 2009 at Herzl-Ner Tamid Conservative Congregation on Mercer Island.
Oliver is the son of Richard and Barrie Galanti of Mercer Island and the brother of Sam and Rachel. His grandparents are Al and Ruth Sanft of Seattle and Sam and Ann Galanti of Atlanta, Ga.
Oliver is in the 7th grade at the Jewish Day School. His interests include football, basketball, lacrosse, wakeboarding, fly fishing, cooking and hanging out with his friends and family. For his mitzvah project, Oliver will donate a portion of his Bar Mitzvah gifts to the campership fund at Jewish Family Service in order to send kids to camp that would not otherwise be able to attend. He will also purchase new sports equipment for the Snohomish YMCA and Rainier Vista Boys and Girls Club.
Maya Clare Neuman
Maya will become a Bat Mitzvah on May 2, 2009 at Herzl-Ner Tamid Conservative Congregation on Mercer Island.
Maya is the daughter of Nissim and Judy Neuman and the younger sister of Daniel and Adam. Her grandparents are Norman Zall of San Marcos, Calif. and the late Norma Zall and Isaac and Miriam Neuman.
Maya is in the 7th grade at Islander Middle School. Her interests include fashion, music, animals, playing league soccer and basketball, spending time in Israel with her relatives, hanging out with friends and family, and attending camp Solomon Schechter. For her mitzvah project, she created “Maya’s Mitzvah Marathon,” which includes her participation in a variety of volunteer projects throughout the year of 5769.
Jessica Lindsay Libman
Jessica celebrated her Bat Mitzvah on April 25, 2009 at Temple B’nai Torah in Bellevue.
Jessica is the daughter of Shelley and Glenn Libman of Kirkland and the sister of Cara. Her grandparents are Sandra Vogel, Ben Vogel, and Goldie and Dave Libman, all of Montreal, Quebec.
Jessica is in the 7th grade at Finn Hill Junior High. Her interests include reading, hanging out with friends, and trying new sports. For her mitzvah project, Jessica is collecting toys and books for children in Hof Ashkelon and Kiryat Malachi, Israel.
Samuel Nathan Apple
Eric and Dr. Allison Lowy Apple announce the birth of their son, Samuel Nathan, on April 3, 2009. He weighed 6 lbs., 1 oz. at birth.
He is the brother of Benjamin Apple. His grandparents are Bob and Rita Lowy of Redmond and Richard and Nadine Apple of Renton. He is the great grandson of Marvin Apple of Bellevue and the late Natalie Apple, Martin and Anne Landweber of Boynton Beach, Fla., and the late Herbert and Mildred Lowy.
Zimel M. Berenshtein
Zimel will celebrate his Bar Mitzvah on April 18, 2009 at Temple B’nai Torah in Bellevue.
Zimel is the son of Uri and Anna B. Berenshtein of Mill Creek and the brother of Mira. His grandparents are Rakhill Bekman and Roland Slasor of Mill Creek, Frida Berenshtein of Nahariya, Israel, the late Miron Bekman, and the late Edward Berenshtein.
Zimel is in the 7th grade at Heatherwood Middle School. His interests include basketball, school, piano and tae kwon do. For his mitzvah project, he is working to raise support and awareness for Friends of the Israel Defense Forces.
Harris celebrated his Bar Mitzvah on March 14, 2009 at Temple Beth Am in Seattle.
Harris is the son of Laura Stusser-McNeil and KC McNeil of Seattle and the brother of Coco and the exchange brother of Julia Reuter. His grandparents are Helen Stusser of Seattle and the late Pat Stusser and Jo McNeil of Seaview and the late Bob McNeil.
Harris is in the 7th grade at the Seattle Academy. His hobbies include skiing, biking, school sports, and hanging out with friends and family. For his mitzvah project, Harris has been an ongoing volunteer at the Jewish Family Service food bank.
Joshua will celebrate his Bar Mitzvah on March 28, 2008 at Congregation Beth Shalom in Seattle.
