ForeverMissed
Stories

Share a special moment from Naomi's life.

Memories of Naomi by Tommy van Leeuwen

Shared by Tom van Leeuwen on May 1, 2021
The van Leeuwen's met the Lashers at Nova Scotia Dance Camp in our home town of Amherst in 1967.  Within a few years, the Lashers and Shermans became great family friends who we would meet on vacations in New York, Maine, Nova Scotia and PEI.  Gordon became my favourite American, an easy going, intelligent true gentle man.
Naomi provided the spice, excitement and storytelling. She also did great impressions, perhaps the most memorable one was of Dr. Ruth Westheimer before she became widely known. Naomi made most of us squirm quite a bit with the explicit content, but I certainly recognized Dr. Ruth's voice, accent and cadence when I heard the real thing;-)
In recent years, I have corresponded with Naomi by email sharing my 'nohkes' with stories of my children's accomplishments, which she LOVED to hear. As many others have shared here family was huge with Naomi. One time, when I shared my daughter's 'All Canadian' certificate signed by our Governor General, Naomi came back with her own Canadian governor general story.

"I remember when Mika and I were on our way to school and we were

stopped by police because the Canadian Governor General, who at that

time was the Earl of Athlone, was visiting Toronto, and his motorcade was

passing by.  Mika who was always a pisser, stuck her head in his limo and

said "Hello, Earl."  The Governor did not even blink.  He smiled at her and

answered "Hello, Little Girl."

That was a long time ago.  When Mika and I were living in Canada."

Condolences to the whole extended family, I will miss this grand woman.

From Ruth's files

Shared by David Sherman on April 19, 2021
From Ruth Sherman’s archives. This is one of the stories shared in an email to Becca in 2003.

Nova Scotia Dance Camp, Amherst 1967: Relaxing at one of our late evening “After Parties”. Alex repeatedly saying he is tired. “Let’s go, Ruth, time to get to bed, gotta get up early for breakfast tomorrow” and so on. Ruth does not budge, too much fun going on. Naomi finally says to Alex loudly in front of the whole group, “So go already, if you are tired go. Why does she have to tuck you in?” Alex went, Ruth stayed and it change our lifestyle from then on.

Thanksgiving weekends at the Lasher’s

Shared by Alison Pepper on April 18, 2021
While I’ve been a family friend for many years and close with Deb and Tom, Dan and Hannah, my connection with Naomi was primarily attending the annual Thanksgiving  Saturday night potlucks and dances for decades. 
These events were a must attend annual ritual so that no matter where I had spent the holidays, I always made sure that I was back by Saturday night for the gathering of family and friends. Great fun evenings with Naomi’s unique touch. She will be missed!

Tante Naomi

Shared by Jamie Irvine on April 10, 2021
For most people, “great aunt” probably means a distant relative, maybe someone only seen in a family tree. In my family, and especially with my great aunt, the title meant “matriarch”. After my bobe died, Naomi took in the whole family, making her home the home for our annual sedar and becoming my surrogate bobe, for what I’m now realizing has been the majority of my life.

Naomi was our larger-than-life leader, the center of the festivities and traditions that have defined my understanding of Judaism and family. I’m going to miss her animated stories, her infectious laughter, and her vibrant energy, which somehow, even in her 90s, seemed like it would never end. I feel very proud and lucky to have had Tante Naomi in my life and I’m going to miss her a lot

Epitaph by Merrit Malloy

Shared by Ron Weston on April 9, 2021

This beautiful poem reflects so much of what Josepha and I have always felt about Naomi, and what she might want to say if she were still with us.

 When I die,
Give what’s left of me away
To children
And old me [to those] that wait to die.
 
And if you need to cry,
Cry for your brother
Walking the street beside you.
And when you need me,
Put your arms around anyone
And give them what you need to give to me.
 
I want to leave you something,
Something better than words or sounds.
 
