ForeverMissed
Charlotte Spiegelman (née Alter) passed away peacefully the evening of Friday, September 25, 2020, with the love of her family and friends surrounding her.

Charlotte was born in Cambridge, on September 6, 1941 to Ben and Dora. Five years later, her brother, Malcolm, was born. She completed a 6 year Hebrew School program in 4 years and was the first Bat Mitzvah for Temple Beth Hillel in 1954. Charlotte graduated from Girls Latin School in 1959, and attended Barnard College where she received a degree in Art History in 1963. She met the love of her life Arthur in New York City where she was living with a girlfriend. They would marry in March of 1966. 

Two months after they married, they moved to London, where she gave birth to two boys, Michael, born in 1968, and Adam, born in 1971. They returned home less than a year later, and eventually settled in Montclair, New Jersey. She returned to school at NYU, where she received a Masters in Social Work. Charlotte did her post-graduate work at the The Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic where she studied under under the direction of Salvador Minuchin. She had a thriving Marriage and Family Therapy practice for over 30 years.

The Spiegelmans headed west in 1998 and lived in Marina del Rey before settling in their home, which was right off of Melrose, close to all of the action. In the words of her dear friend Vera, “I’ll never forget how Charlotte attacked LA when Arthur was transferred, how she got to know the city so well and how she gave me the elite tour when I was there for a week, going from one thing to another-she knew which road to take best at which time.” Charlotte always threw herself into things she was passionate about.  

Charlotte began working with the Southern California Counseling Center where she volunteered as a clinical supervisor. Her passion was Outreach, and she was an integral part of a team working to empower people living in underserved communities. Whatever she did, she wanted to make sure she was approaching things from a social justice lens.

Charlotte was a Temple Israel of Hollywood board member. She helped found Sages of the Present, was a teacher in the Shabbat Morning Torah Study group, and an enthusiastic participant in the TIOH yearly Women’s Retreat. She served on the board of Ate9 Dance Company, and was always up to attend the opera, ballet, or the hottest new art opening in town. 

She will be deeply missed by her sons: Michael (Karen) and Adam (Melissa); grandchildren: James, Rose, and Alice; brother, Malcolm (Susan) Alter; as well as numerous relatives and friends.

She was predeceased by her loving husband of 42 years, (Arthur); her parents: (Ben and Dora); and her step-mother (Alice).

We will gather for her funeral over Zoom on Tuesday morning September 29th at 10 a.m., and for shiva on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 5 p.m. Please contact her children or Temple Israel of Hollywood if you would like to attend.

Memorial Donations may be made in Charlotte Spiegelman’s name to the National Organization for Women, 1100 H Street NW, Suite 300 Washington, DC 20005.
Posted by Orley Garber on October 14, 2020
I just drove up Fuller on an errand, and continued to your house. I thought maybe if I saw it, I would believe you were gone. It looked different. The car in the driveway. The locked gate. The lowered blinds. But despite the queasiness that immediately overpowered me, I still didn't believe it. Surely the house looked like that because you were away on one of your adventures. I got talking to one of your neighbors, and my first thought was to send you a text to let you know. I guess this is what they call the denial phase of grief. I miss you Charlotte.
Posted by Sarah Greenstein on October 13, 2020
Charlotte was my supervisor for an internship at Didi Hirsch during my first year of MSW school in 2003. I can still remember what it felt like to be in her presence and can say that her guidance and supervision absolutely shaped my commitment to the profession, helping me through a challenging first year placement. As others have said, her combination of wisdom, strength and kindness were very powerful. I am grateful for the impact Charlotte had on me and wish all who loved her comfort and peace.
Posted by Melissa Spiegelman on October 6, 2020
Terence Ford wrote: Charlotte was a rock, an unusual metaphor to use for someone so gentle. When I referred families to her, I knew she could handle them however difficult the cases could be. I am very sad to lose Charlotte, and all the clients who would have seen her in the future are sad, too.

Posted by Melissa Spiegelman on October 6, 2020
Richard Dowaliby wrote: Charlotte always made a point to stop by the front desk , say hi, and always a conversation about family, the Center, and health.
I can’t remember when we first met. Maybe, when she started supervising at the Center in 2005 or earlier? She was one of many
who inspired me to stick around!
I miss you Charlotte!
Posted by Melissa Spiegelman on October 6, 2020
Tony Davis wrote: I cannot help but think of how my brief exposure to Charlotte strongly influenced my style as a couples therapist. There was something bracing and reassuring in the approach she demonstrated during workshops when I was an intern at SCCC. Her style was so opposite to what I thought would make an effective therapist–she was direct, challenging, even confrontive. But I realized that she did it this way for at least a couple of important reasons: because it worked; and because she cared.

Family and couples therapy is a different monster from individual work. It has to be directive and directed, otherwise the therapist will be run over by the clients. Charlotte clearly let people know who was in charge, but her confidence was more like a weighted blanket than a vice grip, because it was delivered with eyes sparkling and mouth corners upturned. She loved the work, and when you love the work your clients feel loved. It was one of the best lessons I could have received. I decided to share about it because I wanted to show that her impact was felt even if it was brief and indirect.

What is a life well-lived? Who gets to decide? I suspect that it is the people who are left behind, the ones who will be remembering. If these testimonies are any indication, then Charlotte’s life was well-lived indeed, and will continue on in the work of the many students and clients whose lives she not only touched, but influenced and changed. She lived a life of purpose regardless of what else was going on, indicating that she was always clear on what direction she was headed: towards Love.
Posted by Melissa Spiegelman on October 6, 2020
Jorie Schuetz wrote: Charlotte, thank you for all of your support, guidance, and humor over this past year. I am so grateful to have been a part of your and Laura’s supervision group. When I think of all of the people you helped over your lifetime, I become overwhelmed. And now, every colleague, trainee, and associate you came into contact with has some Charlotte in their therapy bones, so you will continue to have an impact for decades to come. I admire you very much, and hope I approach life the way you did, Charlotte, with humor, pragmatism, and vivacity. I’ll miss you very much. Wishing you, your family, and your loved ones peace.
Posted by Melissa Spiegelman on October 6, 2020
Allison Crooks wrote: What to even say. I can’t tell you, Charlotte, how often I have your voice in my head while I’m working. You guide so much of what I do in the room and the confidence I have in myself as a therapist. You were always so authentic and funny and honest in that special way that was just the right amount of hard and soft at the same time. I feel so lucky to have ever had the chance to learn from you. You were an incredible supervisor and a truly special human being. You were so smart and so damn good at what you did.

I’ve been saying this all week, but man, what a woman for this world to lose. Thank you for helping me become the therapist I am today. Thank you for giving so much of yourself to us all. Thank you for showing up in the world in exactly the ways that you did.

Zikhronah livrakhah. I know it is for me.
Posted by Melissa Spiegelman on October 6, 2020
Jim Holland wrote: Charlotte was one of a kind. Her wit, humour, and breadth of involvement in the lives of so many, made her such a force for positive change in the world. For nearly 4 years I was incredibly fortunate to benefit from her supervision, both in two of her groups, and individually . I wish I could go back and re-experience the richness of some of those moments again. And while Charlotte’s systemic and family oriented approach was music to my ears, what impacted me the most was her insistence on the primacy of context, and as a result, her commitment to social justice and Outreach work.

Charlotte had so many favorite therapeutic sayings. One that comes to mind is “Ask for what you need, listen carefully to the answer, and celebrate the know!” Another was “You know, there’s a fabulous possibility that they’re not going to change!” It’s difficult to believe that I’ll never hear her say those words again. Her passing comes way too soon and the world is much the poorer for it.
Posted by Melissa Spiegelman on October 6, 2020
Gail Wilburn wrote: Charlotte was a force and it was my good fortune to experience my sharp-witted, gifted and often hilarious mentor and friend, first when training at the Center (we arrived around the same time) and then when I began as ED 12 years ago. Charlotte was the first person in my new office, saying “you can do this.” and “we are all here to support you.” She stopped in almost every week and we talked about many things, especially as the years went by, our grandchildren. One week, Charlotte stopped by to tell me about her latest trip to San Francisco to see her much beloved granddaughter, saying she had given her new Barbie dolls. When I expressed surprise, Charlotte said, “it’s what she loves, so you do what you do.” Later on, I had to confess to Charlotte that I had bought the Barbie Dream House for my granddaughter and we laughed so hard we were in tears. In conversation with SCCC alum friends over the past few days, we said we thought Charlotte would just live forever. She has left us too soon and she leaves a void for all of us, especially her family who she loved so much.
Posted by Melissa Spiegelman on October 6, 2020
Leily Labuda wrote: Charlotte and I were to meet at her house on the last day of August to go over the final paperwork as our group supervision was coming to an end.  In the weeks leading up, I would joke that I was experiencing separation anxiety. Our weekly supervision meetings had become something of a safe haven for me (and I think for all of us) during the pandemic. Her warm and smiling face was usually the first one to greet us as we signed onto our Wednesday zooms. She consistently helped ease our anxieties with her wit and wisdom, rooted in decades of experience. Charlotte was compassionate, whip smart, and as real as they come. She was a straight shooter whose no nonsense style helped me better understand my role as a therapist.

