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

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