Look for me in the people I’ve known or loved,
And if you cannot give me away,
At least let me live on in your eyes
And not your mind.
 
You can love me most
By letting hands touch hands,
By letting bodies touch bodies,
And by letting go of children
That need to be free.
 
Love doesn’t die, people do.
So, when all that’s left of me
Is love, give me away.

Family History

Shared by Dan Bish on April 7, 2021
 In 2013 I took a short trip to Riga, Latvia. It had recently been chosen as a European Capital of Culture but my choice of travel destination was more due to a desire to explore the world of my Bobe’s childhood. The land where you could find small chunks of amber among the seaweed seemed too magical to be real. As I gathered information from Naomi before my trip she said “If you go, you can bring me up to date, or maybe the past is better left in the past, and I should let it fade away with my memories.”

At the start of my voyage I might have had some romantic notion of getting back to my roots and getting closer to my ancestors but I feel the main thing that happened was that it helped me distinguish the Mark family history from the country of Latvia. It is a beautiful and interesting place and I loved the food and the long sunsets. But it seemed more like just a place that my ancestors had occupied rather than the source of the alluring nature of my Bobe's stories. It felt to me that Bobe already chose the right things to carry on and what to let fade away.

I have many memories of Naomi that I will carry on. The yearly birthday calls. The expertise she had in dismantling a lobster. Her captivating stories both written and oral. The shrimp cocktails that would appear every time I visited her as a kid after I told her shrimp were my favorite. The rotating cast of joyous friends that appeared wherever she was (her dance hall, Mohonk, the beach, etc.). The bus passenger joke. Knowing all the jokes at Old Jews Telling Jokes. Her distinctive drawing style. Responding to “Do you need a hand?” with “My hands are fine, what I need is a leg!” The traditions she taught our family, both ancient and recent. And more than I could ever write down

60+ Years of Family Connections

Shared by David Sherman on April 5, 2021
Dear Lasher/Salpeter Family,

Yesterday, I spent a chunk of the afternoon together with my mom, Ruth, looking through the memorial website. We started with the pictures, and then I read her a number of people’s stories and remembrances, except I had to frequently pause when I got too choked up. We then watched the 50th anniversary video.  Ruth was totally engaged in the activity and recognized Naomi instantaneously in most photos despite the years they covered. It certainly got me thinking about my memories, and what I could possibly share after reading so many wonderful posts sent in by family and friends. So much was familiar to me as I have no memory of life without the Lashers being a part of it.

Ruth and Naomi met in a book group shortly after my family moved to Ossining in 1959. It didn’t take them very long to find their commonalities, focusing on their love of dance. I would have probably been three years old. It didn’t take very long before they arranged for spouses and families to meet and our lives became immediately interconnected on many levels. Becca and I were the same grade, but as kids, we went to different elementary schools. By the time we started our schooling together we had gone to local folk dance parties and I had stayed with Naomi’s parents at Fuller for a weekend when the two couples tried out ECRS for the first time, where we then went together as families for several years. Naomi and my father, Alex, started our secular Sunday school where we as kids all went and we had established our July 4th ritual of a picnic at IBM and then sneaking in through the trees of the Sleepy Hollow Country Club to see the fireworks. As we got older, Naomi chaperoned our HS band trip to Europe with both Deb and Becca, Mark and I went to music camp together, and for reasons a little beyond my understanding, Naomi joined my parents and I on a trip to Mexico my senior year HS.

The connection that really became the center of the relationship between our families was going to Nova Scotia Dance Camp. It was here I made the gradually transition from thinking as Naomi and Gordon as parents of my friends, (friends of my parents?) to interacting with them as adults. I think it was only on our trip to Mexico when I stopped calling her Mrs. Lasher. It was because their kids were always so polite. Such good phone manners! Our time at Dance Camp was a huge part of lives for around 25 years and I spent endless time in their room between Gordon’s hospitable beer cooler and Naomi’s outfitting us for all the special nights. And through Dance Camp, Deb, Becca and I became incredibly close friends, far more than ever existed in HS.

