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

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