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