We didn’t get to meet on that last day of August, but I feel so fortunate to have gotten to know her this past year and been inspired by her. Sending love to her family and the SCCC family for this heartbreaking loss.
Posted by Melissa Spiegelman on October 6, 2020
John Rosania wrote: I see Charlotte walking into the Center with her purple streak of hair, sit down in one of the chairs in the group meeting room and wait for supervision to start. I loved her enthusiasm for the work of therapy, for social justice, for making a ruckus in service of others. She is one of people I have met who continually inspired me to do the work that matters, not take myself too seriously, and have a good time while doing it. Charlotte encouraged me to take more risks, to stretch out more and bring myself into the work, and to not worry about ruffling a few feathers in the process. I’ll remember her for her humor, her generosity of spirit and of knowledge and of her time with us at the Center. Charlotte, I will miss and will do my best to help make the changes you wanted to see happen in the world.
Posted by Ellen Kolba on October 4, 2020
The Kolba family remembers Charlotte (and Arthur) well, and Boris and Nick send their condolences to Michael and Adam. We would especially like to thank Michael, who took Boris to Bnai Keshet for the first time—the start of our family’s long and happy relationship with the synagogue.
Posted by Ellen Ellickson on October 4, 2020
Charlotte and I first met in 1959, in New York City, where we were classmates at Barnard College. We would see each other at reunions over the years but our real story began in 2016 when I retired and moved from New Haven CT to Pasadena, to be closer to my son and his family in South Pasadena.

I got in touch with Charlotte after I arrived and --and no one will be surprised to learn-- was welcomed by her with enthusiasm and kindness. She introduced me to her friends, brought me into her book group, and invited me to join her at UCLA cultural events. We met for lunch and events on both the West Side and in Pasadena.

She was thoughtful, smart, and funny –-no better attributes than those can be found in a friend. I was so happy to get to know her in these last few years, and I will very much miss her in all the years to come.
Posted by Marsha Lewin on October 3, 2020
Our lives intersected many times and in many places (school in Boston, Barnard in New York City, & in Los Angeles) throughout Charlotte's too brief life. She was a woman of passion and commitment, with a wonderful mind and wit, who made a difference in all she undertook, and will be greatly missed.
Posted by Theodora McKee on October 3, 2020
Oh Charlotte, I have missed you since you left Montclair, and now I shall miss you forever. I used to say that any time a client made my stomach ache, I would refer them to Charlotte, who could bring her talents and wisdom to the most difficult people. She leaves an empty spot in the world.
Posted by Carol Langbort on October 3, 2020
Most of you don’t know me, but I am probably one of Charlotte’s oldest friends. We met in 1955, Junior High School age, around13 or 14 yrs. old, when Charlotte and her family moved around the corner from me in the Dorchester/Mattapan area of Boston. We became fast friends and did many,many things together during our teenage years. Charlotte, as you know, was very, very smart, even then. Perhaps some of you didn’t know that she scored a perfect score of 800 in the English SAT, and close to that in the Math.

Although she went on to Girls Latin School for high school, and I did not, we still remained friends. And then for college she bravely went all the way to New York City to Barnard, and I went to the University oof Massachusetts, in Amherst. I remember taking the bus one weekend to visit her there.  We were in different worlds- she, in the middle of Manhattan, and I in the farmlands of Massachusetts. 

Charlotte really wanted to escape from Boston. She knew there was more to the world than the Jewish/Irish Catholic ghetto in which we grew up. 

Unfortunately, we lost touch after college.  I remember that my father was shocked and hurt (for me) to hear that she was getting married in a temple near where we lived, and I wasn’t even invited to her wedding. After all, we had been friends for so many years; she spent many summer weekends with my family at Nantasket Beach, and she had been such a big part of my life. 

We’ve discussed this several times over the years. She told me that she really wanted to get away from her hometown, and everyone associated with it. That was some time in the 60s. 

I didn’t hear from Charlotte again until the 1990s, some 30 years later. She was coming to a professional conference in San Francisco, and she knew that I lived there. Luckily, I hadn’t changed my name when I got married, and she easily found my phone number. (This was before the internet.) She came to the conference and stayed with me. And she brought me 2 pieces of jewelry as gifts that I still have and will treasure.  It was as though the 30 years had not passed and we had a great time reconnecting. And luckily for me, she approved of my husband, and they became great friends, too. After that, I visited her in New Jersey, and she and Arthur made several trips visiting us in California. The four of us enjoyed the times we spent together, in San Francisco and in the Sierras.

And then, the best thing happened to me. I was so happy when, in 1998, Charlotte and Arthur moved to Los Angeles. Then our friendship was in full swing. Although we lost out on 30 years, we had another 30 years of close friendship. We visited each other often. She often stayed with me when she came to San Francisco to see her son Michael and his family. And Bill and I visited them in Los Angeles.  And we frequently talked on the phone. And in later years, Charlotte and Lou also came and stayed with me.

And when we both became widows, we had lots to talk about. She was such a good, special friend-compassionate, understanding, encouraging.  

In January 2019, She and Susan Coti and I spent a delightful week together in Palm Springs at the International Film Festival. I spent Rosh Hashanah, 2019, in Los Angeles with Charlotte and her family. Although I knew Adam, it was a joy to spend so much time with him and his family that weekend. During that visit, I attended holiday services at her Temple. On an earlier visit I had joined her at her Torah Study group. During COVID, she invited me to attend the Torah Study Group each Saturday, easy to do on ZOOM. And so, for the past 6 months, we saw each other every Saturday morning, and then spoke on the phone each Saturday after the group ended. 

I texted her after the Saturday morning that she didn’t attend. Unbeknown to me, she was in the hospital, and she told me to call her. I was remiss and didn’t call her right away. But it was too late, as I received that fateful call from Melissa a couple of days later. Oh, how I wished I had called her right back…..

I am so sorry and heartbroken that I was not able to visit her in the hospital. A combination of COVID and my own unexpected recent surgery made it impossible for me to visit. But I thank Michael for putting me on the speaker phone and I was able talk to her that way, and I told her that I loved her.

Her death is a tragedy. Our friendship was very special and I will miss her terribly. 
Posted by Paula Span on October 3, 2020
As a Montclair friend, I missed the LA years, the purple hair, and Arthur's illness. But I still walk past their house on North Fullerton and think of it as the Spiegelmans' house.

We knew each other through Bnai Keshet, and as a fellow journalist, I ran into Art all the time at events in the city.

And since we exercised together at The Total Workout for many years, I particularly remember Charlotte's dry humor. Somehow we were talking about multiple personality disorders, and Charlotte said she had treated people with that illness. 

"That must be just fascinating," I said.

She shrugged. "The wrong personality is always coming out at 2 in the morning," she said.

May her memory be for a blessing.
Posted by Irene Magerman on October 2, 2020
Charlotte will be missed.

Charlotte and I were (will always be) first cousins. Even though our fathers were brothers, she and my mother were very close. That deep affection possibly stemmed from their mutual love of education. My mother, Auntie Pauline, went to law school in the ‘30’s and always encouraged Charlotte to pursue her dreams. They were the best examples of the concept that you can take the girl out of Boston, but she won’t leave her Boston accent behind. At 6 years old Charlotte was a flower girl at my parents’ wedding.

Shortly after my husband and I moved to Scottsdale with our 5-year-old twins, Charlotte and Arthur moved to LA. It became a tradition that as a family they visited us every year during winter break. After all she had to see my mother as well as Bonnie and her girls. They always brought the best gifts! For over 20 years we celebrated milestone events whether joyous or sad together. We solved the world’s problems sitting for hours at her house or mine or on long distance calls. Beth and Hayley reminded me that their first big trip away from home was to visit LA, Charlotte style.

