Barry and I travelled to Florida on monday to get to Roby's funeral on Tuesday.
Bernice told me I was on the list of people Roby requested to speak at his funeral. I was very moved. That meant he knew I would come. It was heart-wrenching listening to Ellen and Jeff and the grandchildren get up and talk about their memories and all the time they spent with Roby. Barry + I did not get to spend that much time with him but still we felt his love even as far away as Boston. He was such a dedicated correspondent, he sent articles and clippings to everyone it seems - even the Rabbi commented on that....."did he send articles to everyone in the room ? It seems he did."
The glowing terms that everyone used to describe their connection with him.........such an extraordinary man, an intellectual, a great mind, learning right up to the end........never stop learning.......and what came through for me especially, a very loving man. He was extraordinary. This is a great loss.
Julian Slane, Ellen's son came from Seattle. He spoke along with Ellen + Jeff and the grandchildren, Jocelyn, Jeremy and Erin. Julian spoke for his sister Amber who couldn't make it. She wrote about the loss of Grandpa Sandler on her blog, Amber's Adventures. My cousin Ellen wrote about her father on her blog, lifeisjustabowlofchicken; scroll down to January 6, Remembering my Dad, Robert Sandler, 1923-2010 + Hollywood Beach, January 9, 2011.
After the funeral we went to the cemetery and after that back to the Temple to begin sitting Shiva, eat, and attend the afternoon service, Mincha. We sat at the Sandler cousins' table with Ellen and Robert, Jeff and Debbie and Julian. We hadn't seen each other in over 40 years. I had never met Robert and Julian Slane or Debbie, Jeff's wife. This was a historic occasion for the Sandler family. Unfortunately, due to the occasion, no photos were taken.
12.10.10, Friday morning, 10:00 a.m. I got a call from Bernice telling me Roby had a stroke the night before. The last time I wrote on this blog was August 19th, the day Robert Slane took the picture of Roby + Ellen. ......where they both are smiling into the camera..........
Barry + I were scheduled to go to a travel agent and book flights to visit Roby and Bernice on January 4th -11th; I had booked a reservation at Kendall Hotel + Suites, less than ten minutes away from where they lived. I was so looking forward to seeing him, spending time with him and going through a lot of his published articles and work on the blog together. That was the plan. We did not book any flights today.
12.13.2010, monday afternoon; "relentless grey' day here........"all the leaves are brown + the sky is grey..."
more bad news about Roby; I just pulled out all the pictures of him I could remember - where he looks fabulous !
This has to be the toughest week for the Sandler family. All week long I exchanged emails with Bernice and Ellen who, in spite of being at the hospital round the clock, found the time and energy to let me know what was going on with Roby and for that, I am very grateful.
12.17.10, Shabbos, Friday night, Roby passed away at around midnight.
I feel a big hole, an empty space.......pain.......my uncle Roby is gone............shock......sadness.........
Barry and I have booked flights to Miami for Monday, December 20th.
The last time I saw Roby was at Barry's wedding and the time before that was in 1990 when I visited Roby and Bernice from Berkeley, California.
I had an opening at Brookline Town Hall for my art exhibit along with three other artists. This is my first juried show. Many friends of mine came for the opening, Bill and Bruce and Dorothy, Mimi (who took these beautiful photos, thank you !), Riva, Lena, Barbara and Irma. I was delighted to see them ! Barry came ........it turned out very well. My abstract paintings and paper bag drawings were very well received. Click to see individual paintings and paperbag drawings.
Ellen's husband Robert took the picture when they visited Roby and Bernice last sunday. Roby has color, a tan ! Ellen too. And those smiles........please read all about the Miami Visit at Ellen's blog, Life is Just a Bowl of Chicken.
I talked to Roby yesterday about the articles he is sending me for his blog Robert Sandler's Views. Recently he sent me a lot of articles written by different authors, both Jewish and non-Jewish, about the Jewish people. People such as Mark Twain, Tolstoy, John Adams all spoke highly about the Jews and their contributions in so many fields. Below is a statement written by Mark Twain.
yellow rubber gloves, kitchen sink, berkeley, ca
pastel on paper bag
My last post talked about Tisha b'Av, the Temple of Solomon and the Arch of Titus. Today in the mail, I got an article from Roby about, what else, the 'Jewish' Arch of Titus. I will scan it in and put it on the Robert Sandler blog a.s.a.p. I have been working on two new blogs:
My Paper Bag drawings can be seen here: My Abstract paintings can be seen here: Both series were started in Berkeley.......
