a lit memorial candle with a Sinai Memorial Chapel logo on it

Deaths for the week of June 22, 2018

Obituaries are supported by a generous grant from Sinai Memorial Chapel.

Joel Brooks died on June 18, following a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. He was 81 years old.

Born in New York, Joel received his “smicha” as an Orthodox rabbi, although he never practiced.  Joel served in the Israel Defense Forces and later as executive director for the American Jewish Congress in its San Francisco office.

Joel involved himself in numerous human rights causes on behalf of Native Americans, African Americans and Ethiopian Jews. He focused on liberal Jewish interests and was an early activist in the Soviet Jewry movement, working closely with the late Harold Light, founder of the Bay Area Council on Soviet Jewry. Joel devoted his life to the service of others, and while most will not remember his efforts, it can be said of him that good deeds are their own reward.

Joel is survived by his two daughters and three grandchildren. Donations to the New Israel Fund would be welcomed.

On June 4, 2018, Miriam Brandstatter, age 97, passed peacefully at the Veteran’s Hospice unit in Palo Alto, CA. She was surrounded by her family after nearly twenty months of being cared for by the skilled and compassionate staff.

Miriam Brandstatter
Miriam Brandstatter

Miriam leaves an impressive legacy of serving her country as a World War II nurse, practicing public health nursing including obtaining a master’s degree from Stanford University in Public Health, and later becoming a licensed psychotherapist in private practice until she retired at age 90.

Miriam touched the hearts of all those who knew her with her wit, passion for life, and courage in the face of many hardships, always demonstrating amazing resilience. Her husband, Julius, preceded her in death in 2004 after 56 years of marriage. Miriam lived at Bridgepoint Assisted Living for five years with her beloved poodle, Benni, and the many friendships she cultivated. Miriam loved classical music, reading, watching CNN and entertaining.

Miriam will be greatly missed by her three daughters: Andrea Spira and her partner Louis Gecenok, Carol Myers and her husband Daniel Dlugose, and Nancy Eiger and her partner Mike McGillis; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Her spirit and perseverance will live on as a reminder to appreciate the preciousness of life.