When I was in 8th grade and Gordon was on sabbatical in Ithaca our family came for a visit. It was then we got to meet Mika and family who we had heard about forever. When they started going to Dance Camp, first Judy and then Mika and Ed, we had the chance to get to know each other more fully and enjoyed lots of good times together. Going to the Seder with all of you on Fuller Road has been a wonderful tradition for us over the years and I always look way ahead in the calendar to see when Seder falls and how that affects the timing of your gathering. And so, to my second wonderful family I wish you years of big family get togethers with chances to tell stories and share memories about Naomi (and Gordon, Mike & Ed). I feel very close to each of you, regardless of generation or how much time we may have actually spent together. Love, David

Shared by Frank Stern on April 4, 2021
Soon after I started work at the IBM Research Laboratory in 1962 Naomi and Gordon invited Shayne and me for dinner.  I have enjoyed friendship and hospitality at 50 Fuller Road many times since then.  Naomi and Gordon and Bob Dennard took me to Shelly Gordon's international folk dance group and
in 1964 to Sylvia Reid's Scottish country dance group.  After Sylvia and her husband Arthur moved to Connecticut Naomi became one of the teachers of the group.  For many years she ran the Loch Leven performance group, was an  organizer of the annual Scottish Weekend at Mohonk Mountain House, and created posters for the annual Westchester Scottish country dance Ball, each one based on a dance on the Ball program.  Naomi had strong opinions, which sometimes led to tension with the Westchester group's officers and Board.

Naomi was a wonderful storyteller, in earlier years often off-color.  She enjoyed telling about the welcome she and Gordon received from Miss Jean Milligan,, one of the founders of the (now Royal) Scottish Country Dance Society, when they went to the RSCDS Summer School in St. Andrews.  She loved Yiddish, went to summer programs at Circle Lodge, and for some years taught a class
in Yiddish.  Naomi loved her family and her sister's family, with large gatherings every year.  In recent years, when Naomi was having trouble getting around, different family members managed parts of her trip to the gatherings.

I am fortunate to have known Naomi and will miss her, as I miss Gordon.

Bobe

Shared by Andrew Brashler on April 4, 2021
I will forever miss the welcoming and loving conversations with my Bobe. No matter how long we had gone without seeing each other, she was game to talk about anything. She always had a funny anecdote or story from years past, and was always quick to remind those of my generation how easy we had it. Even so, Bobe always went out of her way to spend time with us, often doing activities she likely had no interest in doing. I can attest to the strong love she had for her grandchildren, as I was often the culprit in twisting her arm into mini-golfing, or spending hours at a children's amusement park. Fortunately for her, the "YoYo" ride put a quick end to the latter trip. A wry smile was on Bobe's face (having just watched me vomit into a trashcan) as she asked, "Now are you ready to go home?" I was indeed. I will truly miss her, especially on birthdays, when I could always count on a call from Bobe singing me happy birthday. She was a most wonderful human being, and she will be sorely missed. Rest in peace.


As I Will Remember

Shared by Ian Irvine on April 4, 2021
What a presence she was!  The keeper of the flame in so many ways – her memories of her family, growing up in Latvia, coming to Canada and the US (all in her books of course, but stories we knew from the actual telling over the years), of New York, Cornell, and always the importance of Yiddish. And Pesach too and the other traditions – notably beach summers – over all of which she presided with such quiet, competent seriousness and, when her Haggadahs were carefully set aside, such truly raunchy good humor.  She took obvious joy in seeing her family around her, growing from infancy into young adulthood or sliding into the various degrees of old age – with perhaps some satisfaction there, since she was ahead of us in that regard.  And not without appropriate commentary either (my slowly expanding belly did not go unnoticed every year, with pointed comparisons made to the last viewing, as if she were keeping an eye on the stock market).  She had so much love and caring for us all, even the imports (though not Jewish, grudgingly acknowledged in her mind as reasonably competent “breeders”, I imagine).  That was her core– love of family and the joy of being together (just look at her face in the 50th anniversary video as she sings “My Dearest Malka” at one of our Seders), of tradition and history, of caring for each other.  We should aim to follow her example, and remember her as we do.