Charlotte has rejoined her parents and mine, her husband and mine. I would not be surprised if on her way she made friends with another special lady, the giant whose funeral was on the same day, Notorious R.B.G.
Posted by Joan Berzoff on October 2, 2020
Charlotte's life was so rich: with friends, family, grandchildren, husbands. She exuded joy and curiosity wherever she went. We were so lucky to know her at the Smith College School for Social Work. Her humor, her warmth were infectious, and she is sorely missed!
Posted by Jamie Rubin on October 1, 2020
I met my friend Charlotte about four years ago on a weekend retreat. I heard her speak on a panel and immediately recognized she had a spark - something I wanted to experience closer up. I found her later that evening, introduced myself, and felt an instant connection. We discovered we both went to Barnard (although she was a few decades older than I am so sadly we never crossed paths on campus). I learned she was a therapist and we had a mutual interest in the Hollywood farmers' market. She had a patch of dyed blue and purple hair, the kind my 12 year old wants, but less commonly found on women in their 70s. There was really something different and special about Charlotte.

I left the weekend wanting to see more of this woman I had just met. There was something about her that was just so appealing. I wanted to pursue her in the way one might pursue a love interest but it wasn't romantic: I just knew I wanted to be friends with someone as smart and interesting and comforting as Charlotte. As luck would have it, I spotted her a few weeks later on a Sunday morning at the farmers' market. I re-introduced myself but it wasn't necessary - she too remembered our weekend together and I got up the nerve to "ask her out." She was into it and we made a date to meet for coffee. Our friendship blossomed from there.

Charlotte was older than I am but she felt timeless. I loved how rebellious she was. I loved how we disliked the same people but because she had years of experience as a social worker, she was able to explain to me why people were acting the way they were which always made me feel better (even if they still drove me crazy). We always seemed to end up on the same committees with volunteer activities we were involved with and we were board members of the same organization which meant I always had someone to sit next to and gossip with at meetings, something I was grateful for when topics got heated and we were able to exchange knowing glances at one another.

I spoke to Charlotte throughout the pandemic. As a widow, but more importantly, as an extremely social person, I worried about how she was faring living alone. Of course she was doing just fine - she had created a book club with Barnard alums from her year and was busy with so many Zoom meetings as a volunteer throughout the day. She had plans to repaint her office (I told her it was a mistake to get rid of the signature pink walls in her office she was growing tired of). She told me about the international crime dramas she was watching. I told her where I was getting really great lettuce through a little-known box delivery service and my husband left one on her doorstep with some homemade salad dressing. She was getting into making soups and promised me some.

A few weeks ago Charlotte missed a meeting we were supposed to be on together and I learned she was in the hospital. I knew she'd be fine; she was in great health - only a few months before we went into quarantine she traveled to Egypt with a big group. But as it turns out, she wasn't fine and before I had a chance to have a real conversation with her about what had happened, we lost her last Friday night. It's been almost a week and I'm still in shock. She was so vibrant. She felt so young. She had so much more left to accomplish. We had so many things to look forward to laughing about together. I still can't believe it.

As is customary for Jews, Charlotte's family planned a funeral and has been "sitting shiva" for her this week. In the before times, that meant whomever was in town would come over to her son's house with food and everyone would sit around and tell stories about Charlotte. In the new now times, friends and family from all over the country and world can join in via Zoom to share their memories.

As a dear friend of Charlotte's, I joined both the funeral and the first two Zoom shivas. I felt it was a duty to honor our relationship and I knew I needed a place to grieve with other people who cared about her the way I did. What I did not expect to feel was a reminder of my insignificance in this world but that's what I got. And it was actually wonderful. Let me explain:

As expected, Charlotte's children, brother, and cousins had lovely things to say about her remarkable brilliance and character. What I wasn't expecting to hear was how many other people seemed to have the same kind of friendship with her that I had - one where we thought we were one of the most important people in her life. She really made me feel that way. Only I learned she made dozens of other people feel that way too, people I'd never even heard of. I realized pretty quickly I wasn't one of the most important people in her life; there were just so many of us. It was like showing up to a family reunion and learning your grandparents had dozens of other children and grandchildren you'd never met or knew about. Suddenly you didn't feel so special. You realize with all this competition, you're probably not the "favorite." The funny thing was, other people started to acknowledge this same exact feeling at the shiva. We all had the same reaction. Lots of people were also "victims" of Charlotte's spotlight and the feeling that it was only shining on you. The shiva was a bit of a support group for learning you're not so special - the kind of group Charlotte probably would have run in her days as a therapist.

There is a Jewish practice to keep two slips of paper on you at all times, one in each pocket. On the first piece of paper the following is written: "the world was created for me." The second reads, "I am but a speck of dust in this vast universe." In short, you are supposed to remind yourself both of how special you are, and of how insignificant you are every day. The tradition is to take out the appropriate slip of paper when you need it (easier said than done).

Knowing Charlotte had an impact on so many people was humbling - that's where I come in as a speck of dust among her vast universe of friends. But I also know that when I was in our friendship, I felt like the center of the universe. I felt like I was the only one to have that connection with her. I marvel that she was able to give that certainty and share that spark with so many people individually, without any of us realizing she was giving it away elsewhere too. And I wonder what that must have felt like for her. Was it a burden to hold so many people close, or was that her secret sauce? Is that how she derived her energy and her love and her specialness?

I can only hope that when I'm gone, friends of mine who have never heard of each other bond over how special I made them feel. I am a better person for having known Charlotte and I will treasure her spark as I move forward without her. It's comforting to know how many people will be able to do the same.
Posted by Charleen Adams on October 1, 2020
I met Charlotte through a colleague, whom Charlotte had met on one of her overseas adventures. Coming from outside London, I was new to LA. My colleague (who lives in DC), wanting to ease my transition back to the US, recalled she’d met this vivacious person, with blue and pink in her hair, who was also on the board of a temple in Hollywood. She told me about Charlotte’s “Old women are invisible” (her reason for the blue and pink streaks). I was intrigued: Charlotte’s unique charisma preceded her. Soon Charlotte and I were emailing about Saturday morning Torah study.

I biked from Duarte to Hollywood to come to Torah study, and Charlotte and I went out for brunch afterwards. We discovered many commonalities: we’d both felt lonely and experienced anti-Semitism in England, both once had female bosses who treated us badly, and both loved art. We developed a fast and heartfelt friendship. For the time I was in LA, we spent various holidays together: among them New Year’s, Rosh Hashana, and Thanksgiving. We got together a few times a month for various outings. When more time than that passed, Charlotte would say, “It’s been too long.”

During shiva, I’ve listened to others share their memories of Charlotte. I’m struggling about which ones of mine to share with you. The reason is that, as her friend, I know things that Charlotte wouldn’t readily share with her children, temple, or clinical colleagues. But we all know her candidness. So, I hope it won’t come as too much of a surprise to hear that Charlotte was an atheist, an atheist who deeply loved Torah. She was dating Lou Breger, after all, widely known for his secularism, skepticism, and scathing biographies of Freud. 

Before Charlotte went into the hospital, she told me of Lou’s death. For two years, she had struggled with losing him piece-by-piece to Parkinson’s. By the time he died, Lou was not even able to read or dial on his phone. Charlotte remarked many times over the course of his decline that she couldn’t emotionally invest like she had with Arthur. Charlotte was strong and judicious. She protected herself from the unnecessary anguish of becoming Lou’s primary caretaker, while still being there for him. She kept true to her boundaries on this. She chose life and to continue filling hers with enriching experiences. On more than one occasion, Charlotte would lean over to me during services at Temple Israel and express her pain that Arthur wasn’t there. Lou accepted that and loved Charlotte. The last thing Lou said to me, when I’d visited him in a nursing home, was that Charlotte was the best person he knew.

Charlotte reported that there weren’t many memorials for Lou, unlike how we are having these for Charlotte. But Lou, of course, was intentionally distant from community. Charlotte wrapped herself in it, and, as we know, not just at Temple Israel. Charlotte had recently read Julian Barnes’ The Only Story with a book group of female friends, for instance. She also celebrated birthdays, dined out, and saw films with this group, who were dear to her. Films I saw together with them included BlackKkKClansman by Spike Lee and Amazing Grace about Aretha Franklin.