Joshua is the son of Mindy Cohen and Barry Kahn of Mukilteo and the brother of Rachel and David. His grandparents are Gay Kahn of Bergenfield, N.J., Gilda Cohen of Shaker Heights, Ohio and the late Theodore Cohen.
Joshua is in the 7th grade at the Evergreen School. His interests include baseball, reading and computers.
Benjamin Levy and Meredith Weinberg
Benjamin and Meredith were married on the second night of Hanukkah on December 22, 2008 (the date of Benjamin’s parents’ 35th wedding anniversary) at Beit Shmuel in Jerusalem, overlooking the walls of the old city. The ceremony was officiated by Rabbi Daniel Landes, rosh yeshiva of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies.
Benjamin is the son of Michael and Cheri Levy of Bellevue. His grandparents are Saul and the late Yetta Shapiro and Lillian and the late David Levy. He is a graduate of Northwest Yeshiva High School and George Washington University, and is currently a student in the Educators Program at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies.
Meredith is the daughter of Suzan Feldman of Philadelphia, Pa. She is also a graduate of George Washington University and is currently a student at Hebrew University, pursuing a master’s degree in community leadership and philanthropy studies.
The couple currently resides in Jerusalem and will be returning to North America this summer.
Jordan Max Sloan
Jordan will celebrate his Bar Mitzvah on March 14, 2009 at Herzl-Ner Tamid Conservative Congregation on Mercer Island.
Jordan is the son of Marc and Michelle Sloan of Bellevue and the brother of Joshua. His grandparents are Ronald and Devorah Weinstein of both Kirkland and Rancho Mirage, Calif., and Matthew and Sharon Sloan of Long Beach, Calif.
Jordan is in the 7th grade at the Jewish Day School. He enjoys soccer, basketball, skiing, chocolate, playing video games, traveling with family and friends, hanging out with his friends, listening to music, and playing with his dog, Sheldon.
Kevin Minsky and Natasha Sacouman
Kevin and Natasha are pleased to announce their engagement. A wedding is planned in the summer of 2009.
Natasha is the daughter of Jim and Leslie Sacouman of Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Natasha received her doctorate in Sociology from the University of Maryland. She is an adjunct professor at Tacoma Community College and Pacific Lutheran University.
Kevin is the son of Bob and Becky Minsky of Mercer Island. He is a graduate of Mercer Island High School and the University of Washington. He received his Juris Doctorate from Syracuse University Law School. He is a senior attorney in Microsoft’s Corporate and Regulatory Affairs Department in Redmond.
The couple resides in Sammamish.
Avi Kumin and Isabel Friedenzohn
Avi and Isabel were married August 24, 2008 in West Bloomfield, Mich., the hometown of the bride, at Congregation Beth Ahm.
Isabel is the daughter of Elias and Cecelia Friedenzohn of West Bloomfield, formerly of Chile.
Isabel holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in public health from the University of Michigan. Through the non-profit Academy Health, she serves as the deputy director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s State Coverage Initiatives program and consults with state policy leaders to develop progressive healthcare policies.
Avi is the son of Linda Kumin of Mercer Island and the late Ivri Kumin.
He was a valedictorian of his Mercer Island High School class of 1992 and graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Brandeis University. Avi received his LL.D. in 2000 from Yale University Law School, and is a partner in the employment law firm of Katz, Marshall and Banks in Washington, D.C.
Avi and Isabel live in Washington, D.C.
Joshua celebrated his Bar Mitzvah on September 6, 2008 at Bikur Cholim Machziday Hadath in Seattle.
Joshua is the son of Jerry and Carol Strassman of Seattle and the brother of Danny, Aaron, and Sarah. His grandparents are Audrey Bergman of Spokane and the late Bradley Bergman, the late Luba Klarfeld, and the late Herman Klarfeld.
Joshua is in the 7th grade at Seattle Hebrew Academy. He plays on the SHA basketball team and is a sports enthusiast.
