Friday, May 22, 2009

Program at Lander L'iluy Nishmas Aliza (R' Paysach Krohn)

This coming Wednesday evening, erev Shavuos, May 27th at 8:00pm there will be a program dedicated in the memory of Aliza Shull, a'h at the Lander College for Men, 75-31 150th Street, Flushing, NY, 11367.

The speakers will be R' Paysach Krohn and Gabi Shull; the program is sponsored by the LCM Office of Alumni Affairs and Friends of Gabi Shull.

Friday, May 8, 2009

It's difficult to write about someone who was special to so many in such different ways. Each time we think of Aliza, so many things come to mind, so many different memories, so many aspects that were uniquely Aliza. To anyone who met Aliza it was obvious that she was someone very real, someone with depth and ideals, someone who everyone wanted to connect to and be close to. She was someone who had opinions and thoughts and ideas and had an amazing wonderful way of expressing things. She was the kind of person who everyone felt comfortable talking to and she was someone who truly knew how to listen. She was sensitive, insightful, nonjudgmental and accepting of people and their differences.

Aliza and Gabi’s home was always open, literally and figuratively. Their door was never locked and there was always an endless number of people coming and going on a Shabbos afternoon or any random Sunday. When Aliza was too sick to handle the amount of company that she and Gabi were accustom to having, it was obvious just how hard it was for Aliza. She was always such a gracious hostess, preparing and serving in such a beautiful manner, with every detail just perfect. Not to be able to have guests for Shabbos on a regular basis was truly difficult for her.

When we first moved to Kew Garden Hills, just a couple of doors down from Gabi and Aliza, they were so welcoming and helpful to us. Gabi and Aliza both made it a priority to ensure that we were settled in and well acclimated. They not only helped us adjust, but also introduced us to many people who we now consider our close friends.

Even when Aliza wasn’t well, this past Shavuot, she invited us to come for a meal. When Aliza found out that it was my/Steven’s birthday, she immediately kicked her party planning into high gear, not just with one of her fancy birthday cakes but with decorations, hats and streamers as well. Aliza loved to bring happiness to others, that is how she was. An opportunity to make someone else feel special or bring a smile to their face was just how Aliza lived her life on a daily basis.

If you did not know that Aliza was sick, you would never know from the way she carried herself. She was always put-together, always with a smile and always trying to maintain some sense of normalcy. No matter what she was going through, she stayed focused on her goal of helping others and maintaining an optimistic outlook on life. This past August, when we were blessed with the birth of our daughter (Yakira), Aliza was the first to text and call while we were still in the hospital. She wanted to know if she could arrange and coordinate the meals for us when we returned home (which she did), asking what types of food we preferred and what else she could do to make the adjustment back home an easy and smooth one.

Aliza loved life and fought for her life with as much courage as we've ever seen a human being fight. She continuously saw beyond herself and beyond her own immediate health issues to try and help the wider community. Up until the end, Aliza was out and about, whether it was delivering shaloch manos this past Purim or bringing Chani to shul to get a “lolly” and kiss the Torah, she always had a smile. We miss seeing her sitting in her usual chair just outside her apartment, playing with Chani.

We could go on and on but we would never feel that we have adequately described the person that Aliza was with all her beauty, her strength, her sensitivity, her thoughtfulness, her wisdom, her courage, her grace, her depth, her being. As a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend--in all these roles, she was the person we all looked up to and wished we could emulate. She just did it all so well. She will be missed, forever.

Shira and Steven Botnick

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I was in a psychology class with Aliza this past summer. We saw one another almost every day for about a month and we were put into the same group to work on a final project together. I was so happy to be put into Aliza's group. She always greeted me a smile and a kind word. She was so warm, and easy to talk to. Aliza would talk about her daughter often. Aliza's love for Chani and her joy in being a mother to Chani were so apparent through the way she spoke, even when she was just telling me about Chani's nap schedule :). Taking care of Chani was her absolute priority, it was plain to see in the short time I spent with her.

May her neshama have an aliyah.

Erica Mezei

Letter from Gabi

Gabi sent this letter out to friends and family whose e-mail he had access to and wanted it posted here. Please pass it along to friends and family. Thanks so much!

Dearest Family and Friends,

First, I would like to extend my most heartfelt gratitude to each of you for being such an amazing support to Aliza a"h, Chani and me throughout the extremely hard times we endured during Aliza's battle.

From the meals, to the babysitting, to the tefillos, everything you guys did was a tremendous help and a load taken off our shoulders. While it was never an easy situation, knowing everything else was taken care of certainly palliated our burden. May Hashem bless you all with health, happiness and only good things.

Second, those of you who were able to attend Aliza's funeral heard me mention that I would like to have a sefer torah written in her memory.