Charlotte had a wealth of stories about clinical supervision and wisdom. During her own training, she had a supervisor who resented her skills and derided her clothing, claiming Charlotte showed too much skin. This was about a supposedly scandalous collar bone. Charlotte, like Lou, had rejected many aspects of depth psychology, and instead listened with empathy. True, sensible, and unaffected empathy—not pity. It was genuine and spilled over from her practice as a social worker into her interactions with all of us, which I saw at Torah study and experienced first-hand. She had shared the stories of her jealous supervisor in response to painful tales I’d told her about a former boss of mine. Hearing that she had gone through it too was instantly relieving and healing. She got it. She got lots of things about people.

One time, at lunch with Charlotte and Lou, the topic of taking psychedelics came up. Lou told me I absolutely had to try acid at least once in my lifetime. Charlotte wasn’t so sure about that.

About me moving to Boston, Charlotte thought I might meet a nice Jewish man to marry at Temple Israel in Brookline. I now live in Brookline. I told Charlotte it reminded me of her neighborhood in Hollywood, except that the 19th-century-attired men here wear Borsalino hats and not high-rising shtreimels.

The hardest part about leaving LA was leaving Charlotte. The last time we had dinner together, I told her I wished I could see her at least three more times before going; I knew the moments were precious. In some corner of my mind, I fantasied about not moving to Boston at all and moving in with Charlotte! Forget my job in science. Just hang out with Charlotte! Really. I’ve never had any other friend that I’ve wanted in my life so much.

In no particular order, here are things I know about Charlotte: 
• She cherished the sooty chimney sweep in her house (next to the fireplace) and art given to her and made by friends. One drawing is of a little girl whose face looks mature beyond her years. 
• She had a membership at MoMa and went often. She and I went on several occasions.
• She liked David Brooks’ writing.
• She loved Israel and Israeli food.
• She liked good coffee and getting flowers from the Farmers’ markets.
• She spoke often of her grandkids (there may still be some stickers from one of them on her office door, the one leading to the backyard).
• She enjoyed the Berkshires and teaching at Smith College (she had amusing stories about the student culture).
• Though it already seemed clean to me, she had had her beautiful white furniture cleaned to host some friends from Barnard.
• She felt a particular bond with Steve in Torah study, despite also not jiving with his frequent mentions of “HaShem”.
• She had to fight Arthur to buy their house on N. Fuller; she saw its potential, enjoyed sitting in the backyard during COVID, and liked the neighborhood.
• She watched Shtisel on Netflix and was critical of ultra-Orthodox Judaism, especially the aspects related to women.
• She liked sitting outside with friends at the Angelini Osteria on Beverly Blvd.
• She enjoyed going to Catholic cathedrals in other countries and soaking in the architecture and art.
• She usually had a CD of Franz Schubert music in her car or kitchen. But she liked non-classical music too. After we saw the Aretha Franklin movie, we came back to her place for dinner and she played various African American folk music from the 60s-present. She also liked “The Boss”. 
• She enjoyed the atmosphere at Eataly. We ate there once.
• She was very smart and far too classy to throw it in your face. Her intellect was integrated into every part of her.
• This was a tough year: her car was stolen and Lou died. Despite these setbacks and heartaches, Charlotte wasn’t embittered. When her car was stolen, her mind was actually on someone at Temple Israel who had died. She relayed her experiences about their shiva.
• When she taught Torah, she saw the family relationships in the texts.

I will greatly miss Charlotte for her kindness and many fine qualities. She modelled how to live well, with the importance of community, Torah, good company, family, empathy, and honesty. About honesty, during our last phone call, she quipped: “We’ve been talking about an hour. That’s probably enough.”

I loved that clarity and candor and her.
Posted by Melinda Bailey on October 1, 2020
The first time I met Charlotte, she taught me something. She was talking about an exercise class she'd attended regularly. There was a new guy in the class, and he went right up front, but he didn't know the moves, so Charlotte said, "I don't care. I just pushed him right out of my way." I laughed, but I always remembered that. Now, whenever the new guy who doesn't know as much as I do gets in my way, I push him to the side.
The last time I saw Charlotte, we were at my daughter's and her grandchild's ballet class. I was chatting with Mike, and we started to complain about something. Charlotte's eyes lit up, and she said, "Oh yeah!" And she joined in, and we had a great time complaining about whatever it was. I can't remember. I just remember that smile, that laugh, and that lovely accent that always reminded me of home.  I wish I'd had more and better time with her, but I'm grateful for the time I spent with dear Charlotte.
Posted by Jerry Butler on October 1, 2020
I first met Charlotte when she joined the ATE9 Dance Company Board of Directors when I was Chair. She had a tremendous influence and was a recognized asset to the Board from the very moment she joined. Charlotte had a way of getting everyone on the same page and in some level of agreement regardless of their individual feelings about any issue. Her disarming manner was a calming influence to every Board meeting and she held the respect of everyone. The meetings at her house were never to miss. Although neither myself or Charlotte are or were current members of the ATE9 Board, I know I speak for all of the Board, the Staff and the Dancers in saying how much Charlotte will be missed.
Posted by Melissa Spiegelman on September 30, 2020
Marianne Diaz wrote: Charlotte Spiegelman did so much for Outreach Services at the Center. She was ready at a given moment and she would step in and support the things we were doing is pursuit of providing social justice informed services at SCCC.                                                     

She called me the Rock Star and always hugged me and smiled that big joyous way. She would find time to sit with me and care about my life and asked how I was holding up.

This has been a rough year in so many ways. This, out of the blue, shook me. I had just spoken to her about her return after the surgery. She reminded me that this Outreach work is what excites her, what she got into the field to do. She wanted to, as we say in Outreach, chop it up, deconstruct and grind out ways to be more aware of the impact of our services and how they are delivered directly affects the empowerment of communities.

I love Charlotte, we had a special connection. Our spirits spoke to each other. I felt comforted by her presence. She would tell me often that the direction I was moving in was what she will always want to be a part of. We had plans for her to be in Watts when COVID-19 would allow. I didn’t have a back up plan for this. There is no back up plan for this loss, this void.

I can hear her say to me. “You always will find a way and it will be what makes sense in that moment.” Hard to imagine as I write this in this moment that I will find a way. I will miss my friend forever. She is my Rock Star.

Marianne Diaz
Director of Outreach Services
Southern California Counseling Center
Posted by Melissa Spiegelman on September 30, 2020
Marlene White Lenard wrote: I gasped and shouted, “Oh, no!” when I just read that Charlotte has died. I had just done that when RBG died last week.  The sounds of my own voice mixed with the lonely feelings were so similar in this silence of the isolation: and neither Charlotte or RBG were supposed to die now. They were supposed to wait until their work and fun with us/for us and so many others was done. Nobody else can do it in quite the same gifted way. And it is just not done yet.

Charlotte was so important to my SCCC experience, to my becoming a therapist quite late in my life and my becoming a good therapist. She was my group supervisor and then I was blessed to have her as my personal supervisor, meeting in the comfort of her home, at her dining table. She was so good to me, so wise, so centered and just so much fun. She saw me through the loss of my sister, she saw me through the joys of my children. And saw me through the joys of her own children!  I had not seen her recently enough, but Charlotte was, AND IS, always with me.

I love that the details of others’ experiences with her are being recorded here ….. because I am able to recognize and share them with you. We are so so lucky to have had her touch, aren’t we?!

I am sad today. Her name will be on my lips and in my heart tonight and tomorrow as we make our way through another Yom Kippur. I am just so sorry that “Charlotte Spiegelman” is part of this holy day……way too soon.
Posted by Melissa Spiegelman on September 30, 2020
Charles Andrews wrote: This is still too much for me to properly say what I have to say. This is just not right. She should have had much more time. We should have had more time with her in this world. After hearing Charlotte give a presentation at the SCCC family trainings, I approached her afterwards and basically begged her to be my individual supervisor. She thought it over, and then did me the great honor of saying yes. She supervised my last year-and-a-half at SCCC and I will be forever grateful for that. Among so many things she helped me understand, two things stand out: she gave me permission to take chances, to take a risk, and to go with my gut when it seemed most appropriate. That was a great gift. The other was something she said in my final supervised group at SCCC (with Laura and Lawrence, hi guys!) I don’t recall the exact context but she remarked “I’ve been doing this a long time and the longer I do it the more uneasy I feel about suggesting that I can help someone solve their problem. I really try not to do that anymore.” As a new therapist I struggled with that kind of thing for awhile, but Charlotte’s thought about it has never left me, and she was right, as she nearly always was. I grieve for you Charlotte. It was too soon.
Posted by Melissa Spiegelman on September 30, 2020
Margo wrote: To Charlotte,
I remember when I met you in 2005. You had signed on to be a supervisor and I was executive director. Each week when you arrived for supervision, you would make a point of popping into my office. I remember those visits fondly, we covered clothes, food, hair (who else but you could get away with the purple streak?), and maybe eventually we’d get around to Center business. Your smile, goodness, spirit, intelligence, humor…really the list goes on…was a gift to us all. The Center advanced in training and supervision because of you. You sent so many therapists out into the world knowing what mattered most, and we will remember and miss you always.