Vienna Emily Scolnick
Eric and Aubree Scolnick of Issaquah announce the birth of their daughter Vienna on January 20, 2009 at Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland. She weighed 7 lbs., 15 oz. and was 20-1/2 inches long.
Vienna’s grandparents are Larry and Myra Rothenberg of Redmond and Gary and Ann Scolnick of Boulder, Colo.
Her middle name is Emily, after her paternal great-grandmother.
Galya Dorit Simonds Kolodner
Galya will celebrate her Bat Mitzvah on Feb. 14, 2009 at Herzl-Ner Tamid Conservative Congregation on Mercer Island. She will read from Parshat Yitro.
Galya is the daughter of Deborah Simonds and Stuart Kolodner and the sister of Nadav and Zohar. Her grandparents are Sarah and Meyer Kolodner of Philadelphia, Pa. and the late Filbert and Doris Simonds.
Galya is in the 7th grade at the Jewish Day School. For her mitzvah project, she is raising money and swimming for World Swim against Malaria, to which friends and family can contribute at http://www.worldswimagainstmalaria.com/batmitzvahproject.
Gavin Max and Dylan Grant Mirsky
Jessica and Darrell Mirsky announce the arrival of their sons Gavin and Dylan on Nov. 17, 2008 at Swedish Hospital in Seattle. Dylan weighed 3 lbs., 10 oz. and was 16 inches long. Gavin weighed 3 lbs., 7 oz. and was 15-1/2 inches long.
Dylan and Gavin are the brothers of Hannah Rose. Their grandparents are Hazel and Alan Mirsky of Seattle, Peter Shapiro of Seattle and the late Gail G. Shapiro. The brothers are both named after their maternal grandmother, Gail.
Eileen Mintz made everyone feel as if they were her best friend. It’s the sentiment many people conveyed at her funeral Monday. Mintz died of cancer of the gall bladder on Feb. 1, 2009. She was 66.
“Sometimes you meet somebody and there’s this connection that you make pretty quickly,” said Rita Lowy, a friend of Eileen’s for 32 years, who with her husband Robert, spoke at Eileen’s funeral. “We made that connection.”
The two, who had met at their daughters’ gymnastics class at the Jewish Community Center, attended each other’s lifecycle events — and in Eileen’s case, helped in planning those events — and spoke on the phone every day, Lowy said.
“I can’t imagine a lifecycle event without her, because she was always there and always suggesting this or that,” Lowy said. “When my daughter got married, she arranged to have the cake made for us, exactly to my daughter’s specifications…. If somebody was having a baby, she would make the shower.”
It was that sense of organization and her love of making people happy that pushed her to start a public relations business centered around her greatest passion: Food. Her first gig came in the early ’90s at the Sorrento Hotel, where she was hired on the spot.
“When she got the job at the Sorrento, we were very proud of her,” Lowy said. “We realized how good she was at her job very quickly. The chef just fawned all over her.”
Mintz’s client list included the well-known Salty’s restaurant and her work expanded into a column she wrote for the Mercer Island Reporter. Mary Grady, editor of the Reporter, said that even as Eileen became more ill, she still made her deadlines.
“We thought we should say, ‘Hey, Eileen, it’s okay…you need to take care of yourself, whenever you have time it’s fine. We’ll work around you,’” Grady said. “We quickly learned she needed her schedule, she needed us to rely on her, and of course she’d get it done, of course it would be perfect and wonderful.”
Grady could always sense Eileen’s enthusiasm and personality in her writing, and how the flavors of what she was tasting came through to the readers.
The column “was just such a great addition to our paper,” Grady said. Eileen’s last column appeared in December.
But her love of food — and her ability to prepare it — began long before it became a profession.
“I remember being in first grade and having the teacher turn on the TV,” her son, Dan Mintz, said. There was his mother doing a cooking demonstration on KCTS. She also hosted TV segments called “Cheap Eats” in which she would find good restaurant values around town.
And, added Dan, when his mother entered cooking contests — which she did often — she would usually win.