Donating a Sefer Torah is something Aliza and I had dreamed about for a long time. I feel that accomplishing this feat would truly serve as both an enormous source of joy and an aliyah for her neshama. B"H, the initial response was amazing and I am well on my way to making the campaign a great success.

I hope everyone will open their hearts and take part in this tremendous mitzvah.

All monies received in excess of what is needed to complete this Sefer Torah Project will be donated to the RCCS (Rofeh Cholim Cancer Society), an organization that helps pay insurance premiums for people that are going through cancer and cannot afford to pay on their own.

All donations are tax deductible and checks can be made out to Congregation Ohel Yitzchak. In the memo, please indicate that it is for "Aliza's sefer torah."

Checks can be mailed to me at 141-06 70th Ave, Flushing, NY, 11367, or can be sent directly to Ohel Yitzchak, 137-58 70 Ave, Flushing, NY 11367.

Thanks again for all of your support and I look forward to sharing in this mitzvah with you.

With gratitude,
Gabi and Chani

Friday, May 1, 2009

When Adam and I moved to Queens after we got married, neither of us knew Gabi or Aliza very well. I knew Gabi from Hasc and mutual friends, and Aliza as well. I remember that almost every single shabbos I would hear through the grapevine that Gabi and Aliza were hosting some sort of shabbos afternoon get together or Seuda Shlishis for all of their friends, just to hang out, no special occasion, because that's the type of couple they were. I remember being sincerely jealous of all my friends who were friends with them because I really wanted to be invited to the shabbos parties! One Friday afternoon, I ran into Aliza with a newborn Chani in the supermarket, we exchanged "hellos" and Aliza so graciously invited Adam and I over for seuda shlishis (I hope I didn't seem too desperate!) I was so excited!! We finally made it! Subsequently, Adam and I ended up moving to Gabi and Aliza's block a little over a year ago, and the second we moved in, Aliza invited us right over and the four of us instantly became great friends. At that point Aliza was finishing up Queens College and Chani was in school and so she decided to start making baby clips. She knew I made headbands and so we buddied up to do some headband sales together. Over the next few months I had the honor of spending some great times with Aliza, laughing and bonding over many topics (Dawsons Creek, 90210, sheitels, motherhood, life, etc.). I have had several really special conversations with Aliza in the past year and I will never forget them. The most amazing thing that I can not get out of my mind about Aliza is that although when I became friends with her she was already sick, and was going through the unthinkable physically and emotionally, I can not remember one time, not once, seeing even an ounce of bitterness or attitude in her voice, in her face, in her body language, or in her heart. She always treated everyone with such kindness and respect. She never took anything anyone did for her for granted. Even the smallest thing, like dropping a magazine off for her to read when she was already extremely ill and weak, still warranted a text message from Aliza thanking me "so much!" That's just the type of person Aliza was. I want to thank Aliza for the life lessons she has taught me, for the strength she has given me, for the kindness she has bestowed even when I probably said all the wrong things, for being so warm to us when we moved in, and for just being my friend. Adam and I were lucky to have had many shabbos meals with Gabi and Aliza over the past few years, and even luckier to eat Aliza's delicious cooking. Though at times I could see the pain in Aliza's eyes from what she was going through, she was always the most gracious, classy, poised, sweet, thoughtful, witty, laid back person that she was known to be. I feel like I could go on and on because I want Chani to know what an extremely special person her mom was, kind from her core, giving, funny and sensitive. One story that I must share happened just a few weeks ago. I was talking to Aliza outside her apartment and she was telling me and another friend about an article in a magazine she was reading about a family who was extremely poor and really struggling to stay afloat. While telling the story to us she said, and I quote "It was such a sad story, it made me feel grateful for my own problems." I honestly couldn't believe my ears, I was shocked that it was possible to have that much strength of character and emunah to say such an incredible thing? Aliza did, I am absolutely in awe of her strength of spirit and perspective throughout everything she went through. Adam and I are deeply sad at this time, and we know that regardless of what we say or write, that words are completely useless in a time like this, that silence is golden, and that the heart speaks for itself, and so we apologize for even trying to put anything we feel into words, and we are sure that this letter will come up short. We are here in any way we can possibly be here for you Gabi, and Chani as well.

Adam and Tamar Stein

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

from Kobe Liefer

Monday, April 27, 2009

As a close childhood friend of Rivkie, Aliza's older sister, I remember when Aliza was born. Rivkie and I were 10. She was a beautiful baby with HUGE brown eyes and a big smile. I remember her being this little 2 year old at Rivkie's bat mitzvah. She was always the baby of the family even when she was grown. I have so many little memories of her. Playing outside shabbos afternoons with her cousin or friends, leaning on her father at the shabbos table, running to the kitchen to grab a snack from the "junk drawer", Leba getting her ready to go out for Sunday pizza on Main Street with the grandparents, being at Rivkie's shabbos kallah and her having just had her bat mitzvah and everyone discussing it. Her being so cute (and stunning) at Rivkie's wedding. Not to mention a great aunt to all her nieces and nephews. There are so many memories.It is still impossible to imagine or begin to comprehend that she is no longer.May the entire family know no more sorrow.

