Chanukah, the holiday of light, just ended, and on Wednesday, December 16, a light went out. After a brave battle with a dreaded disease, our friend and colleague at Astor Brokerage passed away. Ora Natanelova-Babaev, as her name personifies, was that light. She was buried in Yerushalayim.

Twenty-three years ago, not long after she came to the US, Ora got her real estate license and started working at Astor Brokerage. She already had some sales experience since her grandmother was a businesswoman in Uzbekistan and taught her sales. My husband, Akiva, worked with her and taught her the real estate business, while I helped her with legal and technical details of the profession.

Ora learned quickly, and her signs were all over the neighborhood. While she worked full time, she also went to Queens College, and I remember many times when she stayed late in the office to study. I remember editing some of her papers so the English would be perfect. Ora graduated with honors.

We danced at her wedding and celebrated the birth of her three sons. Her eldest son will soon be bar mitzvah. Her greatest joy was her boys, and she raised them well, always personable and well-mannered whenever they came to the office.

We have all been broken-hearted at this tragic event and send our deepest condolences to her husband, children, her mother, siblings, in-laws, and extended family.

Akiva and I – and our Astor Brokerage family of agents – want to do something in Ora’s memory. For anyone who mentions Ora’s name when listing their home for sale with Astor, or purchases a home through Astor, a portion of the commission will be deposited into a fund for her children’s education.

Y’hi Zichrah Baruch. HaMakom y’nacheim eschem b’soch sh’ar aveilei Tziyon ViYerushalayim. May the mourners be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

 By Chanita Teitz