“She won several awards,” he said.
She also won a microwave oven from an appearance on “Hollywood Squares,” an introduction to Frankie Avalon in an Annette Funicello look-a-like contest, and a husband who adored her up to the end.
Eileen DuBonne grew up in Seattle’s Laurelhurst neighborhood, was confirmed at Temple De Hirsch, and graduated from Roosevelt High School. She spent a year at the University of Washington before she met her husband, Dave Mintz. They married when she was 19 and had the first of their three children, Dan, when she was 20.
Family always came first for Eileen, whether it was being there when the kids arrived home from school or, later on, spending time one-on-one with her five grandchildren.
“She was just a great mom to all of us, always very involved with family,” said Dan. “You didn’t always know that because you’d see her so much in the community.”
As her kids grew older and got married, she built special relationships with her daughters-in-law as well.
“Eileen never had an unkind word for anyone. She looked for the good in everything,” wrote Elaine and Patti Mintz in a letter read at Eileen’s funeral. “She didn’t like controversy and would do anything to avoid it. She was the glue in our extended family as well as a problem solver. Anyone who ever had the pleasure of meeting Eileen always walked away from her feeling good, because she just had that ‘magic’ in her to make everyone she came across feel special.”
Her community involvement included being a founding member of Congregation Beth Shalom and several stints on the board of Herzl-Ner Tamid Conservative Congregation, as well as being active in ORT and Hadassah.
“As a Jew, Eileen inspired us to believe in the beauty of the Jewish people,” Rabbi Jay Rosenbaum of Herzl-Ner Tamid told the standing-room-only crowd at Eileen’s funeral. “As a human being, she inspired us to believe in the beauty of life and to be as passionate and as enthusiastic as she was. And, because Eileen believed anything was possible, she was able to convince us to stretch ourselves, too.”
Rabbi Rosenbaum said that he too had felt as if he were one of her best friends.
“When Eileen walked into a room, everything came alive,” he said. “She was so full of enthusiasm for life, she was so gloriously optimistic about everything. She was so passionate about everything. You could not help but catch her spirit.”
Eileen gave her time to many different local charities outside of the Jewish community as well, and would often persuade the restaurant contacts she’d made to pitch in with donations of food and money.
“For Eileen the greatest achievement she could imagine was to help someone else succeed,” Rosenbaum said. “It’s no wonder Eileen did so well in public relations. As talented and gifted as Eileen was herself, she took even greater pleasure in mentoring others.”
Eileen is survived by her husband Dave; sister Lucille; brother Dick; brother-in-law Joe; children Dan (Elaine), Robert (Patti) and Gina (Paul) Benezra; five grandchildren; and many friends.
— Joel Magalnick
Justin Alec Weisbly
Justin celebrated his Bar Mitzvah on Jan. 24, 2009 at Temple B’nai Torah in Bellevue.
Justin is the son of Peggy and Jack Weisbly of Woodinville and the brother of Jessica Nicole. His grandparents are Nancy and Ralph Ward of Woodinville, David Weisbly and the late Vivian Weisbly.
Justin is in the 7th grade at the Overlake School. His hobbies include baseball, soccer, basketball, golf, reading, skiing and gaming. For his mitzvah project, he is doing community service with inner-city schools in Seattle.
I only knew Gorgieh Hemmat, my husband’s grandmother, for 13 years. In the perspective of a lifetime that spanned more than a century, that’s a small amount of time to get to know someone. But in those years that Gorgieh let me be a part of her life, I learned enough about her to know what sort of person I hope to become, should I live to be even half her 106 years. For in a life marked early by adversity that might have hobbled her, Gorgieh Hemmat rose above it and lived a life of dignity.
Her actions in her lifetime touched many, and her example is the mirror I shall hold for myself until the end of my days.