Matriarch of the family

Shared by Caleb Irvine on April 4, 2021
As her grand-nephew, I was hardly the right age to dance with Tante Naomi or attend any of the wild parties I’ve heard so much about. But the same energy that made her the life of the party in those settings was always present in her role as matriarch of our extended family. Whether she was leading an arts and crafts project with all of the young cousins or spearheading a trip to the raw bar in the Outer Banks, Naomi knew how to generate fun for those around her. Even in her 90s she was the liveliest contributor in charades and pictionary, a true expert at inserting risqué content that would leave everyone in stitches for days.

Looking forward, it’s hard not to think of all the little absences she’s leaving us with. Who will eat the turkey neck at Thanksgiving? Who should I listen to whenever I reach a Yiddish word in the Haggadah that I can’t pronounce? Who could possibly replicate her mannerisms in the classic dirty jokes I’ve grown up hearing all my life? But when I think of the bigger things—the lively spirit and humor that Naomi carried with her wherever she went—it’s easy to see how her presence has shaped and been ingrained into our family dynamics, a part of her that will continue on with us all.

Eight Bars Early

Shared by Ron Weston on April 4, 2021
We were at Mohonk, doing our Saturday performance, dressed in full regalia.  We were doing a Reel, followed by a Strathspey (The Braes of Balquidder), and the lady I was dancing with would always ask me, "What do we do now?" and I would always say, "Wait.  Stand still."  Well, this was the live performance, and I guess we were both a little nervous, so when she asked me the question (Eight Bars Early), and I gave her my usual response, and we both stood there while two of our fellow dancers did a Reel of Four around us ... with several dirty looks.  Naomi sat there, watching this whole thing transpire.  What was worse, the lady sitting next to her leaned over and said, "You must be so proud of them."  Naomi later said, "I wanted to say, 'I've seen these people before in my life.'"  But Naomi was an incredible leader and all was forgiven.  She knew that even the best of us make mistakes every once in a while.

Scottish Dance at our wedding

Shared by Carla Holder on April 3, 2021
Since I loved Scottish Dance and my husband to be loved ballroom / latin, we had to have both at our wedding.  So after the piper's welcome, the harp & flute hors d'oevres, and our dinner, we got up to dance.  A whole table of Scottish dancers was seated with Naomi and Gordon.  We got a lot of folks up to learn Strip the Willow, including my mother's 93 year old cousin.  And then the more experienced of us did Mairi's Wedding.  Naomi was game for anything and coped with the chaos on the dance floor with aplomb.  It was nothing like her dance team classes at her studio, or the regular classes at Westchester at the American Legion Hall.  She handled it all with a smile.  She got people up and a good time was had by all.  And twenty pounds of handmade Scottish shortbread was available when people left.  The attached picture shows the last circle of Mairi's Wedding with Naomi and Gordon looking on to the right side.  We miss them both.

