We’re here today to mourn the passing but also to cherish the life of Renee Gewirtzman Glassner, beloved mother, sister, grandmother, great-grandmother and cherished friend in our community.
This Shabbos, we will read a sedrah of the Torah Shelach Lecha, in which twelve scouts go out to look at the land of Israel. Ten come back and say there are giants in the land and we will look like grasshoppers and we cannot conquer the land. We should go back to Egypt.
But the other two scouts, Joshua and Kalev, acknowledge that there are giants and high walled cities in the land, but they insist that with the help of G-d, the Israelites will be able to defeat them. Fast forward thirty-nine years. Those two scouts are now the leaders of the people and Joshua sends out two spies to see the land. They come back and say that the Israelites will be able to accomplish the conquest.
What had changed in those 39 years? The giants were still as big and the walls were still just as high. What was different was that those two scouts, like Joshua and Caleb before them, believed in G-d and believed that the future would be bright.
Renee went through so much in her early life but like Joshua and Caleb, she was someone who knew how to remember the past and talk about the giants and the high walls but to go on and build a wonderful life, with a wonderful husband and three beautiful children. Renee was the daughter of Jacob & Anna Gewirtzman and the sister of Irving and David Gewirtzman. The Nazis came to her town in Poland in 1939, a town where her family had lived for centuries. She was forced to live in a ghetto and then was forced to live in hiding for over two years. But despite horrors and terrors, she did live on. And that is the greatness of her life, that even though she was a witness to the worst of humanity, and she told countless people in our community about her experiences so that we should not forget, this brave and intelligent woman made a beautiful life. She was a teacher and with her wonderful knowledge of several languages always connected to so many people.
She was the devoted wife of Marty Glassner, a very distinguished professor of geography and a wonderful friend of many of us in our community. He loved and adored her and she loved and respected him.
Their three daughters, Shulamis, Karen and Aleta, have brought wonderful nachos. Even though they live in Israel, Renee always knew everything that was going on in the family and talked about them all, all the time. We thank Karen for everything she has done out of love and loyalty and devotion, and Aleta has been so close to her mother and so dear.
We mourn today with Shulamis and Shlomo, Aleta, and Karen and Richard.
She was the cherished grandmother of Sara, Moshe, Tova, Bracha, Henny, Shira, Ahuva, Leah, Benjamin, & Marisa. We mourn today with her 21 Great-Grandchildren.
She was a righteous woman. May she rest in peace. Let us say Amen.