Gorgieh, or Grandma, as everyone called her, was born on Rosh Hashanah in either 1901 or 1902 in Baghdad under Ottoman rule, at a time when Jewish life there thrived. Birth certificates were not used, so her exact year of birth remains a mystery. However, family sleuthing has placed her age at the time of her death at either 106 or possibly 107 years old. Her ketubah indicates that she married in the year 1921, and we gather from stories that she was 18 at the time of her wedding. Her younger brother, Sylman Habousheh, who lives in Israel, is documented with the Israeli government as being 104 years old. She remembered his birth occurring when she was 3 or 4.
So we know she lived to at least 106. From a time when she traveled from Baghdad by donkey to a time when computer processors can be the thickness of a strand of donkey hair, she had seen more change than most ever will.
When Gorgieh was quite young, her mother died giving birth to twins, who also died. Soon thereafter, her father died, and she became an orphan. Relatives in Iran took her in, and there she lived until she married Soleyman Hemmat. She had three children, outliving two of them. Her only daughter, Houri, died at 19 of a heart condition, and her eldest son, Naim, died in 1990 from cancer. Her youngest child, Amir Houshang (Harry), has proved a most devoted son, caring for his mother since she was widowed more than 30 years ago. When Amir owned S&H Drugs in Bellevue, Gorgieh lived in her own apartment next door. She would often bring him lunch at the pharmacy, and then sit behind the front counter for hours, watching customers come and go, never missing a thing.
She was fluent in Iraqi-Arabic, Farsi and French and knew some Hebrew, but even after living in America since fleeing Iran over 30 years earlier, she never learned English fluently. However, she always managed to communicate with everyone around her. Her grandson — my husband Jeff — and I would communicate with her by miming and cobbling sentences together with his patchy Farsi, my French and Grandma’s few English words. Her Farsi for “What’s new with you?” and “What is that all about?” have embedded themselves in our lexicon, so that even our toddler knows what I mean when I inquire, “Chi chi?”
And while her generosity and perseverance were two characteristics of hers that influenced many, what made the greatest impression on me was her sense of dignity. From being orphaned and then raising her children in the Jewish ghetto of Isfahan, Iran, where Jews were not even allowed to drink from the cup at the public well, her sense of dignity remained intact, perhaps even fortified by such circumstances.
Gorgieh would hire underprivileged or orphaned Jewish girls from the ghetto as servants. These girls, destined for destitution, were brought into her home, cared for, and lived well-fed and safe lives. Unheard of at the time, she had them sit at the table with her family, thereby giving them their dignity and teaching her children by example. When the young women became of marrying age, Gorgieh would give them suitable dowries to find them good husbands, not wanting them to live their entire lives in servitude. Most descendents of these servants she helped now live in Israel or the U.S. One of the former servant girls lives in California, and called Gorgieh weekly to keep her abreast of her three sons — all dental surgeons living in Los Angeles.
Although she enjoyed a life of privilege with her adopted family and her husband, she herself lived quite modestly. Yet her acts of generosity and compassion transformed the destinies of so many young girls, granting them better, more dignified lives.
She was loved by all who knew her, and enjoyed the company of extended family, as well as Persian immigrants who would come and visit with her in Farsi. She enjoyed her five grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren, and crocheted blankets for each one — even those who had not yet been born.
Her mental acuity remained sharp until her last days. During our Pesach seder 11 years ago, she recited the Four Questions — though she was far from the youngest person at the table.
After she suffered her first stroke 10 years ago, she could no longer live in her apartment. She moved to a nursing home, and even in an environment that can sometimes compromise individual dignity, she managed to hold on to all of hers. Often asking her son, Harry, for dollar bills to give to the attendants and nursing staff, she treated them all respectfully. Every morning she would be given two hard-boiled eggs for breakfast, and she would always save one, pressing it into the hands of an attendant with the thought that perhaps they could feed a hungry child at home with it.
In a life that spanned over a hundred years, distinguished by generosity, compassion and perseverance, Gorgieh Hemmat lived with a sense of her own dignity, and believed that all should be granted the same. She lived by that belief, and may we all hold ourselves up to her example.
— Dani Hemmat
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