xxoo
Margo
Posted by Melissa Spiegelman on September 30, 2020
John Rosania wrote: I see Charlotte walking into the Center with her purple streak of hair, sit down in one of the chairs in the group meeting room and wait for supervision to start. I loved her enthusiasm for the work of therapy, for social justice, for making a ruckus in service of others. She is one of people I have met who continually inspired me to do the work that matters, not take myself too seriously, and have a good time while doing it. Charlotte encouraged me to take more risks, to stretch out more and bring myself into the work, and to not worry about ruffling a few feathers in the process. I’ll remember her for her humor, her generosity of spirit and of knowledge and of her time with us at the Center. Charlotte, I will miss and will do my best to help make the changes you wanted to see happen in the world.
Posted by Melissa Spiegelman on September 30, 2020
Leily Labuda wrote: Charlotte and I were to meet at her house on the last day of August to go over the final paperwork as our group supervision was coming to an end.  In the weeks leading up, I would joke that I was experiencing separation anxiety. Our weekly supervision meetings had become something of a safe haven for me (and I think for all of us) during the pandemic. Her warm and smiling face was usually the first one to greet us as we signed onto our Wednesday zooms. She consistently helped ease our anxieties with her wit and wisdom, rooted in decades of experience. Charlotte was compassionate, whip smart, and as real as they come. She was a straight shooter whose no nonsense style helped me better understand my role as a therapist.

We didn’t get to meet on that last day of August, but I feel so fortunate to have gotten to know her this past year and been inspired by her. Sending love to her family and the SCCC family for this heartbreaking loss.
Posted by Melissa Spiegelman on September 30, 2020
Gail Wilburn wrote: Charlotte was a force and it was my good fortune to experience my sharp-witted, gifted and often hilarious mentor and friend, first when training at the Center (we arrived around the same time) and then when I began as ED 12 years ago. Charlotte was the first person in my new office, saying “you can do this.” and “we are all here to support you.” She stopped in almost every week and we talked about many things, especially as the years went by, our grandchildren. One week, Charlotte stopped by to tell me about her latest trip to San Francisco to see her much beloved granddaughter, saying she had given her new Barbie dolls. When I expressed surprise, Charlotte said, “it’s what she loves, so you do what you do.” Later on, I had to confess to Charlotte that I had bought the Barbie Dream House for my granddaughter and we laughed so hard we were in tears. In conversation with SCCC alum friends over the past few days, we said we thought Charlotte would just live forever. She has left us too soon and she leaves a void for all of us, especially her family who she loved so much.
Posted by Melissa Spiegelman on September 30, 2020
Jim Holland wrote: Charlotte was one of a kind. Her wit, humour, and breadth of involvement in the lives of so many, made her such a force for positive change in the world. For nearly 4 years I was incredibly fortunate to benefit from her supervision, both in two of her groups, and individually . I wish I could go back and re-experience the richness of some of those moments again. And while Charlotte’s systemic and family oriented approach was music to my ears, what impacted me the most was her insistence on the primacy of context, and as a result, her commitment to social justice and Outreach work.

Charlotte had so many favorite therapeutic sayings. One that comes to mind is “Ask for what you need, listen carefully to the answer, and celebrate the know!” Another was “You know, there’s a fabulous possibility that they’re not going to change!” It’s difficult to believe that I’ll never hear her say those words again. Her passing comes way too soon and the world is much the poorer for it.
Posted by Melissa Spiegelman on September 30, 2020
Jorie Schuetz wrote: Charlotte, thank you for all of your support, guidance, and humor over this past year. I am so grateful to have been a part of your and Laura’s supervision group. When I think of all of the people you helped over your lifetime, I become overwhelmed. And now, every colleague, trainee, and associate you came into contact with has some Charlotte in their therapy bones, so you will continue to have an impact for decades to come. I admire you very much, and hope I approach life the way you did, Charlotte, with humor, pragmatism, and vivacity. I’ll miss you very much. Wishing you, your family, and your loved ones peace.
Posted by M L on September 30, 2020
Larry from SCCC wrote: Oh, Charlotte, I’m going to miss you! You left us way too soon, and at a time when we could really use your sparkle. We’re just going to have to keep your spirit alive in us going forward. The frequent twinkle in your eye is how I will most remember you.

You and I go way back. We’ve been together at SCCC since you first showed up, and was I glad to see you. We both go further back than that, as we’d been around the worlds of Family Therapy since very close to the beginnings, when seeing families at all was radical. We both know how fun it was to push those boundaries. When I think of your work with families, and with students of family therapy, I don’t know anyone still living who knows how to push as hard—yet as playfully—as you did. I miss all of our old teachers and mentors, as I know you did, and now I’m going to have to miss you, too. It’s getting lonely.
Posted by Ariel Carpenter on September 30, 2020
Charlotte and I sat on the board of Ate9 together. When my husband became sick, she immediately came to my side and helped support me through a very difficult time. She was so vibrant and alive, it's truly hard to believe she is no longer here. I still remember when she added a purple streak in her hair! I'm so shocked at her passing, but cherish that she was in my life for the relatively brief time I knew her.
Posted by Lauren Eber on September 30, 2020
I had the great joy of getting to know Charlotte at Temple Israel of Hollywood. We did social justice work together, and we joined the TIOH Board at the same time. Charlotte was such a force and a presence. She was thoughtful, and her opinions were strong, wise, and expressed with good humor, or when appropriate, with righteous anger. It was impossible to be in a meeting with Charlotte and not both laugh and think at least once. I had so much fun with her on one occasion when she attended a fundraising event I co-hosted. It was a pop-up street art gallery, with a discussion by some prominent LA street artists. Charlotte "got" the art and the artists, their stories, and what they were expressing, in a way most people, many much younger than her, did not. She was hip, fun, and original--one of the people I most loved running into at TIOH events--and I will so greatly miss her wry wit righteous spirit.
Posted by Allison Crooks on September 30, 2020
What to even say. I can’t tell you, Charlotte, how often I have your voice in my head while I’m working. You guide so much of what I do in the room and the confidence I have in myself as a therapist. I hope you know how incredibly important and formative you were for so many of us growing therapists.

You were always so authentic and funny and honest in that special way that was just the right amount of hard and soft at the same time. You were always exactly what I needed, exactly when I needed it. I feel so lucky to have ever had the chance to learn from you. You were an incredible supervisor and a truly special human being. You were so smart and so very good at what you did.

I’ve been saying this all week, but man, what a woman for this world to lose. Thank you for helping me become the therapist I am today. Thank you for giving so much of yourself to us all. Thank you for showing up in the world in exactly the ways that you did.

Zikhronah livrakhah. I know it is for me.
Posted by Amber Kelly on September 30, 2020
I had the honor of meeting Charlotte through the Smith College School for Social Work, where we both taught in the summer. Charlotte's humor, clinical understandings, and take on the world were striking and inspiring. Her ability to hold complex situations with both reverence and silliness were great to be in the presence of. I am so sad to hear of her loss to us all. She is certainly someone I'm glad to have shared some time and space on this earth with.
Posted by Michele Gilbert-Rotman on September 29, 2020
Charlotte was my Mother’s younger first cousin and they were very close, so Charlotte has always been a fixture in my life. She was the big sister I never had.

When we were growing up in NY, my family always spent the holidays with the Spiegelmans in N.J. And the dinner conversations with Charlotte and Arthur were never dull—they were so smart, so fascinating to me—I admired them so much.

I had a difficult relationship with my Mother, and I often turned to Charlotte to help me deal with it, she was so insightful—so caring, she always made me feel better and helped me process the feelings I had. When she became a therapist, it didn’t surprise me at all—she had been mine for so long.

When Charlotte and Arthur moved to California, frankly it was a shock because no one could imagine this pair of East Coast intellectuals actually liking it on the West Coast. But she surprised herself and everyone, because she loved it there, and thanks to her I discovered LA and learned to love it there too.

