Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Remembering Reumah

My first cousin once removed Reumah Rekhav died yesterday in Israel at the age of 94.   She was a most fascinating, wonderful woman who lived an extraordinary life.

I will share some of my memories including what I’ve been told over the past decades.
Gertrud Marx was born May 11, 1919 the younger daughter of Hermann Marx and his wife.   She was named after her paternal grandmother who had died several years earlier.   

As a young child she happily played with my father who was 10 ½ months older than her.   At the 80th Birthday gathering of their paternal grandfather in 1923, they are clearly two of the youngest in the group picture.   Around this time they determined that they would marry each other when they grew up.   They loved to dress up together.

In 1933, upon arriving in Haifa on a ship from Europe, she left older sister Kitty,  who had met her there, with a young man on the back of his scooter roaring away (somewhat shocking her sister I believe).

Later on she changed her name and was “Reumah” thereafter.    My father was very happy to be reunited with her on our family trip to Israel in the spring of 1963.   Reumah had eventually become the secretary of a high level leader (perhaps  the president) of Bank Leumi.

Unlike most of our other relatives, Reumah never married.    Unlike most of our other relatives, Reumah was a vegetarian.

I was told that she brought transcendental meditation to Israel.   She certainly was a non-conformist in many ways.     It was a joy to stay as her guest at her Tel Aviv apartment.   While much of the food that she prepared for us wasn’t familiar to me, it certainly was excellent and very healthy.

Around 35 years ago she visited us in Madison, Wisconsin on her way to some training at the Maharishi University (in Fairfield, Iowa).   My mother, wife, she and I had a delightful day including seeing the geese at the Horicon Marsh.   When eating in a restaurant my mother felt compelled to tell her that she might not want to eat the pie because it probably had lard in its crust.

Sometime proximate to then, my wife and I, while visiting her in Israel, went on an Israeli bus tour with another relative to see some beautiful flowers in a rural, hilly area.   She helped translate some of what the guide said so that we could understand.

In her later years she shared much of her life with Aharon who is also a most interesting person.    Until her health interfered around age 90, they went together to peace demonstrations and other political actions around Tel Aviv.   If one Googles her name now, one primarily brings up her role as a signatory for peace and justice efforts in Israel.

Reumah was an upbeat, warm, sharing, caring person!   I will always remember her feeling a sense of peaceful strength and the energy of her warm heart.

(Reumah - on left with Mimi - on our Bus Tour)

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