Ariella (Seliger) Chasky

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Note About E-mails & Letters

All e-mails and letters to Elisheva and Cindy will also be incorporated with the blog at some point. Thanks, and we should know only simchos...

Cindy Bernstein
Aliza (A”H) was the kind of student that every teacher loves – a hard worker, sweet, respectful, kind to others and just a pleasure to have in the classroom. Aliza’s determination to excel in everything she did propelled her throughout her four years at Central. Aliza made honor roll because of her grades but she deserves great honor for her menschlechkeit, her sincerity and her friendliness. I remember Aliza as always being a spiritual young women adding a special dimension to all of our tefilliot. There is a saying that says – it is nice to be important but it is more important to be nice – and this indeed is how Aliza lived her life. Aliza will always be a model student for us to learn from. (We would like to perpetuate Aliza’s memory in Central – is there anything special the family would like us to do? )

May the Nat Family, Gabi and Chani know no further sorrow.

Shelly Brand

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I don't know if I ever officially met Aliza as we had already moved out of NY by the time she married Gabi. I do remember seeing her at a Lander wedding this past summer. She looked great and so happy and I remember thinking to myself - she must be better thank G-d. Jonathan and I were deeply saddened to hear of her passing. May Hashem comfort Gabi, Chani and their entire families and may they know no more sorrow.~ Aviva Zahtz
Gabi, Chani, it's hard to be writing this as our hurt for you is still so fresh, but I wanted to leave this as a bit of chizuk for Chani one day. It's just the tiniest, most inconsequential, sliver of this whole story, but, in a sense, I think that's exactly why it gave me so much comfort. It happened at the absolute thick of the darkness- in the last weeks and even day of your mother's life- and came to comfort and remind me that even then, and even in a situation that we will never be able to understand, there was still a Boreh Olam up there- listening to our tefillot and always orchestrating the 'big picture.'

First, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Ziva Glanz and I was the Aym Bayit at Landers when your father was a student there and when he dated and married your mother. Like 'army buddies,' when you give to somebody and go through such a significant piece of all of your lives together, they become like family, and that's the way it was for us at Landers. Our 'boys' became part of our family and, as such, we too questioned and struggled and mourned when we heard your mother was sick, and- of course- davened for her and your father wherever we could here in Israel.

Then, a few weeks ago, we got an email from HASC asking all alumni to join together to finish Sefer Tehillim daily on your mother's behalf. With worry about the significance of that email having to be sent, we quickly looked to see which tehillim my husband Daniel and I could sign up for. As a testament to your parents though, the email had only been out for a few hours and already almost every perek of tehillim had been taken - twice! The absolute only ones left were these random seven perakim (from 60-67), and they were left for a reason: they were considered 'hard;' difficult, and unfamiliar, with long-winded words to make your way through. Not quite 'popular,' but that's what was left and so they became ours.

Now, I want to share this with you (and I guess everyone else who will read this on the blog!) because I want you to understand exactly where we were coming from on April 1st when we started saying these tehillim. We had tried to buy an apartment a few months before, but the project had suddenly fallen through, and with it, our life savings. We managed to get a guarantee that our money would be paid back to us by April 2nd, so we scrapped together some cash and somehow managed to make it through to that date. But then April 2nd came and with it, no money. The contractor reneged, said he couldn't pay us back, that it would take at least a year, and we soon didn't know how we were going to continue putting food on the table. Our days became filled with lawyers, the process for Beit Din, and worry- and truthfully, the only productive thing I managed to do in all of this was make sure each day to say those tehillim for your mother. And each day they gave me strength, and renewed perspective, and reminded me that, despite the intensity of the stress, money was just money and nothing was more important than health.

The shabbos after Pesach, my husband had some free time and so he decided to sit down and learn the meaning of these tehillim that we were saying every day. He learned up one and was pleasantly surprised when he read that this was the tehillim to be said when someone was putting you in a difficult situation, as this contractor was with us. And then he learned another and was shocked to learn that this was a perek to be said in times of tremendous financial difficulty. And then he learned the next one and read that that it was a tehillim to say during times when you needed to see yeshuot. And that's when he called me over!

Together we sat- stunned- as we realized that, one after another, the 'unpopular' tehillim that had been 'left' for us to say, were really the very tehillim that described our exact situation (down to unbelievable detail). We could not have handpicked them better had we tried! And here we were, saying them every day, not knowing that the zechut of your mother's mitzvah was also helping us in our own lives as well. We sat there, astounded, as we realized the enormity of the Planning it took to execute even just this one small sign of Hashgacha Pratit, and we took comfort from it's reminder that, Kal V'Chomer, there must also be Yad Hashem in the greater situations as well- as hard and unclear as they may be.

