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

Obituaries for the week of Nov. 26, 2021

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

Hans Herbert Angress

Born April 14, 1928 in Berlin, Germany – Died November 10, 2021 in Cotati, California

Hans Herbert Angress
Hans Herbert Angress

Hans Angress died peacefully in his sleep on Wednesday, November 10.

His life spanned more than nine decades, each contributing to the warm, caring, generous man that he grew to be.

His gentle good nature can be traced back to his early childhood of the late 1920’s and early 1930’s, embraced within a loving family. There were lively extended family gatherings for Jewish holidays in one or another of their comfortable Berlin homes, and playful banter with his two older brothers.

His deep concern for others and his dedication to speak out against injustice is rooted in the next decade, when the rise of Nazism completely destroyed the peace and security of those early years.

Forced to leave Germany, and unable to find passage to safety off the European continent, the family settled in Amsterdam. Hans spoke of his adolescent years in Amsterdam, before the invasion of the Nazis, as a happy time for him, free from the constantly menacing antisemitism of Germany. He quickly picked up the Dutch language and enjoyed skating with new friends on the frozen canals of Amsterdam’s winter.

When the Netherlands fell to the Nazis, the family was broken up. Hans’s father was captured, and eventually murdered in Auschwitz. The rest of the family was driven into hiding. The Kooy family of Amsterdam risked their lives sheltering Hans, keeping him safe until the end of the war. Hans taught his children and the many students at schools where he shared his story, to follow the Kooys’ example, and have compassion for people in need, doing what one can to help even if that is difficult.

In 1947, Hans married a fellow Holocaust survivor, Dina Dasberg, and spent the next few decades farming and raising a family on the shores of Tomales Bay.  He taught his kids to swim, to drive, and to embrace hard work and enjoy its rewards. Hans and Dina welcomed people to their home from all over the world, where there was always a lively exchange of ideas around the dinner table.

Besides working as a dairyman at this time, Hans served as an active member of the local Democratic Party committee.  He was appointed by Governor Pat Brown to serve as a director on the Sonoma-Marin Fair board, successfully advocating, in that role, for a community swimming pool there.

In 1969, Hans left the farm. Attempts to establish a lodge down the road from the farm posed one insurmountable challenge after another. By the end of the 1970’s, he’d abandoned that pursuit.  Soon afterwards, he and Dina went their separate ways.

It was at this time that Enola Nelson entered his life, and was by his side as he picked himself up and forged on. He enjoyed a second career in Property Management, first as Project Manager of the Marconi Conference Center, and later under the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Always striving to make new connections and find fresh ways to contribute to a world still trying to learn to be a place of fairness and good will, he joined the board of the Alliance for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide at Sonoma State University, giving presentations to young people, helping them learn from his experiences to be their best, inspiring them to help make a more just world. He also joined the Bay Area Hidden Children, a group of local survivors of the Holocaust who had also come through World War II in hiding, and he found solace and a healing kinship through their bonds of similar histories and shared experience.

Besides his six children, Eric, Norah, Madelyn, Ingrid, Rachel, and Jesse, Hans’s family grew to include thirteen grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren.  Year by year he shared with them his steady good spirit and warm sense of humor. As he fielded old age, slowly, knowingly losing strength of body and mind, when asked how he was doing, he would invariably answer in his gentle German/Dutch accent, “Reasonably well, under the circumstances.”

As his children put it:

“He taught us to do our best.
He taught us to be fair.
He taught us to stand up for those in need.
He taught us to be grateful for the good things.
And he taught us to make the best of life, through whatever good or hard times we may encounter.
We are forever grateful.”

There will be a gathering of family and friends to honor and celebrate Hans’s life in the spring.

Donations in honor of Hans may be made to The Alliance for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide of Sonoma State University, Hospice by the Bay, or Congregation Shomrei Torah of Santa Rosa.

Dr. Arthur M. Bodin

Dr. Arthur M. Bodin 
Dr. Arthur M. Bodin

Arthur Michael Bodin, Ph.D., a longtime resident of Palo Alto, passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, on Oct. 15, 2021, after a long illness.

A native New Yorker, Dr. Bodin graduated from Swarthmore College and obtained his Ph.D. in psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He married Miriam Lifton in 1961, and they moved to Palo Alto in 1965 when he began working as a clinical psychologist at the Mental Research Institute (MRI) in Palo Alto. He had a therapy practice with special expertise in couples and family systems/therapy for 50 years until he retired in 2015. He was devoted to MRI and served on its board several terms, right up to the present. His good judgment was highly valued there and he was known for his thoughtful analysis and awareness of ethical and legal issues impacting on clinical and research work. In addition to these endeavors, he taught widely and conducted research. His writings have been published widely and his presentations were frequent, successful and sought after.

