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

Death announcements for the week of Sept. 29, 2023

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

Marjorie Ruth Goldman

Feb. 6, 1937–Sept. 19, 2023

Marjorie Ruth Goldman, Marj, born on Feb. 6, 1937, and passed on Sept. 19, 2023 at the age of 86. Originally from San Francisco, she was a resident of Burlingame, CA for 50 years. She died of complications due to meningioma.

Marj was born to the late Milton and Ruth Levy. She outlived her husband of 49 years, Arnold Goldman, by a decade and is survived by her children, Jennifer Graves and Charles Goldman, and her grandchildren, Levi and Sam Graves — the lights of her life. The love Marj had for her cousins, Jack and Barbara Becker, and their families was indispensable.

She attended Washington High School and San Francisco State University and taught special ed in the San Francisco Unified School district for 25 years. Her father, being a veterinarian, instilled in her a lifelong love for dogs. She most recently cared for a series of ragamuffin Boston terriers.

An active member of Peninsula Temple Sholom, she volunteered widely, most notably at Mission Hospice, Pathways and Mills Hospital. Marj was an avid card player — solitaire by herself, gin with her children and pan with her friends.

Marj was an excellent baker and she and Arnold loved to entertain. Their multi-generational parties are the stuff of legend and were how she best expressed the affection she had for her friends, family and all of the various people in her life. Their love, care and support meant the world to her.

Donations in her name can be made to the charity of your choice.

Sinai Memorial
(415) 921-3636

Monique Joseph

Monique Joseph, 99, a French Holocaust survivor who escaped from an internment camp and then hid in France during the rest of World War II, died Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023, in Berkeley, California.

Articulate, passionate and courageous, she went to Düsseldorf in person to argue for reparations for her family and last year condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and bombing of Babi Yar.

“As a Holocaust survivor, I feel pain and anxiety ever more deeply,” she wrote in a J. opinion piece. “The images I see remind me of the vivid scenes of Nazi terror and occupation. I was handcuffed and then imprisoned in an internment camp in Nexon (France) in the winter of 1941. There, too, I saw people dying as their persecutors laughed.”

She died an hour after Zooming in from her hospice bed to a pre-Rosh Hashanah celebration for Holocaust survivors run by Jewish Children and Family Services in Palo Alto. Each week,  Joseph and a group of fellow survivors shared memories, dreams and fears and celebrated Jewish holidays together. The volunteers, many Israeli, nurtured the group of survivors and gave them iPads, laptops and Zoom help.

Monique Joseph was a devoted J. reader.
Monique Joseph was a devoted J. reader.

Born Helga Irene Kaufmann in Cologne, Germany, in 1924, to ardent Zionists who owned a burlap bag factory and auction house, she attended a public Jewish school.

Like many Jews, she used to say, hers was a “story of playing cat and mouse with the Nazis, of aid from righteous French Gentiles, of luck in making it out alive.”

In April 1922, when her father learned he and his business were targeted by local Nazis, the family fled to Strasbourg, France, in the Alsace region. But soon, Nazis expelled German Jewish refugees from Alsace. While her father searched for a safe haven in France, she returned to live in Cologne with her grandparents. She witnessed all Jewish children forced out of public schools. Her relatives were deported to concentration camps.

The family fled to Tours and her father volunteered in the French Army. She was imprisoned briefly for delivering currency to her father in the Free Zone.

On July 16, 1942, many Jewish families in Tours were deported to concentration camps. Miraculously, Joseph’s mother managed to convince German soldiers not to arrest them that day.

After swimming across the Cher River into the Free Zone, they hid near Limoges until Nov. 16, 1942, when police arrested Joseph, her mother, and cousin and took them to nearby Nexon internment camp. The 1,600 internees — mostly political prisoners —  were surrounded by barbed wires and guarded by four watchtowers. The 450 Jews, including 68 children, were sent to Auschwitz and gassed.

Because she spoke both French and German, Joseph was sent to work in the Nexon camp office. She met a French guard who was secretly working for the Resistance. On New Year’s Eve, while other prison guards were drunk, the guard helped her and her mother escape from Nexon. They got false identity cards. (Her name was “Monique Colin.”) They took a train to  Valence where her father was hiding.

For the rest of the war, the teenager hid under her false identity on a farm owned by a French aristocrat with 12 children. Although a neighbor denounced the family for hiding Joseph, the aristocrat bravely smuggled Joseph to her parents. They hid in an unoccupied house until liberation in August 1944.

After liberation, Monique and her family returned to Tours. She also worked in Paris with the American Office of Liquidation.

In 1947, soon after immigrating to the United States, she fell in love with fellow Holocaust survivor and French resistance fighter whom she’d met in Tours after the war. She married Théophile Joseph in 1948. They lived in New York where she was president of Hadassah in Queens.

In 2000, they moved to Nice, France,, where she gave talks to French groups about her Holocaust experiences. Yearly, she hiked on the “Marche de la Memoire” in the Alps where French guides smuggled Jewish children to freedom in Italy. In 2012, they moved to Berkeley to live with their daughter, Nadine, and son-in-law Neil. They attended Temple Beth Abraham in Oakland. Her husband Theo died in 2019.

She is survived by her daughter Nadine (Neil Goteiner); grandchildren Nicole Lopez (Morgan), Maya Joseph-Goteiner (Michael Courvoisier), David Joseph-Goteiner (fiancée Asli Kimya); and great-grandchildren Jackson, Max, and Emmett.

Donations can be made to the J. at jweekly.com/donate.

