Sara Jo Ben-Tzvi’s Eulogy for Sara Blaustein, HY”D:
People say that there is a period of adjustment after a person makes aliya; a time when the old ties still pull you and new ties are not yet made, a difficult period during which one must put on a brave face and struggle to adjust to “Israel” – the bureaucracy, the people, the language. They must have neglected to warn you of this before you came into our midst…because from the very first, I can never remember seeing you without the warmth of a smile on your face.
From the very first you knew what you wanted, and what you had come for – and you wasted no time, but leapt in headfirst. If you had a merkaz klita it was the Beit Midrash. Whenever we had a shiur – Parashat Shavua, Gemara, Halacha – you were there. Your questions were sharp, your enthusiasm and excitement infectious. Your thirst for Torah was a driving force. Wednesday morning, Monday evening – your chair was almost never empty. Until today.
Though our Beit Midrash has no walls, Sara, it had a pillar, and that pillar was you. When we asked for help, you supported us in every way; but your obvious enjoyment was our greatest support. Today we learnt the verses in Tehillim 119 which make up your name, and were amazed to find your personality encapsulated there:
“I rejoice in Your words, as when one finds great booty.”
Your appetite for life, Sara, was matched only by your appetite for Torah, and you truly relished both. Over the last few months, I grew to know you better as a friend and neighbor. I will always see you, walking this street between your house and the Unterbergs, under the big hats with the floppy brims, shading your smile. I came to rely on that smile – you held it firm, even on the hardest days.
We all came to rely on seeing you. You became part of a chain in which we are all links – a strong and beautiful link which held others firmly together, bringing your husband and your daughter from chutz la’aretz, binding your family and Dave’s as one… What happens to the chain when such a link is lost? Our hearts break, Sara, but the loss of your link pulls all the other links closer together. It must strengthen the chain because of what it was. Even though we have lost you in a way, you will always be with us, always be a part of our community of learning. May Hashem give us the strength to continue for you the many things you took such joy in doing with us.
“My beloved has gone down to His garden, to the beds of perfume, to wander through the gardens and to gather lilies.” (Song of Songs, 5)
G-d may have gathered you unto Him, but for us, Sara, the scent of your Shoshana will be with us always.