Dance Camp Churchpoint, and Crystal Cliffs Nova Scotia

Shared by Ingrid MacRitchie on April 3, 2021
My memories of Naomi are numerous snippets of outrageous generosity, opinion, frankness, humour, fun, creativity, self deprecation.
Churchpoint: On a hot day I was wearing a light cotton dress with fine blue and white stripes "come to my room, I have a slip for you". No judgement but also no room for discussion.  Peter, a piper who liked to practice his bagpipe every day, walking the campus, his chosen time was 7 am. (please recall previous stories about Naomi's parties). The first time, Naomi opened her window and threatened peril to his instrument. Perhaps my memory deceives me, but I believe she was serenaded most mornings the rest of the week now that he knew where her window was.
Crystal Cliffs: There were always theme nights to dress up for and it was pre-Frenchy's days, and Naomi' costumes were very creative. One night must have been Scandinavian night, Naomi chose to dress as St Lucia with a wreath of candles on her head.... candles made from Tampax tubes. I wouldn't have known if she hadn't told me, but she did and it is why I can remember the time, the story and the person over 45 years later. 
Ingrid (van Leeuwen) MacRitchie. I knew the Lashers through NSDanceCamp  and Thanksgiving/Columbus Day weekends at Hillie Bailey's from my pre-teens to university.

Naomi of 50 Fuller Road

Shared by rebecca brashler on April 3, 2021
We spent the day sorting through the house at 50 Fuller Road and reminiscing about Mom. It is amazing to realize what can accumulate during 60 years of living in the same place. A few realizations are inescapable….

Naomi didn’t like to throw anything away. We have found old treasured family items from Latvia, yellowed newspaper clippings about her grandchildren’s accomplishments, an unbelievable amount of arts & crafts supplies, threads/needles/material of every color in the rainbow, enough books to fill a small library, a million little inexpensive tchotchkes that for whatever reason brought her pleasure and countless photographs of family/friends tossed around in no apparent order.

Our childhood home and neighborhood evoke a Leave it to Beaver, 50’s wholesome suburban upbringing with a twist. We were beneficiaries of a stable environment, with two devoted parents in a split-level house on a half-acre lot. Every day we knew we were loved. Never a doubt.Our parents had bridge parties, Mom attended PTA meetings, she was our Girl Scout Troup Leader and High School Band chaperone. We had a milkman who made weekly deliveries and we were chauffeured everywhere in a bright red station wagon. Dad came home each night in his white business shirt and skinny black tie while Mom got dinner on the table and took care of us kids. On the other hand, not many of our peers had fathers who wore a kilt, had mothers who told off-color jokes, or parents who were completely uninterested in many traditional suburban rituals. We went to Nova Scotia Dance Camp not Disney Land for vacations. Organized religion was replaced with secular family rituals. We were encouraged to make our own way in the world without much emphasis on status, or money or concerns regarding conventional thinking, although education was always valued above almost anything else.

Mom never shied away from being the center of attention. She liked to lead and didn’t particularly enjoy following. In another era she might have been a CEO – but instead she became the principal of a sunday school, a dance instructor and the director of every community group she ever joined. She was opinionated and not consistently kind to those she ordered about but she always got the job done. And in the end she enjoyed basking in the glory of her accomplishments and moved immediately onto her next project.

Briarcliff Manor and this home were definitely the center of Mom’s universe over the last 60 years. She had a beautiful room added to the house to ensure that dancers would travel to her for rehearsals. And she insisted that her children and nieces and extended family come to Fuller Road for family holidays, only grudgingly relinquishing occasional duties to the younger generation. As she aged, she refused all suggestions about down-sizing or moving elsewhere, even when continuing to stay in the house was clearly impractical. It was fitting that she spent her final days in that dance hall at Fuller Road with her 3 children and one last Seder – even if it was on zoom.

The house will soon be put on the market. Naomi will no longer be center stage in our family. But I know we will all hang on to the best of everything she had to give for generations to come.

The Sum of All the Parts

Shared by Theresa Forbes on April 3, 2021
Naomi graciously offered the use of her home dance studio to the second New Jersey/New York RSCDS Teacher's Candidate Class that was run by Sue and Chris Ronald in 2019. This significantly lowered the cost of the course for dancers. As a 'Thank You' Chris Ronald devised a new strathspey titled 'The Sum of All the Parts' which he demonstrated and filmed for her at the Westchester Scottish Country Dance class in Elmsford on Sept 25, 2019. 