Today is Tisha B'Av by the Jewish calendar, the ninth of Av. The saddest day in the Jewish year. It commemorates the destruction of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem in 70 A.D. by the Romans. Numerous other tragedies are also attributed to this date in Jewish history. Traditionally we read the book of Lamentations on Tisha b'Av which began last night as all Jewish holidays do, at sundown the night before. The photo below shows the Arch of Titus commemorating the destruction of the Temple. It came from History of Art by Janson. It shows the Roman army carrying off the ritual objects used at the Temple of Solomon such as the Menorah and incense burners.
My friend Debora spent a year working in Rome with her family and she told me that Italian Jews (who have a very long history in Rome dating back to Temple times) did not walk under the arch until the state of Israel was created in 1948.
I am still working on my 'Synagogue Project' which I started a long time ago about the connection between the Temple of Solomon and synagogue architecture. To see some drawings of the Temple and the Tabernacle in the Desert, click here. Scroll down past the photographs to the Writings section. You can also see some of my photographs of Boston before getting to the Writing section.
My cousin Ken sent me a piece of Red Sox history. How important and significant this is cannot be overstated ! The Sandler family has always consisted of loyal, die-hard Red Sox fans. My uncle Roby told me (recently) he originally wanted to be a professional baseball player. Here is an article he wrote about the time he went to see a double-header with his father, my Zaidy, at Fenway Park. (He Tipped His Cap, click here:) A double-header with Ted Williams in both games!
I know that Roby and Bernice are both Red Sox fans along with my Aunt Ruth. Roby gets all the games in Florida. The Red Sox are playing the Texas Rangers right now ! I have to go.
I'm not even exactly sure how I ended up with these Kodak Instamatic photos of Ellen and Robert with their young children, Julian and Eric.
What a coincidence that Ellen had two boys she named Julian and Eric, while my mother, Shirley Miller married Julius Silverman who had a brother named Eric ! Ellen writes: "Ellen and Eric Slane, Jan.1971 in front of mural Ellen painted in the babies' room" !!!
Ellen has a daughter, Amber who looks remarkably like Ellen and when I get a photo of her I will put it right here. (stay tuned) For now here is a link to Amber's blog:
On the back of this photo by the water, Ellen wrote "We visited Bob's family. Bob is holding Julian and I am holding Eric. At left is Bob's mother and at right is his sister Susie."
Here is a photo of Eric and Julian, May 1972. Ellen wrote on the back: "Our backyard, the pool we got for the babies. Eric is practicing kicking his feet, and Julian is contemplating picking up his football."
My cousin Ellen lives in paradise, ( see photo of Hollywood Beach) with her husband Robert and her dog Joey. My cousin the bathing beauty in her red bathing suit, red baseball cap and big sunglasses.......so glamorous........and I really mean it ! She looks fabulous !
The last time I saw Ellen, she was five and I was seven, somewhere around there. It was in Boby's house when Roby was visiting with my cousins Ellen and Jeffrey. Ellen called me June 16, 1998, the night before my surgery in Berkeley, California. We hadn't spoken in over 40 years. I will never forget that.
A beautiful article was published in the Jewish Post & Opinion about my lovely aunt Bernice and her excellent cantorial skills. Written by Morton Gold, he states: "After listening to that tape I have to state publicly that Bernice Sandler is a really fine soprano, and sings with taste, sensitivity and ability...."
"On the basis of her ability and professional experience, she should be given the honorary title of Hazzan....speedily in our days."
It seems that Bernice interviewed at Hebrew Union College School of Sacred Music in 1981 and was "......advised the program would be too rigorous and "also implied that she was too old to embark on such a program of studies. Gevalt and more gevalt."
Oy vay is right ! Well it's 2010 now and women are Cantors ......and ageism is still a challenge today.
My aunt Bernice fell down and broke her shoulder two weeks before the Talmud Torah Awards ceremony for my uncle Roby. She had surgery and then after that she went to The Palace Rehab. Center for physical therapy. During that time Roby stayed with my cousin Ellen for a few days. On May 14th I came home to find these fabulous photos of Roby, Ellen and Joey !
Ellen writes: Hi there! My father just spent a couple of days visiting us while Bernice is recuperating from her shoulder surgery. We had a very nice time and Joey found a new best friend. Here are a few pictures -
On Friday night May 7, 2010, Robert Sandler received the Talmud Torah Award at Temple Beth Am. The award was given during the Friday night Shabbat service. Words cannot express my extreme disappointment at not being there. Due to a broken shoulder, Bernice was not able to go either. However, the Sandler cousins, Ellen and Robert and Ken (who made the trip from Billings, Montana) did go. Ellen did take some wonderful pictures of the event which I am very grateful for. The photo in the upper left corner is the President of Temple Beth Am, Richard Hoffman.
My uncle Robert Sandler and his daughter Ellen Slane.
Longtime friends, the Gairs.........after the ceremony...............