We’re here today to mourn the passing of a wonderful woman, Dorothy Hurwitz, beloved mother, sister, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend. Dorrie was born and raised here in New Haven, graduated Commercial high school, and worked as a bookkeeper at Presidential Management and as a secretary for B’nai Jacob. They got married on October 30, 1937 and were married for 62 years until Al passed away in 1999. In sickness and in health, in very happy times and in the most tragic times, they were always together, always supportive. Together they raised their wonderful children Amy Martin Reva and Sam. Alison and Laura became her daughters, too.
She was best known as Grandma Dorrie. She had a lot of wonderful grandchildren: Eva, the late Paul, Ora, Joel, Nathaniel, Scott, Ariel, Indra, Nevua, Aliyah, Hannah, Jacob, Rachel, Sarah, Aliza and Mikie. And we are happy to mention her beautiful great-grandchildren Jonah Reva and Sophia.
We mourn today with her beloved brother Jack, who is now the last of the nine children. Dorrie is predeceased by Ann, Ethel, Matilda, Gertrude, Philip, Meyer and Israel, and we remember all of them with affection today.
What was Dorrie Hurwitz all about? It’s really very simple: She was about family. This is a wonderful extended family, a family in the best sense of the word, and I would say that you’re all very lucky if I thought that luck had anything to do with it. It did have a lot to do with Grandma Dorrie. She was always trying to figure out how to get the family together and keep them close. She was honest about everyone, she saw them as they were, and she loved them anyway. She’d say, “I wouldn’t sell you for a million dollars but I wouldn’t buy another one for a nickel.” Al was the one who basked in having everyone around, but it was Dorrie who pulled it all off, sent the plane tickets, prepared, cleaned, planned.
Everyone has so many wonderful memories. Most of the memories have to do with food. When we talked last night, the memories were so mouth-watering that I walked away dreaming of my next five-course meal. She was not only a wonderful cook but also a fine cook, making specialties that she’d learned from her Austrian mother. She made a famous strudel. She’d prepare different foods for all of the different kids and Al and this is a family filled with very particular eaters. If you said the food was too hot she’d reply that it was made with fire. If you compared the potato kugel you were eating to one you’d had before, she’d say that this one is better because you have it now. If there were a little left, she’d say that it was not enough to save but too little to throw away. If you didn’t like the food, she’d try to sell it by calling it a delicacy. She took food to Reva; she made food every night when Laura was pregnant with the triplets and took it over to Bethany.
The memories are of schlepping to Indian Wells and having it all together, of barbecues of East Gate. You’d go to help her clean up and she’d already done everything by herself. Her housekeeping skills were amazing. There was no dust on the leaves of her plants. And yet she’d be down on the floor playing toys with the kids. A grandchild could cause trouble but she’d still reward them and they’d leave her house with a prized trinket. A grandchild could cause trouble but she’d still reward them and they’d leave her house with a prized trinket.
She liked order, but she was patient with others. She did it all. She never seemed to get tired. Her energy was inspiring.
She was very strong through all of the tragedies. You never saw her falter. She lost two beloved children and a beloved grandchild and she’d keep going. No one should have to go through that kind of pain. I know a lot of people who don’t know what sadness is but complain all the time about their lives. They should learn from Dorrie. I was very moved to hear family members say that her home was a beacon of light during the dark times, that it was the one place that was consistent, that it was comforting that her home was a continuation of the past.
She was a classy lady in her own quiet and refined way. She dressed impeccably. She had an eye for the right kind of clothes. She had a classic taste in clothes. If you couldn’t wear it ten years from now, she said, don’t buy it in the first place. She never went out without looking right.
We will remain inspired by her energy, her strength, her quietly profound sense of the world, her love of family,
Last night when we were all talking, little Reva kissed little Sophia. In that tender, loving kiss, I felt the family going on into the next generation. Take your mourning and channel it into kisses like that, and Grandma Dorrie will indeed rest in peace.