“A woman of valour who can find? For her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he lacks for nothing.”
The words of Shlomo HaMelech in Mishlei are the perfect description of my Aunt Shaindy.
Yesterday, during Musaf, we recited the U’Nesaneh Tokef. On Rosh HaShanah it will be written and on Yom Kippur it will be sealed: “how many will pass from this earth, who will live and who will be taken to their eternal resting places… Little did I know that as I stated those words, how relevant they would become just eight hours later.
It is with a sense of great sorrow and loss that I stand here today to pay my last respects to my beloved Aunt Shaindy – Sydelle Sipzner. It is strange even thinking about Aunt Shaindy in this way, because to me and my wife Anita, she was and always will be a vibrant, enthusiastic person who enjoyed life and who, until very recently, lived it to the fullest. In fact, when we visited Aunt Shaindy just ten days ago, she was still talking about what she needed to do to get better. All she wanted was to find a doctor who could eliminate the pain so that she could be up and about again. Unfortunately, Hashem had other plans.
I was extremely fortunate to have Aunt Shaindy as a big part of my life, as did my brother Alan and sister Mindy. When I was born in 1945, Aunt Shaindy was 13 years old. Being the youngest of six siblings and my mother’s younger sister, she was extremely close to my mom. Very quickly she became one of my earliest caretakers. Soon after Aunt Shaindy was married, she and Uncle Zippy moved to Jackson Heights, around the corner from where my parents lived. We saw the Sipzners very frequently and spent many Shabbosim and holidays together. Later, when my parents moved to Rego Park, in 1960, the close relationships continued. Pesach was extremely special with the Sipzners, celebrating the first Seder with us in Rego Park, and then all of us walking back to Jackson Heights for the second Seder. My Aunt was a wonderful cook and a warm and welcoming hostess. Her silver tip roast and potato kugel were the talk of the Seder, along with the special desserts she prepared. But most important was the camaraderie, the stories and the laughter – laughter that would leave us with our sides aching. Later, our families celebrated Pesach together at the Granit Hotel, where to my Aunt’s delight Robbie met Linda.
My Aunt Shaindy was a doting mother and wife and made sure my cousins Robby and Howie and my uncle had everything they needed. She was very fortunate to have two outstanding daughters-in-law who treated her like a mother and who in turn were treated like daughters. In all the years, I only heard my aunt say wonderful things about both Linda and Reize, and these accolades were well deserved. Later she showered her love on her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Whenever we would talk, she would always proudly fill me in on their accomplishments and happenings, and as I am sure you heard, her grandchildren loved her dearly in return.
However, today I want to emphasize and remember the wonderful aunt that she was. In doing so, I think I speak for all of her nieces and nephews. Simply stated, Aunt Shaindy loved each and every one of us. She never missed a simchah and was willing to travel to any location and sleep in any bed to be at a bar mitzvah, an aufruf, or a Sheva Brachos. Nothing was too hard for Aunt Shaindy; family came first with her, and she set an outstanding example for all of us. When Anita and I were married, she somehow found room for us in her bungalow at Schneider’s in Monticello. Somehow, Robert and Howie were convinced to make space for us. Aunt Shaindy was especially close to her nieces Susan, Mindy, and Michelle, and always provided wise counsel. She was interested in everything we did, qvelled over the successes of everyone in the family, and gave support in times of need. Accordingly, we all loved her very much and our loss is great.
To my dear Uncle Zippy: I first met you when I was a little boy, and you were about to marry my wonderful aunt. Together, you were an outstanding team and you raised wonderful sons. You were the love of Aunt Shaindy’s life and you took care of each other lifnim mi’shuras ha’din. I know that my cousins are going to take good care of you and pray to Hashem that you will be well. To Robby and Howie, your Mom thought you were the world, and in return you gave her unconditional love and respect. Robby, you were her personal physician and attended to all of her needs, Howie, you were your parents’ banker and made sure that finances never became a burden. Reizy was by my aunt three days a week, and Linda’s house was always open and welcoming to her. You both will have a special place in Gan Eden. All the “daughter-in-law jokes” go out the window with the way you treated her.
And to my dear aunt: There are many women of achievement, and you stand with the best. We love you very much; you will be sorely missed. May you rest in peace and be a meilitz yosher for all of us during this critical time of the year. You are now reunited with your brothers and sisters, and as Uncle Zippy told me this Shabbos, there will be z’miros in Shamayim that will welcome you to Olam HaBa.
By Dr. Fred Naider