September 18th, 1991
It is my husband’s 41st birthday and Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year. I call my parents to wish them a Happy New Year (l’shana tova).The nurse answers and tells me that my Father has gone to synagogue to pray. I am expecting the nurse to tell me (as always) that my Mother is unable to talk on the phone but instead she holds the phone to her ear. I hear a faint hello. I tell my mother about my husband’s birthday party which will take place after sundown when Yom Kippur is over. She is silent…I say,”Mommy, I wish you and Daddy were here to celebrate with us. I love you so much.”
“I love you, Debi” my mother says. The nurse takes the phone back and politely thanks me for calling.
My Mother passes away the next morning.
September 18th, 2010
Tomorrow is my husband’s 60th birthday and for first time in 19 years…his birthday falls on Yom Kippur.
I think about Yom Kippur, 1991, when I had that last opportunity to talk to my Mother and tell her that I loved her. I am so happy that I made that call.
Tomorrow…I will hold my husband in my arms and whisper in his ear, “I love you, today..tomorrow and always.”
I know my Mother will be smiling from heaven.
Blanche Nevel, a lecturer and reviewer of Jewish literature and a translator for the late Isaac Bashevis Singer, died Thursday, September 19th, 1991. Nevel was head librarian of Temple Beth Sholom in Miami Beach and lectured to congregation members on Jewish works. In the early 1980s, she reviewed books for the Jewish Floridian. She and her husband, Joseph Nevel, met Singer in the 1970s, and she later translated his Yiddish works into English.