July 25, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
July 25, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

The Letter I Wish I’d Written: In Memory of Irene Hizme, z”l

If I could write a letter to one of my favorite people in the world it would go like this.

I’m just sad I never wrote it to her before she passed away.

Dear Mrs. Hizme,

I met you 38 years ago after meeting your daughter Lori my first day of Queens College, August 1981. We became instant friends and soon after I became a regular at your house. What warmth and love I felt! You made me feel a part of the Hizme family (being half Yemenite like Mr. Hizme definitely helped). In your home I learned to eat fruit and tolerate cats. I also learned of the amazing strength and courage you had. I had no relatives go through the Holocaust, but you became my hero – the person I respected and looked up to. Years ago I went to hear you speak at Beth Shalom in Lawrence. I was in awe of you.

We went through many fun times and trying times, too. We would talk on the phone and have great conversations. Rosh Hashanah cards decorated with real leaves and flowers and your beautiful calligraphy, became a yearly looked-for card in the mail each Elul. Then came the photocopies—but still we waited for this beautiful greeting wishing us a happy and healthy year—always signed with a heart.

I was honored to be invited to one of your many award ceremonies three years ago. The hall in Manhattan was full and you got up to speak and silence reigned. It was nice to see that so many others loved you too. You exuded royalty and respect.

I will miss your beautiful smile, your sweet voice, your calmness and your great hearty laugh.

I’m not sure how I will go through Elul this year not hearing your voice when I call to wish you a good year. I pray that Mr. Hizme (your extremely devoted and loyal husband), Lori and Jonathan and Robyn (your caring children who taught us all how to truly be kibud av v’aim in the most honorable manner), Perrin, Rami, Lilah and Chaim (your sweet adoring grandchildren who loved you so much) and I (a ‘pretend’ third daughter who is crying while writing this letter) will have the strength to make it through until 120 without your advice and loving care at our side.

By Wendy Reisman-Gerson


For over 20 years, Dr. Wendy Devorah Gerson has been the preschool director at Yeshiva Darchei Torah in Far Rockaway, New York.

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles