A Service of Dr.

Val Karan - 558 Anderson Avenue - Cliffside Park, New Jersey 07010 - (201) 943-2726 - Karan4U@aol.com - June 2007

Remembering the Sweet Music of My Aunt
Dear Clients, Family, and Friends, My Aunt Jessie passed away at age 93 on May 24. She was my oldest living relative, my father's only sister, and the last survivor in my immediate family of what has been called "the greatest generation." Life was not always easy for my Aunt Jessie. She was born 93 years ago in Lithuania in what I believe was Around the same time that my father met and married my mother from a small town in Saskatchewan, Canada, my Aunt Jessie was courted and wed by the tall and handsome Harry Render, an acquaintance of my mother and also from Saskatchewan. Both young couples - Herman and Rose Karan as well as Jessie and Harry Render - moved to Dubuque, Iowa, where I, my brother, and two cousins were born. World War II was in full force, and my Uncle Harry was shipped overseas. When he returned to my Aunt Jessie several years later, my uncle was a true hero, a liberator of Dachau. But I think his horrific war experience, which we now know produces posttraumatic stress disorder, left my uncle feeling like the proverbial teetering fiddler himself. He moved with my aunt and his family to Chicago where he ran a prosperous paint and hardware business. But he had other plans and dreams. So back in the early 1960s, while I was heading to New York to begin college, my Uncle Harry and Aunt Jessie bade farewell to life in America and immigrated to Israel. For 27 years, my aunt and uncle were stalwarts of the community of Netanya where they had a beautiful apartment overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. My wife and I visited them in 1969 and we had a firsthand taste of their warm hospitality and open-door policy. Uncle Harry and Aunt Jessie were involved in the founding of the American and Canadian Association in their adopted city, and they were also active in expanding the Laniado Hospital-Sanz Medical Center in Netanya. Indeed, because they volunteered in so many organizations, they were awarded Israel's highest honor for their volunteer efforts, the prestigious Kaplan Prize, in the early 1980's. A year after Uncle Harry died in 1990, Aunt Jessie moved to Orlando, Florida, to be closer to her son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren, Charlie and Jesse. She could have lived with my cousin and his family in their palatial house, but my Aunt Jessie valued her independence and privacy. She resided at a

the city of Vitebsk. The painter Marc Chagall hailed from the same city, and his pictures, including the famous "Fiddler on the Roof" depict life in that shtetl. The fiddler, strumming precariously on his shaky perch, was an appropriate symbol of the dangerous and uncertain world that my grandfather Ray and his fellow Jews found themselves. So when my aunt was just an infant, my grandfather set sail for America seeking a better life. He left my grandmother, hardly more than a teenager herself, with four young children while he sought to make enough money to ensure passage for everyone to the New World. Eight years later the whole family immigrated to the US. My father, the oldest son, was a teenager at the time; and my aunt Jessie was 8 years old. Their hometown was Madison, Wisconsin because that was where my grandfather, a blacksmith in Lithuania, was able to get work in the scrap iron business.

A Service of Dr. Val Karan - 558 Anderson Avenue - Cliffside Park, New Jersey 07010 - (201) 943-2726 - June 2007- Page 2

senior citizen complex called Kinneret Apartments for 14 years, again winning friends and awards for her volunteer efforts to help others. I remember visiting her and watching her in the building commissary, helping tenants purchase food stuff or delivering them personally to their apartments if they could not manage on their own. My aunt was never one to brag so that there were facets of her life, including the fact that she received numerous honors for her volunteer activity, that I never knew until she died. And while I was aware that she liked to write and kept a diary of her early years in Israel, I never knew that she wrote poetry and had actually published a volume of her poems. My Aunt Jessie Render was truly a priestess. By that, I mean that she and her three brothers, one of whom was my father, were born into a family of Kohanim or priests. As a woman, my Aunt never participated in publicly reciting the Priestly Blessings (also known as Nesiat Kapayim or Raising of the hands) which is a Jewish ceremony and prayer intoned during certain Jewish services. But my Aunt, who shunned the spotlight with her humility and modesty, did better than reciting the words of the threefold Priestly Blessings: she lived and embodied them. Listen to the words in the book of Numbers 6:2327 which describe the blessings: And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak unto Aaron and his sons, saying, in this manner shall bless the children of Israel; you shall say to them: May the Lord bless you, and keep you - My Aunt was blessed with a long and fruitful life. I believe she had a long life because she had a lifelong commitment to eating healthy, nutritious food, in moderation. She also exercised regularly. Her model of healthy living has been a blessing to me and my family. May the Lord shine His face upon you, and favor you - The Lord favored my Aunt with a shining personality. It was impossible not to like her. Her face radiated warmth all the time, even as she got older and suffered from dementia. This truly was a blessing to anyone who met her.

May the Lord lift His countenance upon you, and grant you peace - Jessie Render was peaceful and content throughout her life, no matter what the circumstances, and this is perhaps the greatest blessing of all. She endured life’s hardships, never wallowing in self-pity, resignation, or stagnation. She had an indomitable spirit that took life day by day. My Aunt Jessie’s face has, for the past year, been the wallpaper on my office computer. Her peaceful countenance will continue to serve as a reminder to me and anyone else of a life well-spent, a gentle soul who climbed the pinnacle of life, played her fiddle indefatigably, with a steady and secure vision of paradise regained: I'm living in a Dream World by Jessie Render Don't wake me from This Dream World This is where I want to stay There will be war no more There will be no more fear Food for everyone Health and good cheer In my Dream World Don't wake me from My Dream World Everything looks so good In my Dream World This is where I want to remain. Every child will be happy And free Parents will enjoy Their company Grandparents will be Sheltered and adored. In this my Dream World Let me stay in my dream world Everything is so rosy and gay In my dream world That's where I want to stay. Thank you, Aunt Jessie, for being such a wonderful High Priestess and role model par excellence. She was buried next to her husband, in Netanya, Israel, on May 28th, 2007.