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Life Cycle

Our Deepest Sympathies:

ShirleyLernerRShirley Lerner, 90
January 26, 2013.

Shirley Lerner, first secretary of the National Congress of Jewish Deaf, died in Margate, Florida. The daughter of Dr Louis Nagorsky and Leona Klar Nagorsky, she was born in Bronx, New York, on 5 June 1923, and attended the Lexington School for the Deaf. She married Ira Lerner of Mount Vernon, New York, in April 1943 where they lived for fifteen years. They later lived in East Paterson and Hackensack, New Jersey, before moving to Margate, Florida. Shirley and Ira Lerner became active in Deaf organizations in the New York area, including the Union League of the Deaf and the National Fraternal Society of the Deaf. They were active in the Deaf Jewish community, and were among the founders of Temple Beth Or and the National Congress of Jewish Deaf. Shirley Lerner served as the secretary of the NCJD during its formative years, having been elected secretary at the NCJD’s first convention in 1956. She was inducted into the Jewish Deaf Congress Hall of Fame during the 22nd NCJD/JDC convention at Universal City, California, on 14 August 1998. Shirley Lerner was predeceased by her husband in September 2010, after 67 years of marriage. She is survived by her sons, Fred Lerner, D.L.S., of White River Junction, Vermont, and Henry Lerner, M.D., of Newton, Massachusetts, and her four grandchildren.  Source: Jewish Deaf Congress

SarahBeldengruenSara Beldengruen, 84
February 6, 2013.

TBS’ dear friend Sara Beldengruen was born deaf in Warsaw, Poland and endured a very tough life of ridicule not only for being deaf, but being a deaf Jew. When Sara was 11 years old, World War II forced her family to flee to Russia; a difficult and traumatic trip. Once in Russia, her parents left her in a work camp, thinking it would be safer for her. The conditions were extreme with food shortages and poverty and she didn’t see her parents again until the end of the war. It broke Sara’s heart and she admits she never recovered from that incident, feeling abandoned and alone. When the family was reunited, Sara was introduced to her new younger brother, who was also born deaf. The family dispersed with her older siblings staying in Russia, her brother Nathan moving to the U.S. and she and her parents moving back to Poland. It was here that Sara was introduced to Jacob Beldengruen, one of a very few surviving deaf Jews, who became her husband.

Sara’s parents and youngest brother moved to Israel and then joined Nathan in the U.S. Sara and Jacob stayed in Poland and lived in great fear and poverty. Sara and Jacob had two daughters Gabriella and Miriam and then in 1957 with the help of a cousin they obtained documents to immigrate to Israel. Sara continued working very hard getting up early in the morning, catching two buses to get to work at a wax manufacturing factory where she worked in the basement six days a week in the Tel Aviv humidity with no AC, and the temperature getting as high as 120 degrees. On her “day off” she cooked and cleaned and did laundry by hand for her family. She kept this schedule for 11 years and although she loved Israel and the many friends she made at the Deaf Club, Beit Helen Keller, she had the opportunity in 1968 to come to the states and join the rest of her family where her life improved greatly, but sadly in 1980 Jacob passed away. Sara found her new deaf community at TBS and met John Marcus who she eventually married and the two of them spent their retired years traveling all over Europe. Sara and John moved back to Israel, staying for several years, but eventually came back to the states. Despite the many hardships Sara suffered in her life, she had a special gift of being able to look on the bright side of things. She told her daughter Miriam, “I am so lucky that I was born deaf, I could have been born deaf and blind; that would have been worse.”

Miriam said, “Even when she was suffering in great pain at the end, she still expressed her gratitude daily for being so well taken care of and having her family around her. Her hugs were the best, no doubt about that. She was the most courageous, strong, unselfish, supportive, upbeat person I know. My children love her deeply as does my husband, Thad, who always treated her with respect and kindness. She will be in our hearts forever. Thanks for being a part of our lives.” Sara’s memory will be for a very sweet blessing. Source: Temple Beth Solomon of the Deaf

Harold (Hal) Altsitzer, 90
March 11, 2013.

Gravesite service and burial for Harold "Hal" Altsitzer was held at Mt Carmel Cemetery. Source: DeafNewsNY


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