Naomi's Machatonister

Shared by Mary Bish on April 3, 2021

One had to be careful about admiring anything of Naomi's or she would insist on giving it to you.  I have a counted cross stitch wall hanging, several aprons and a cheese knife with 3 bagels for a handle to prove it.
Mary Bish, Naomi's Machatonister

My Tante Naomi

Shared by Judy Salpeter on April 3, 2021
First of all, I wanted to invite people to take a peek at the video I posted at this site (videos are not quite as obvious as the photos but you'll find them in the gallery). It's a movie made for Naomi and Gordon's 50th wedding anniversary. Ian says I should warn you will that it will make you cry but I think a few tears -- along with a lot of laughter -- are a good idea when remembering those we love.

I loved my "tante Naomi" even at those moments when I felt nicked by her sharp tongue. She didn't have much of a filter about issues such as how much I weighed or how I chose to dress. The stories she told about all of us -- even her own children -- often had a bite to them and, on top of that, there was the competition between her and my mom. They were very, very close but also very competitive. Often when they were together, Naomi would make a point of letting everyone know how her parenting and her kids' behavior were better than mom's. She was undoubtedly right -- at least about the second part.  She clearly took umbrage at her younger sister getting married first and producing the first grandchild for Beila and Mendel, and later took great pride in the fact that SHE, Naomi, became a Bobe first. But after mom died suddenly at age 71, leaving Naomi the sole matriarch, something changed. Naomi cared deeply about keeping our extended family connected. She put huge amounts of effort and joy into hosting the annual family seder and stopped talking about the grand-children and grand-nephews as "hers" or "mine."  They were all hers. 

What will happen to 914-941-7358 -- the only land line I still know by heart? I have the urge to phone it today to see how she's doing. Her later years were characterized by her amazing sense of humor when it came to her health and other challenges. She was always a story-teller and loved recounting, with great humor, the falls she had taken and the dashing firemen who arrived to pick her up, half naked, from the floor or the shower or wherever she had landed. I have regaled many friends with stories about the funny things she said to the doctors and nurses who cared for her, including announcing to a doctor that "I've already diagnosed on the Internet what's wrong with me; I'm just here for a second opinion" or telling a nurse who phoned to ask how she was recovering from colon surgery, "I'm fine. I won't be having anal sex again for a while but other than that, I'm fine."

I want to reassure Naomi that this extended family WILL stay connected, even without her shepherding. We love one another deeply -- an example she set for us -- and will not stop gathering for stories, laughter and memories, including memories of my larger-than-life tante Naomi.

Shared by Mark Lasher on April 3, 2021
Mishpucha.  Special occasions.  All talking joyfully at the same time.  Then they left and it would just be the two of us.  She would say, "that's what I love the best."  What?  The sudden silence?  "No.  The Family.  All together."                                                                                                         A  memory:  Driving to Mohonk Mountain House.  She was in charge of not only the Lochleven Dancers but the whole Scottish Weekend.  She was comfortable with a leadership role.  If there wasn't a path to it she would often create one.  We got there before it was open.  She made sure she got her room.  THE room.  Large.  Centrally located.  Then it was off to greet the staff, connecting warmly, heaping praise and gratitude on those that had been helpful in the past, who would in turn inform the newly hired with a smile, "that's Naomi Lasher.  She's in charge."  Greeting old friends with hugs and kisses and then, most importantly, introducing herself to those she hadn't met face to face.  "Hello.  I'm Naomi Lasher.  We talked on the phone.  I'm in charge, no one else.  If you have any problems, any at all,  please let me know and we will take care of it.  Come to my room"  [She would tell them where it was.]  "The door is always open."  [The door was often literally open]  " Come in.  Help yourself to refreshments."  [chips dip cheese crackers drinks soft and hard.]   " If I'm not there have a seat and make yourself at home."  And THE room quickly became party central.  If she needed to sleep or shower she would quietly discreetly borrow someone else's room (with their permission of course.)                                                                                                                                                                 Years later,  when her days as head of the weekend were over she got a phone call from a dancer who had just been to the post Naomi Scottish Weekend.  It wasn't the same.  The dancers didn't know the musicians.  The story tellers didn't know the crafts people.  The staff was just a half step off.  What was the difference?  She was the difference.                                                She was Monty Python's Black Knight.  Harry Potter's room of requirement.  My Creator, Mother, and Guru.  She taught me what's important and what isn't
 