When I was married 25 years ago in Paris, Charlotte and Arthur were there. They were among the first to welcome Frederic, my French husband, into the family. When my sons were Bar Mitzah-ed in Paris, of course Charlotte made the trip. And last year when the twins graduated from Columbia, she was there. And for those of us who know Charlotte well, you know she didn’t show up out of obligation—that wasn’t her style—she showed up because she wanted to celebrate with us, wanted to be part of all those special moments in our lives.

Charlotte and I had a little joke because technically we were first cousins once removed—but we hated that term “once removed” because it didn’t describe our relationship at all so we used to laugh and say we were “cousins never removed”—
And that’s I feel now—Charlotte will never be removed from my life and my heart. I’m so grateful to have had her in my life for so long.



Posted by Winship Cook on September 29, 2020
September 29 - Adam & Michael, Thank you for such a beautiful and loving funeral/memorial service today. Charlotte was an extraordinary person and it was a joy, an honor and “a treat” to call her my friend. We were soul mates and Christopher and I hold dear to our hearts our meal we shared a few months ago in her lovely backyard with food from her favorite Italian restaurant Angelini Osteria. We cherished the fact that we were neighbors and shared the same “hood.” The loss feels almost too much to bear. But we celebrate her life and know her spirit is watching over us all. I hear her laughing ....❤️
Posted by Christopher Cass on September 29, 2020
It is beyond sad that the World no longer has Charlotte to laugh with and enjoy a glass of wine in her garden. A beautiful and remarkable person. I will miss her deeply. Say hello to Arthur when you see him!
Posted by Mike Arkus on September 29, 2020
This is so sad. I remember Charlotte as such a vital person whom I would visit whenever I was in Los Angeles, both before and after the death of Arthur, one of my oldest and best friends.

All my condolences, Michael and Adam, from Mike Arkus
Posted by Evelyn Leopold on September 29, 2020
Charlotte was part of my life since she first met Arthur in the 1960s. We laughed together and hunted for apartments in London and celebrated Michael’s birth. She would stay with me in NYC before her summer classes at Smith College. And we organized a memorial service for Art in New York. I will never forget her laughter and her advice on everyone’s life. One memory is a soup kitchen she supported and insisted I help out only a few days after Arthur’s death. A kind, generous and loving woman. She will be missed by everyone who knew her.


Posted by Orley Garber on September 28, 2020
Our last meeting says everything about who Charlotte was. A former student of mine posted that she was holding an art exhibition at a local gallery. Who could I call to accompany me during a pandemic? Charlotte, of course. We met there. No carpooling these days. Charlotte inspected every painting, and asked the artist about her work with that undivided attention of which so many have spoken in recent days. We left, and reconvened in Charlotte's backyard. Because it was wine time, of course. We shared stories. Charlotte repeated her favorite stories often, because they featured the sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren of whom she was so proud. When it got too dark and chilly, I left, missing the long, hard hug I looked forward to receiving when covid was done. We were to write postcards to voters the following week. We even negotiated the wine. When the day came, it was too hot, but the next weekend would work, right? Wrong. Charlotte was in the hospital, itching to get out and telling me not to worry. And now she's gone, and we must live boldly in her memory. With just the right amount of blue in our hair. I love you, Charlotte.
Posted by Graham Colville on September 29, 2020
We were near neighbors of Charlotte and Arthur in Montclair, New Jersey, from 1984 to 1989. I had joined Reuters in New York in 1974. The Spiegelmans blazed the trail to suburban New Jersey for some of us. They were immensely warm, welcoming, friendly, kind, and funny. It is impossible to imagine how much poorer our lives would have been if we had never met them. Regrettably, even the miracles of social media can't completely break down the inevitable barriers of physical distance: they moved west to California and we moved east to Cyprus: a continent, an ocean and a sea away. But I was in New York again in late 2008 and had an unforgettable long phone call with Arthur before his final illness. Charlotte knew how much we loved them both, because I told her so. My deepest sympathy and love to all of you, from half a world away.
Posted by Ellen Brinks on September 28, 2020
I met Charlotte in January this year, on a trip we both took to Egypt. We loved standing in front of the paintings and relief sculptures and talking about the stories they told and what they might have meant. She loved the expression of passion, rhythm, and movement in art and made me see things with fresh eyes. We began planning trips together, but because of COVID, we had a wonderful email correspondence instead. Charlotte wrote about the absurdities and difficulties of this time, but also a lot about the pleasures of her family (her grandchildren!), her friends, and her community. She made me laugh, a lot, and her unsparing wit made me more honest about myself and the world. I feel so fortunate to have had her in my life and will miss her terribly. 
Posted by Sheila Siegel on September 28, 2020
Charlotte brought me to SCCC. During these months of lock down we met for lunch weekly over face time and even once in person. We shared stories of our long years as practicing therapists. It was so easy with Charlotte as we had the same bullshit meter. She had such a lively mind and a great way of analyzing things. I told her the best thing for me about the lockdown was how much our friendship had deepened. She said, “ I just thought you were being nice to an old lady!”

Charlotte lit up a room. She gave so much to so many. It is such a privilege to be able to have called her my dear, dear friend.


Sheila Siegel
Posted by Laura Collura on September 28, 2020
We had a schtick, the three of us. We’d meet for coffee every Tuesday morning and kvetch about cases around Charlotte’s dining room table. The coffee was strong. The feedback was candid. The laughter was loud.

We fought like little kids for her attention -- Laurence spouting incomprehensible Yiddish phrases that Laura would not understand, and Laura making mean jokes about men that would rankle Laurence.

By the time we had arranged our weekly “consultations,” we were well-versed in the humor and wisdom of vintage Spiegelman. We understood and shared the same philosophy, etched in the pages of the Book of Charlotte, (also known as The Spiegelman Manual):

“Bring in the whole family.” Page 37.

“Tell them the situation is hopeless.” Page 103

"Remember: it's always the same couple. They just go out, change their clothes, and come back in." page 87

And, of course, the evergreen from her never-forgotten husband, Arthur: "You wanna argue, or you wanna go to the movies?” Page 23.

All of these underlying the general principle advanced in Charlotte's ABCs:
Accept, Bicker, or Change.

Both of us were drawn to her after the first Family Systems presentation in Room 14. Here was this dynamic woman, with a thick Boston accent, a wry world view, a knowing glint in her eyes, who loved to brag about how she had studied DIRECTLY with Minuchin and Whitaker. She was a born storyteller, a down-to-earth, genuine, no-bullshitter who called it like she saw it. Charlotte never receded from embracing her robust personality – and neither did we.

Charlotte made an indelible impression on all who met her, from the shores of Boston to the students at Smith College, from Montclair, New Jersey, to the Berkshires, at Temple Israel and at SCCC. We know -- because she made that indelible impression on us.

Charlotte lived and loved with formidable passion. She was not shy about how smart she was, she knew her value and made it clear she had no time to waste. She had things to do. She invested all of herself in those things, whether it was brewing coffee or listening to opera, supporting dance companies or doing Pilates.

She was our mentor, our therapy mom, and we her middle-aged protégés. We are the therapists and the people we are in no small way for having known her. She taught us practically everything about therapy and a lot about life, including how to use the word "fuck" for maximum comic effect.

Great lights cast long shadows, and we will forever stand in Charlotte’s, imbued with some of the light she invested in us through her love, and through our love for her in return.

Laura Collura & Laurence Rosenthal

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Orley Garber on October 14, 2020
I just drove up Fuller on an errand, and continued to your house. I thought maybe if I saw it, I would believe you were gone. It looked different. The car in the driveway. The locked gate. The lowered blinds. But despite the queasiness that immediately overpowered me, I still didn't believe it. Surely the house looked like that because you were away on one of your adventures. I got talking to one of your neighbors, and my first thought was to send you a text to let you know. I guess this is what they call the denial phase of grief. I miss you Charlotte.
Posted by Sarah Greenstein on October 13, 2020
Charlotte was my supervisor for an internship at Didi Hirsch during my first year of MSW school in 2003. I can still remember what it felt like to be in her presence and can say that her guidance and supervision absolutely shaped my commitment to the profession, helping me through a challenging first year placement. As others have said, her combination of wisdom, strength and kindness were very powerful. I am grateful for the impact Charlotte had on me and wish all who loved her comfort and peace.
Posted by Melissa Spiegelman on October 6, 2020
Terence Ford wrote: Charlotte was a rock, an unusual metaphor to use for someone so gentle. When I referred families to her, I knew she could handle them however difficult the cases could be. I am very sad to lose Charlotte, and all the clients who would have seen her in the future are sad, too.

her Life

In her own words, 2018

When I moved from Montclair, NJ to Los Angeles in 1997, my life took a major swerve. Ready to leave my (over) work and big old house, I had agreed to become a trailing wife in a new city. My son Michael already lived in San Francisco. Adam was destined to show up in LA. We became a West Coast family, just like that!