Sheila Reitman

Sheila Reitman was born in Bronx, New York on Dec. 5, 1937. She met Melvyn Reitman when she was just 14 years old — and 19 years old when they married. They would have celebrated 67 years of marriage this year. Together they raised a loving family, strongly connected to Jewish life and community. The family lived in Daly City, Pacifica and then Foster City, where they lived for 35 years. Sheila and Mel retired to Sun City Lincoln Hills in 2002 to enjoy their retirement years.

Sheila attended Flushing High School in New York. When her children were able to take care of themselves after school, she worked as an office manager for several companies. Sheila was very involved in Jewish organizations such as Pioneer Women, B’nai B’rith Women and Peninsula Temple Beth El.

Sheila loved outings with her synagogue havurah, playing mahjong, cards, games with family and friends, going to movies, casinos and especially family get-togethers.

Sheila is survived by her husband, Melvyn, and her children Steven (Shari), Mitch (Lisa), Andrea (Murray) and Jeffrey; grandchildren Jeremy, Adam, David, Rena, Spencer, Abigail and Daniel; and great-grandchildren Jordan, Noah and Aliyah.

Pearl Venetsky Rabinowitz

Pearl Venetsky Rabinowitz
Pearl Venetsky Rabinowitz

On Shabbat morning, Aug. 26, 2023, at the age of nearly 99, Pearl Venetsky Rabinowitz died peacefully at her home in Walnut Creek, surrounded by her loving sons. Pearl was born and raised by Russian immigrant parents in the vibrant Jewish community of Montreal, Canada. She grew up speaking Yiddish, English and French, formally studying Yiddish at the Yiddishe Folk Shuleh. Pearl was selected as one of 21 young Jewish women from all elementary schools in her area to attend the prestigious Baron Byng High School, highly acclaimed for its matriculation of Jewish students into university studies.

Pearl received her teaching degree from McGill University in elementary school education, teaching in both secular and Jewish schools. While teaching in Montreal, she met and married the love of her life, Abe Rabinowitz. They left Montreal for a dream of working hand-in-hand in the field of Jewish communal service, living in Indiana, Massachusetts and Connecticut. In 1967, Pearl, Abe and their sons moved to the Bay Area, where Abe served as executive director of the East Bay Jewish Community Center. In all of these communities, Pearl created a welcoming and intellectually stimulating atmosphere in their home that was the focal point for the Jewish community, bringing together people of all backgrounds.

In 1969 her beloved Abe succumbed to Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Pearl continued their dream and dedication to Jewish communal service, first working with the Jewish Welfare Board (JWB) in San Francisco and subsequently serving as director of the Friendship Circle for Jewish Seniors at the East Bay JCC. After retiring, Pearl worked as a volunteer docent at the Judah Magnes Museum of Jewish History in Berkeley. Pearl was also a lifetime member of Hadassah.

Pearl’s sons feel that she and Abe left them and the Jewish communities they served an immense intergenerational wealth of Jewish culture, Yiddishkeit, Zionism, love of languages, and the importance of Jewish family life. Nothing was more important to Pearl or brought more pleasure to her than spending time with her sisters and brother, her sons, nieces, nephews, and their families. Pearl is survived by her sons, Mordechai and Henry, and son-in-law Richard.

If you wish to honor Pearl with a donation, two of her favorite organizations were Hadassah and the National Council of Jewish Women.

Marjorie Richman

Marjorie Richman
Marjorie Richman

Marjorie “Margie” Richman passed away at home on August 25, 2023, holding hands with her husband of 66 years, Moe. Margie underwent open heart surgery 12 years ago and was given another year to live. She fought a long battle with congestive heart failure and actually enjoyed an additional 12 years.

In addition to her husband, Moe, Margie is survived by her three sons, Mike, Marshall and Mitchell, as well as her granddaughters, Rachel and Lilah. Margie is also survived by her daughters-in-law, Aliza DuBois, Anne Richman and Ava Kahn.

Margie was born and raised in St. Louis and her family belonged to a Reform congregation, Shaare Emeth, where she was active. Margie also attended NIFTY camps. At the tender age of 14, Margie struck up a conversation with the recently ordained Junior Rabbi Eugene Borowitz. During their conversation, he explained his devotion to a lifetime of learning. lt left an indelible impression. Borowitz moved on from Shaare Emeth to a life’s work of notable achievement in Jewish letters, philosophy and education.

A proud Washington University in St. Louis alumna, Margie graduated with a degree in elementary education. She met her husband, Moe, on a blind date, just after she graduated while still living in St. Louis. Moe was working in Topeka at the Menninger Foundation. After the wedding, Margie and Moe moved to Detroit where she taught school at Francis Scott Key School in Oak Park, Michigan, and finished up a degree in special education at Wayne University (now Wayne State University). But the Detroit winters didn’t agree with Margie, so they loaded up the truck and moved to Belmont, California, where Moe got a job running the JCC.

In 1963 they welcomed their first child, Mike. Their other two children, Marshall and Mitch, followed within four years. They moved to Moraga in 1967 and raised the three boys there.

Margie decided to leave special ed and go into real estate and get her broker’s license. Margie worked more than 27 years as a real estate broker in Contra Costa County, specializing in Rossmoor properties.

A resident of Rossmoor since 1992, Margie served on the Interfaith Council and with Moe helped found and run MEICOR, the Middle East Information Council of Rossmoor, now known as JEICOR, and was an active member of Congregation B’nai Israel of Rossmoor. Margie was an ardent Zionist and an active member of Hadassah, where she served for a number of years as fundraising vice president.

Of her time with B’nai Israel in particular, Margie remarked, “I really am very strong on the fact that you can’t be Jewish by yourself. Being a member of B’nai Israel of Rossmoor is a significant part of being Jewish for us.”

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations can be made in Margie’s memory to the Alzheimer’s association, alz.org.