He was a dedicated professional in the organizations in which he participated, acquiring positions of leadership in the American Psychological Association, where he served several terms on the board, and the California Psychological Association, where he served as president. He was active in the Santa Clara Psychological Association, as well, where he had leadership  positions. He helped found the California School of Professional Psychology.

He would say often that his five granddaughters along with his beloved children and their spouses have made his life one of joy and gratitude. He supported his wife, Miriam, unstintingly in her own professional work. In his later years he developed a strong interest in American history and current events. He read widely and listened avidly to audio books and he loved the History channel. His family and friends will attest to his support for the State of Israel and his fervent love of the United States.

A late-in-life interest for him centered on attending concerts, listening to music online and attending the opera simulcasts which he enjoyed with his wife. He tried, also, never to miss a special game or a performance in which any of his granddaughters appeared. Shabbat, holiday and family events became evermore important to him as his physical limitations began to emerge. In his last years, he continued to advise young psychologists and even to serve on Ph.D. committees.

He was optimistic by nature and a very tender person. At his funeral, the rabbi talked about his generosity, and we think that adjective really describes a basic element in the character of the man we loved and now miss very much.

He is survived by his wife Miriam Bodin, of Palo Alto; by his son Douglas Bodin and his wife, Pam Bodin, of San Mateo, and their three daughters,  Hannah, Jessica and Lily; and by his daughter Laura (Bodin) Dunn and her husband, Jim Dunn, of Belmont, and their two daughters, Leah and Tara.

Donations can be made in his memory to Wornick Jewish Day School (wornickjds.org/supporting-wornick) or the charity of your choice.

Rafaela Cohn (nee Patricia Warner)

May 11, 1951–Oct. 22, 2021

Rafaela Cohn
Rafaela Cohn

Rafaela (Raffie), the daughter of Holocaust survivors, was born in Southern California and raised by her mother, Ruth M. Kuzin. She was an only child and her parents divorced when Raffie was around 6 years old. In her early 40s, she changed her last name from Warner, her estranged father’s surname, to Cohn, her mother’s family name. She also changed her first name from Patricia to Rafaela.

Ruth Kuzin moved the family to Beverly Hills so Raffie would get a good education. They lived in various one-bedroom apartments south of the tracks. Ruth worked as a bookkeeper and teenage Raffie also began earning money to help out. Later, Raffie’s mother remarried, which required another adjustment on Raffie’s part.

Raffie graduated from UC Berkeley, attended Golden Gate University School of Law and performed paralegal work. She worked as an organizational trainer and developer, helping small businesses improve their internal workings. She wanted to use the law for social justice and was involved with the National Lawyers’ Guild, which acted as legal support for demonstrations.

Raffie had a special talent for expressing herself. She was moved by music, dance, drama, and strong feelings and thoughts that she embraced and put into insightful prose and poetry. Writing was Raffie’s therapy.

Raffie served the Jewish community in many ways and was greatly influenced by Jewish feminism. She created inclusive feminist rituals for Jewish holidays and significant life events.  She published the Jewish Women’s Newsletter in the Bay Area, participated in a Jewish bisexual women’s group, co-created a Jewish-Palestinian women’s dialogue group and helped start a women’s chavurah, Shir Nashim.

Raffie was active in many groups practicing tikkun olam, repairing the world. She volunteered on behalf of feminist causes, Jewish-Palestinian dialogue and Middle East peace and supporting refugees seeking asylum in the United States.

Several nonprofit organizations benefited from Raffie’s work. Her last employment was with the Oakland mayor’s office, where she served Oakland residents as a Constituent Liaison. She was often the first person greeted by residents when they reached out to the mayor’s office. She became an accomplished expediter, expanding her knowledge of Oakland city government and its resources and getting residents the help they needed. Rafaela was professional, collegial and tireless in her dedication to serving the residents of Oakland. She will be greatly missed by her friends, co-workers and clients.

May Rafaela’s memory continue to bless all who knew her.

Helen Farkas

Dec. 11, 1922–Aug. 30, 2021

Helen Farkas
Helen Farkas

On Aug. 30, 2021, Helen aka Hencheh Farkas (nee Weisz), daughter of Sighismund (Yehoshua) and Hermina (Hani aka Chana), died at the age of 99 at Parker Jewish Institute in Queens, New York.

She was born on Dec. 11, 1922 in the remote Northern Transylvanian village of Turt, Judetul Satu Mare, Romania in the Țara Oașului. Raised ultra-Orthodox, and off-the-grid in a self-sustaining, remote, farming community, her native language was Yiddish, and she was a distant cousin of the actor Tony Curtis, in addition to being a true Ayshes Chayil and baalas hesed, bikur cholim, hachnasas orchim and of mesirus nefesh. She had a heart of gold and hands like the most precious of diamonds, as she was a culinary maestro.