I adjusted to LA within 5 minutes, although I got lost driving for about a year, until a friend told me to remember that the ocean was on the wrong side. These tidbits make life livable. Once I got here, of course I got a job in Massachusetts. Every summer for 14 years I spent a month teaching at Smith School of Social Work and then spent a month in the Berkshires. I had a job in LA at a mental health center that gave me summers off, so I became bicoastal.

But all the fun died when my husband was diagnosed with lung cancer. He was treated (tortured) for four years and died in 2008. He did live long enough to dance at Michael’s wedding and meet his grandson, James. I must say that being widowed is an unbelievable blow. I felt that part of my self was gone and I was very out of balance for about two years. But I woke up one morning and realized I’d not only be okay, but was free to live my life however I pleased. And I have!

I’ve traveled to faraway places. I found a whole new community by joining a temple. I am living the single life that was so short in my youth. I do only work that interests and stimulates me. I belong to three book groups and a Torah study group.

My younger son got married and had two daughters. I still pinch myself that I have three grandchildren, but my heart hurst when I think that they will never know their grandfather Arthur.

Then, the unexpected happened: a romance! A man phoned me, took me out, pursued me. Very old fashioned. As charmed by him as I was, I was afraid to give up a life that revolved mourned me me me. But I’m adjusting. He’s a keeper who’s brought love and romance into my life. I’m looking forward to more of life’s surprises.

Rabbi Michelle's Eulogy

Charlotte Speigelman was born on September 6, 1941 in Cambridge, MA to Dora and Ben Alter.Dora was a local from Cambridge, and her father Ben was from Russia.

She lived in Mattapan with her parents, grandmother and 2 aunts and later moved to Dorchester, MA at the age of 4.

When Charlotte was 5, her brother Malcolm was born and she became an older sister.

In grade school she first attended the William Bradford School and then the Roger Walcott School, while also going to the Walcott Dorchester-Mattapan Hebrew School 5 days a week, Sunday to Thursday!

During the summer you would find Charlotte at Camp Tevya – a Jewish camp in Brookline, New Hampshire.

For Junior High School, Charlotte attended the Solomon Lewenberg Junior High School, in Mattapan and in 1955 she was proud of the fact that she was the first Bat Mitzvah at her synagogue - Temple Beth Hillel in Dorchester.

During High School she excelled at the Girls Latin School in Dorchester and continued her Jewish learning at Hebrew Teachers College, an afterschool program for High School students interested in furthering their Jewish education.

Upon graduating High School in 1959, she earned a seat at her beloved Barnard College in New York City. (I can still hear her saying the words “Barnard” with her Boston accent.She was so proud of being a Barnard alumna – class of 1963 – Majoring in Art History.)

After graduation, while working in New York, she attended a party of a friend and met her beloved husband Arthur.Arthur lived in lower Manhattan at the time and worked as a journalist for a small paper in New Jersey. By 1966 Charlotte and Arthur were married.

Soon afterwards Arthur was offered a job with Reuters in London and they picked up and moved across the sea. Michael was born in 1968 and Adam was born three years later.

They spent 6 years on London, and eventually their expanded family of four, moved back to the States: first to Aunt Judy’s home, then to Fairlawn, NJ and finally to a house in Monte Clair, NJ.

As a mother of young children, Charlotte never ceased working and giving of her time.She earned her master’s degree in social work at New York University in 1976 and worked as a social worker at a few mental health centers. Soon she decided to go out on her own to build up her private practice out of the refurbished basement of their Monte Claire home – often working 8-10 hours a day.She took seriously the importance of the family dynamics of her clients’ situations and often insisted on working with the children and their parents.

And that’s not all – Charlotte never stopped: she earned an advanced degree in Family Therapy at the Philadelphia Family Studies school; worked for the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) helping agents who used fire arms and needed someone to talk with, and taught social work to college students at Smith College’s summer school for 10 years.

Though Arthur was often offered promotions around the world with Reuters, she never wanted to uproot the family – but in 1998, once Michael and Adam were out of the house, she agreed to move across country to Los Angeles for a Reuters’ promotion for Arthur.

Once in LA she worked to get her Social Work license re-certified in this state.Besides building up a new private practice, she also mentored other therapists through the Southern California Counseling Center, supported therapists who were working to help immigrants in detention centers at the Mexican Border, continued to work for the DEA, and was a lead counselor after the fatal shooting at the North Valley JCC in 1999.

Speaking personally now – I remember connecting with Charlotte for the first time after she lost her husband in 2008.She was trying to rebuild her life and wanted to connect to our community, get involved, meet people. She quickly dove right in.

She became an active participant in TIOH’s Shabbat Morning weekly Torah study group – and was one of our excellent lay- facilitators & teachers.In speaking to David Aaronson he relayed so many memories the Torah Study members have of Charlotte: how she taught Torah from angles no one else ever thought of and force people to look at Torah in new ways.She often came in prepared with charts and lists of topics she wouldn’t be speaking about – before she shared what she WOULD speak about.She grasped life by the horns and was often found having lunch or coffee with individuals from the Torah Study group – making each person feel that she was 100% focused on just them.

Charlotte also helped me form Sages of the Present – our 65+ group of TIOH members who gather to study, socialize and enjoy the arts around LA – and sat on our synagogue’s Board of Directors.I remember one Sages event when I asked Charlotte to be one of our speakers and she shared how important it was for her to have friends from different generations – and how she once saved up all her energy to attend a Bruce Springsteen concert with a younger friend and dance and dance the night away – only to collapse at home for 2 days afterward, recovering – but it was worth it.That’s when I said to myself “I want to grow up one day and be like Charlotte”.

She attended every Women’s Retreat we had – speaking on panels, sharing her wisdom and passion for women’s rights and human rights, and again, dancing the night away at our Saturday night parties with people way less than ½ her age.

These past 3 weeks have been emotionally devastating for her family and all of us who cared so much for Charlotte.

She was conscious of her situation – up until the last day of her life.

She knew that she didn’t want her body to be kept alive if she couldn’t be a vibrant participant in our world.

She was very clear about that – with me, Michael, Adam and Melissa.

About a week ago I told her that I loved her.

That I hoped she could pull through this, and breathe gently, but that if she couldn’t, we would all understand and that she could let go.

I told her how much she had taught me – and she raised her eyebrows incredulously.So I shared with her what she taught me and how I admired her blunt way of speaking, her deep compassion, and her fierce love of life.

I asked her if she had any unfinished conversations and without missing a beat she mouthed “Many.” I laughed and she chuckled. I said “I guess that’s life, right? And she nodded.

On Monday afternoon, before she died, I helped her with her deathbed Viddui prayer. I reminded her of how much her children – Michael and Adam, their spouses Karen & Melissa, and her grandchildren James, Rose and Alice loved her.

& how she made a great impact on our world.

The week she died – the Torah portion was Haazeenu.

In it, Moses begins to finish his last speech to the Israelite people before he dies.

Moses compares God to“… an eagle who rouses her nestlings, gliding down to her young” and then carries her young on her “wings” (Deut 32:11).

Rashi (the 11th century commentator) teaches that just like an eagle - God doesn’t press heavily upon people, but hovers above us — touching us and yet not touching us (Rashi on Deut. 32:11).

I thought of Charlotte.

She was like an eagle - strong.

She carried so many of us on her wings.

She touched so many – with her “say-it-like-it is” way of speaking, yet we never felt pushed or pressed upon.

Like the eagle she rode the wind’s current -

holding & touching us.

Zichronah Livracha – may her memory be for a blessing, and may she continue to soar through the heavens in peace.

