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Our small but great bubby

Friday, 30 December, 2011 - 1:41 pm

I’d like to write today about a special woman I had the merit to meet and know. She represented, in the fullest way, the beauty of a Jewish mother and grandmother. I’m talking about Chani’s bubby, Mrs. Gita Ceitlin, who passed away last week in Montreal.

It’s impossible to summarize the eighty eight years of her life, from being born in communist Russia, to raising a beautiful family in Canada. I’ll share with you one episode that occurred just days before her passing, which perhaps demonstrates the values she lived by and instilled in her children and grandchildren.

Mrs. Ceitlin had great difficulty breathing even with her respirator. As a result, she was taken into the ICU of a Montreal Hospital on Friday afternoon. While in the hospital unit, she indicated to her daughter to come close, pointing at a woman who just came in, as she would like to say something. “She looks Jewish,” she said, “can you go speak to her?” Chani's aunt wasn’t too keen on going after this patient, but her mother insisted. “You should tell her about Shabbat candles,” she said in a very low voice. After her daughter completed her mission, she had some additional instructions: “Please go to my room,” she requested, “and get a Jewish calendar to give her, so she'll know the appropriate time to light candles every Friday”...

To go beyond yourself in times of such weakness and pain, to think about light you can bring to another when your world is glooming, is a great virtue; however, that attention to the fine details, to confirm that it will be done in the ideal way – I believe this describes the character of bubby. She didn’t only always want to do the right thing; she wanted to do it perfectly. I believe she passed this quality on to her future generations...

Mrs. Ceitlin was a very small lady, and one of the most humble people you would ever meet. Even at the weddings of her grandchildren, she would be found sitting quietly in the corner, with a shy smile... She stayed away from any attention or Kovod. I know she wouldn’t approve of me writing her praise, yet if she knew that this incident might inspire somebody, I’m sure she'd be pleased to give up even her humility for the sake of bringing more light to another...

May she rest in peace and may her memory be a blessing for her entire family.

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