My Mom, the Party Girl

Shared by Deborah Lasher on April 2, 2021
My Mom knew how to make a party.  My Dad always wanted her to come with him when he went to a physics conference.  He said when he went to the conferences alone, he would enjoy the conference and at the end of the day he would be deep in conversation with someone on some new interesting idea he had heard and then he would notice that everyone else had drifted off for the evening and he would go back to his room alone.  But when he went to the conference with Mom, when he got back to his room, there was always a party happening there. Just the way he liked it.

Meeting Naomi

Shared by Tom Bish on April 2, 2021

I met Naomi Lasher long before I married her daughter Deborah. My brother Pete and I were joining my family for the last weekend of their Nova Scotia Dance Camp vacation in Antigonish NS. The closing night party was held in a big barn on a rural property by the sea. The small space was filled to raucous overflow with dancers of all ages. I distinctly remember it as the night that this woman with a New York accent (what did I know), dressed in a long white wedding gown was crowned Dance Camp Queen of 1971, gilt cardboard crown and all.  What was this crazy place?

I would not have spent any time with Naomi that night as there were far too many pretty local girls looking for dance partners possessing two legs, but in the years that followed I came to know her and her husband Gordon well. They were both great fun to be with on the dance floor and easy to talk to. Of course there was also the issue of the after parties, open door late night gatherings in dancer’s bedrooms that stretched late into the evenings. Gordon and Naomi’s after party was a hot ticket and always packed. It was however, unclear whether an open door meant an open door policy for teens and there was much strategizing over how late night entry might be obtained. Gordon had already proven his generosity to thirsty dancers through his beer cooler hospitality, but it was unclear whether that included an admission ticket to the late night program.

An evening was chosen for a few of us to try to crash the Lasher’s party, carefully selected to be on a night when my parents weren’t likely to be there. We squeezed through to the cooler, found an inconspicuous spot in the corner and we were in. Reclining in the middle of the bed dressed in her apres-dance garb was Naomi holding court. Surrounding the bed were animated dance-campers in loud conversation, as well as our dance instructors letting their hair down, no longer exhibiting their formal authority on the dance floor.There was an endless flow of singing and laughing and kibbutzing and if there was a lag, Naomi was ready with an endless supply of scandalous jokes, anecdotes from the day and ditties that would soon have the room in an uproar again. There was no comment made regarding our entry beyond an enthusiastic hello, and we were soon part of the ebb and flow of the nights’ activity. It was quite a revelation for my young self to see so many smiling adults having fun and unafraid to be, well, outrageous. And there, in the middle, presiding over the chaos with palpable pleasure was Naomi, in the center of the best damn party you’d ever been to.

At Bobe's House

Shared by Hannah Bish on April 2, 2021
My mother likes to tell a story about when I was small and my parents were teaching me about good manners. As the story goes, they had just gotten me in the habit of saying "please" and "thank you" when I went to stay with Naomi for a weekend. After returning home, I had regressed and was once again acting bossy and making demands instead of asking nicely. When my mother asked me "What happened to saying please?" I replied, "At Bobe's house I don't have to, she does things for me without a please!" In the three decades that have passed since then, she never stopped doting on me whenever we were together. In her eyes I had no flaws.

I'm one of many who will remember Naomi as a force of nature, our family matriarch, the life of the party and consummate teller of dirty jokes. But one of the things I'll remember and miss most is her absolutely unconditional, never-having-to-say-please kind of love -- the kind of love that can only come from your Bobe.

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