When she was 8 years old, she survived a death-defying illness after receiving a blessing from Rabbi Avraham Shalom Yerucham Friedman, Av Beis Din Turt-Halmin ve-HaGalil. He and her father gave her the middle name of “Chaya.” She was designated the honor of cutting off her mother’s hair for her (sheitel) wig. Her mother did not walk around without either a wig or a kerchief.

Her Jewish education was delegated to her brother David who taught her how to read Hebrew, Yiddish, daven and learn the parashah from the “Tzenah Urenah.” The first time she left her locality and saw motorized transport was at the age of 15 when she travelled to Czechoslovakia to help her sister-in-law, Dora (daughter of Rabbi Dr. Gershom Feinberg of Wurzberg and Berlin, Germany and wife to Helen’s brother, Salamon Weisz), take care of their baby, Szuszanna, in Trebic. Salamon was a hazan and bar mitzvah teacher, and subsequently First Cantor of Bohemia and Moravia 1946-1968, when he lived in Prague.

During the Holocaust, she was deported from Turt to the ghetto in Selish (Nagyszőlős, today Vynohradiv, Ukraine). She arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau on or about June 6, 1944 with almost her entire family from Ugocsa Vármegye, Hungary, including her sister Rivka aka Aranka/Regina Weisz; Laura Farkas nee Lazar (future mother-in-law) and her son Laszlo Farkas (future brother-in-law); nine nephews and nieces, including, but not limited to Szuszanna (age 7), Ruth Weisz (age 5), Yona Weisz, Rivka Weisz, Yitzchak Weisz, sisters-in-law Perl and Malka, and Szuszanna, and Dora’s brother (a spy for the Allies who survived after jumping from the train to Auschwitz). She was sent to Stutthoff and finally to a camp near Riga, Latvia. She became friends with Miru Volovits. Helen saved Miru’s life and they became lifelong friends (later relatives when Miru married a cousin). Helen was evacuated from the camp to Danzig. A Soviet soldier tried to shoot her in a case of mistaken identity and was talked out of it. She was hospitalized with typhus that nearly killed her.

Helen married Miklos aka Miki Farkas, a second cousin in Turt in 1946. They had three children: Eva, Tiberius and Tommy. She and Miklos moved to Satu Mare in 1950. Miki had a cousin (Yudit) dying of cancer. Helen took her into their home, paid for treatment, nurse, and the subsequent burial and gravestone. She volunteered in the Chevra Kadisha to perform taharas ha’goof (purifying the body) and participated in making matzah before Pesach for the community.

She immigrated to the U.S. with her husband and children in 1964 and settled in Borough Park, Brooklyn. She and Miki worked in garment factories and sent their children to Orthodox Jewish schools. Soon after arrival in the U.S., she began to wear a sheitel, alternated with a kerchief. Before Yom Kippur, she would buy a chicken to bring home for kaparot. On Shabbos, she would walk to Maimonides Hospital to visit the sick. In 1980, she moved to Kew Gardens Hills, Queens with her husband and joined Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, led by Rabbi Fabian Schoenfeld, whom they liked and respected very much.

Helen is preceded in death by her husband and love of her life, who died on March 30, 2003. Helen was also preceded in death by four brothers in Israel: Yitzchak Weisz (of Rishon Le’Tzion); David Weisz (of Pardes Katz–Jamusin); Zoltan aka Zoli (Zisheh) Weisz (of Pardes Katz); Salomon (Chana) Weisz (of Bnei Brak) and two brothers and their families murdered in the Holocaust, Jeno aka Yoel (Malka), his son Yitzchak and four other children (of Turt), and her brother Armin aka Aron Avraham (Perl) and his son, Yona and daughter, Rivka (of Halmeu).

Helen is survived by children Eva Farkas Sarkany (of San Francisco, CA); Dr. Tiberius Farkas (of Mamaroneck, NY); Tommy Farkas (of Kew Gardens Hills, NY); grandchildren Mordechai Pelta (of San Francisco, CA); Rabbi Dr. Arie E. Pelta (of Beit Shemesh, Israel); Hannah; Steven; Julie; and 18 great-grandchildren: Avigayil Sarah, Elisheva Freidl, Michaela Lauren, Yehudah Aron, Aron Akiva, Maytal, Shalom David, Akiva, Ezra, Rachel Liba, Yakira Shayna, Zachary, Moshe Leib, Ayelet Shifra, Raizel Ruth Zahava, Ozzie, Jakey and Lucy.

A funeral was held at Beth David Cemetery in Elmont, New York on Aug. 31, 2021. May HaShem comfort the families amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.