It was only a few hours later that we got the news that your mother had passed away. It's easy to say that we were devastated, but I'm not sure that really describes it. We, along with all your parent's other friends (and of course family), felt the blow like a punch to our stomach- it winded us and all we could do was just sit and think of you and your family and attempt to just try and absorb it all. Yet through the thickness of that mourning, there was only one other thought that managed to sometimes break through to the periphery of my consciousness, and that was the sporadic glimmer of nechama that if Hashem's care and hashgacha were so evident even in a detail as seemingly insignificant as the tehillim being said, then how much greater must His care have been for the overall situation.

And now Gabi and Chani, I pray that that care should go to you, the Nats, and your entire extended family. Chani, I know that nothing will ever comfort you for the loss of your mother, but just as in the thick of that mourning there can be no real comfort and all we could do was peripherally concede to the acceptance of a Yad Hashem, so too I hope that this story will one day help you, in some small way, as you work towards that acceptance as well.

May Hashem give your father the koach he needs and, as you grow up, may you always face this struggle as well as your mother faced hers.

With all our love and condolences,

Daniel and Ziva Glanz

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

- from Katie & Dovid Gamzeh, from Aliza's graduation party from college. Chanukah/December 2009.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hi, my name is Dahlia Jacob and i cannot say i knew Aliza very well. However there is something i would like to share. As im sure everyone knows, Aliza has changed many lives during her life... and she touched mine in a very personal and special way. when i was going to start central high school there was a big sister program. all the seniors were assigned to a specific freshmen to be a "big sister". they would show them around school, introduce them to people, basically make them feel comfortable and at home. this can be a very scary and nerve racking time for many freshmen, not to mention extremely overwhelming. i came from bais yaakov of queens...central was not such a common place for a bais yaakov girl to be going to high school, and man was i nervous. when i got to school and met aliza for the first time, all my fears disapeared. her kindness and sincerity hit me so strong and made me feel so good, so relaxed and above all comfortable in my new environment. since aliza graduated at the end of that year i did not get to know her better, and i so wish i had. i can deifinetely say that over that one year anytime she would see me, in the halls, on main street, even in shul, she would ask me how things were going as if she was looking out for me. i have always looked up to her, and will continue to, always and always. i want to say how sorry i am to her wonderful family i cannot imagine what they must be going through. all i wanted to say was...aliza touched my heart and i will forever be grateful for that.

I'm so sorry to hear about Aliza. I didn't know her well--we went to Morasha together many years ago--but I know she was incredibly sweet and beloved by her friends and family. Hopefully I'll find some older camp pictures the next time I go home, but for now I just have this one from Jessica and Kobi Leifer's wedding, in which I think she looks beautiful. Hamakom yinachem etchem b'toch sha'ar avalei tzion v'yerushalyim.

Dahlia Adler Fisch
I didn't know aliza that well, but I do have so many small memories of her, and gabi, from their days as counselors in Camp HASC. aliza had one of the hardest bunks in the camp, but that didn't matter. she worked so hard, did so much, and always had a smile on her face. i have so many memories of her running after her campers, probably exhausted, and drained, but you would never know it. for the past few years, every time i saw her, i would say to myself, how could it be that she was so sick? she was always so smiley, happy, and beautiful- you would never know. may the memories of aliza give chizuk to the family, to gabi and chani. - sassy (fisch) hanauer

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Memories of Aliza

The purpose of this blog is to collect memories people have of Aliza (Nat) Shull, a'h, in order that those memories can be saved and later transmitted to Chani so she can have an understanding of her mother and her mother's life - how she lived, who her friends and family were, how she acted, how she would want Chani to see her and to live her own life.

At shiva, someone asked Gabi if they had had the opportunity to record memories for Chani from Aliza, and he noted that while Aliza had talked about a month earlier about writing letters to Chani, she hadn't been able to do so. While there are wonderful pictures from her graduation party and Chani's 3rd birthday party, the letters were never written. Instead, he asks that we all help write to Chani everything we can remember about Aliza and her life while it is still fresh in our minds so Chani can read it when she is older, so she can understand and appreciate her incredible mother, Aliza Rachel bas Chaim Tzvi & Liba Yenta (Nat) Shull.

He also asks that everyone send in pictures, videos, letters, messages, memories, words of chizuk... anything. It will all be kept, it will all be appreciated, and it will all be beautiful for Chani to have.

Please either comment or e-mail the memories and pictures to (Please note specifically if something should remain private and not be posted to the blog.)

Thank you so much.