Malcolm Writes About Charlotte's Early Years

I come to this gathering with a heavy and shattered heart. My dear sister Charlotte meant so much to me...from my earliest memory as a child until her passing this past Friday evening. I

couldn’t have asked for a better sister than Charlotte. She was more to me than just a sibling. She was my mentor...someone I always looked up to and learned from. At times, she was like a mother to me. You could almost say she raised 3 boys. I’d say her personality was formed as a small child when she and my parents lived in a third floor apartment at 52 Hosmer Street in Mattapan with our maternal grandmother, Bubbe Kaplan, and 2 aunts....Ruth and Mollie...Ugi and Yaya. Bubbe had an ironclad will, being widowed at an early age raising 3 very young daughters. She found the strength and confidence to survive and flourish in a world where there was much anti-semitism and women were not treated as equals. She ran her own store. Then she went door to door selling silverware....whatever it took to put food on the table. I’d say that a lot of my grandmother rubbed off on Charlotte at an early age. She developed thick skin and wouldn’t let anyone take advantage of her. Before I was born, my parents had found their own apartment at 8 Jacob Street in Dorchester...on a second floor of a three decker with front and back porches... very popular type of dwelling in Boston, ...especially in Dorchester and Mattapan. Small, but it was home. Someone recently referred to all of us who lived in those houses as the aristocracy of the triple decker. The apartment was much smaller than my grandmother’s...one bedroom, so the dining room was used as a bedroom. Charlotte and I shared a bedroom where we spent much time playing cards and board games ...we played school, charades, and one day, we got to talking about death. She decided to demonstrate to me what dying was about and lay on her bed not moving and completely silent and for an extended period of time. I kept calling out to her and eventually she got up and explained that that was what it was like when someone died. Here we are, some 70 years later.


She taught me the basics on how to play the piano before I started taking lessons. I’m still learning on that same instrument. She taught me some Hebrew before I started Hebrew School. She generously shared these gifts with me. Charlotte had a curious mind and always was seeking the unvarnished truth. You couldn’t put anything over on her. At an early age, she had a sense of what was real and what wasn’t. She was skeptical and it rubbed off on me by example. I was not the most diligent student and one morning at breakfast she noticed me reading a book and inquired. She figured right away that I had a book report due that day and was just getting around to reading it. She was the opposite. She was very diligent in her studies, doing homework while riding from Girls Latin to Hebrew High School on the subway.


One of my favorite stories ...Charlotte was class valedictorian at Hebrew School. During graduation rehearsal the principal, Sidney Mendelsohn, this strict authoritarian dictatorial disciplinarian, wanted all the girls seated in the back row at graduation. Mendy, as we called him, was not well liked. One of the worst things a kid could hear from a teacher at Hebrew School was ....’take your books, and go to Mr. Mendelsohn.’ At around Passover when Hebrew School was in session and the teachers were teaching the songs for the seder, you could hear echoing through the   corridors of the school instead of Day Dayenu “Die Die Mendy”. So, at graduation rehearsal, one of the girls inquired as to why the girds all had to sit in the back row. Mendy publicly humiliated Charlotte by announcing that he didn’t want her talking with the other girls during the ceremony. Not being a shrinking violet, Charlotte got up and told him off… telling him that she wouldn’t invite him to her Bas Mitzvah, she wouldn’t invite him to her wedding....she wouldn’t even invite him to her funeral. She came home that day and told my parents and me at which time I stood up and applauded. At graduation, when Mendy made his remarks, he sarcastically noted how much the kids loved him, adding that they wouldn’t even invite him to their funerals.


Charlotte had a fun side. We used to like to watch Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, and some of the cartoon shows on tv...Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear. We would sit and laugh our heads off. She observed that these cartoons were almost too sophisticated for kids. Yogi Bear would be going around the forest looking for food, knocking on cabin doors asking for a crust of bread, a pizza pie, a chocolate cake.... when Boo Boo asked him, “Yogi, why can’t we eat nuts and berries like all the other bears?” to which Yogi replied... “nuts and berries? YICH.” When I went to camp, that following summer Charlotte wrote me a letter that started off.... Dear Nuts and Berries, YICH! It was so comforting to be away at camp and to receive a letter like that. It was just one of our special little things we shared.


Music was huge part of our lives. We used to listen to Jewish comedy records and big band recordings. Then Charlotte joined a record club and got one record per month. My favorites were Frank Sinatra’s Songs for Swingin’ Lovers and Erroll Garner’s Concert by the Sea. That was more or less the beginning of her turning me onto to jazz, something for which we both had a passion. If nothing else, my love of jazz is one of the greatest gifts Charlotte has given me.


Charlotte and Arthur spent the first 6 years of their marriage in London when Arthur just started working for Reuters. I visited during the summer of ’69 and stayed at their modest apartment. That’s when I met Michael, who was this really cute, lovable, and smiling baby. He’s still cute, lovable and smiling. She showed me around London and took me to Harrod’s, where the queen shops. It was an enjoyable couple of weeks.


So, I always knew that Charlotte was always there, and always there for me. But, of all the wonderful gifts she gave to me… and the world, are my wonderful nephews. I’m so grateful to have Michael and Adam in my life and I’ll carry her loving memory with me forever.


Recent stories
Shared by Carol Wexler on October 15, 2020
Charlotte and I were both born in Cambridge Mass, grew up in suburban Boston and were both Art History majors at Barnard. A year after graduation we were roommates in NYC, the year she met Arthur and I met my husband. She and Arthur were at my wedding in Boston in 1965. I have two wonderful pictures. One is of Charlotte and me at a concert of Diana Ross and the Supremes at a nightclub in NYC in 1965 and the other is of Charlotte and Arthur at my wedding.
After 1966, however, we were living on completely different continents so communication faltered.
We hooked up again at the Barnard 50th reunion in Spring 2013. She looked so terrific. We started to correspond after that and she came to Israel to visit me in Tel Aviv. Then when she became part of the class of 1963 “Renaissance" with other Barnard friends from our dorm days, I celebrated from afar. I think it is because of this link after the 50th that I feel her loss so deeply. She was not just a friend. It is a story of friendship over a lifetime and a testament to the creative energy and accomplishment of our shared education.
Charlotte was an outgoing, vibrant person with a great capacity to love. I always felt she loved me and that love gave me strength. Another Barnard graduate, Jamie Rubin, has already shared here so beautifully about the multitude of people who felt that Charlotte had a special place in her heart only for them. I’m glad I was one of them. I miss her a lot.

Carol Rosenthal Wexler
Sydney, Australia



Shared by Phoebe Prosky on October 10, 2020
Charlotte was a supervisee of mine decades ago.at the Ackerman Institute in NYC, bright, talented and with a great sense of humor.  I saw her very rarely in the intervening years until I moved to LA in August of this year, and she graciously invited me to her back yard (because of the virus) for a visit and to attend a peer supervision group to meet soon. In that all-too- brief evening we got right into the heart of our various concerns.  We talked about our families, and I gained from her crisp and straight-forward approach an example of how I might better address my concerns with my own family.  In that moment Charlotte became my teacher and I her student. Thank you Charlotte for welcoming me to LA and sharing your wisdom with me.  It is wonderful to read all of these testimonials and learn about so many lives you have touched to such beautiful effect


My Dear Friend

Shared by Susan Cote on October 9, 2020
I first met Charlotte 36 years ago on my way to attend a workshop in New York City when I asked a passing group of women for directions.  Charlotte not only helped but invited me to join them, as she and her colleagues were also headed to hear the late, great Carl Whittaker. At that time I was the social worker at a school near her office in Montclair, New Jersey and looking for a therapist to help our students and their families.  I referred the family of a student who was refusing to come to school to Charlotte and the next day he returned to and stayed in school.  She soon became not only one of my best referral sources, but a fast friend and mentor in how to use family therapy strategies within the walls of a school.  Her role as mentor became official when I entered The Center For Family Studies, the post graduate family therapy training program in New Jersey in which she was my principal trainer.  Her influence continues to profoundly affect my work as a family therapist as find myself in every session reciting my mantra, “What Would Charlotte Do?”

My husband and I enjoyed so many dinners, plays, concerts, birthdays, weddings and other family events with Charlotte and Arthur over the years both in Montclair and Los Angeles.  Charlotte and I attended many psychotherapy conferences together and spent extra time exploring New Orleans, Washington DC, Santa Fe, Boston, Baltimore, San Diego and Chicago.  Not all travel with Charlotte was psychotherapy related.  We enjoyed Tanglewood concerts near her cottage in the Berkshires and once drove to Mount Madonna in northern California for a Yoga and Meditation retreat where we spent an entire weekend without wine.  Most recently we attended The Palm Springs International Film Festival.  Everywhere we went Charlotte collected new friends and reunited with old ones.

I will miss her quick wit, her energy, her enthusiasm for new experiences, her intellectual curiosity, her appreciation of good wine and food, her eye for art and her ability to cut through bullshit to get to the heart of issues.  She enriched my life professionally and personally in ways I am still discovering.  Charlotte, I love you, I miss you and will carry you with me always.