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Naomi Palansky, z"l

Noah Palansky chosen to be the Olympic Community Torch Bearer for his fundraising efforts for Cancer Care Manitoba

Naomi behind her son Noah, with her daughter Lexi to the right of Noah. They are with Naomi's sister Cindy Yusim, Rob Yusim and their children.


[tributes by Jay Raisen, Susan Meged, Lori shapiro, Al Bennaroch, David Daien, Lena Kostovetsky, and Rhonda Spivak]

by members of Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate's Class of 1982

[Editor’s note:  Myself, Susan  (Cohen) Meged, and Lori Shapiro  [ in Toronto], Al Benarroch, all graduates of Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate’s Class of 1982,  have each written a tribute in memory of  Naomi Palansky. The tributes are compiled below.]

By Rhonda Spivak, November 10, 2010
I write this after just having returned from Naomi Palansky’s funeral.
Naomi and I were both part of the twenty-eight students who made up the 1982 graduating class of Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate, in which there were only nine girls.
I am forty six years old, the same age as her-- old enough to know what it is like to have young children. Old enough to feel that you have so much more mothering left to do. Old enough to know how precious time is, how important it is to spend time with loved ones, and how hopeful we are in wanting to believe that we [and our spouses] have many years left on our journey through life. At age 46 I am old enough to know that age 46 is way too young an age to die.
The last time  members of my graduating class of 1982 were together as a class was in October 2007 at Naomi and Bruce Palansky’s house as part of our 25th Anniversary Re-Union [the only one we have had]. We had an amazing time together, and I will always be grateful to Naomi and Bruce for hosting that party, and to Naomi, for all the work that she did in getting that whole re-union week together. When Naomi hosted that party, none of us would have ever thought that some few months later she would be diagnosed with a cancer that was terminal.
She is the first one of our class to have passed away---and with her passing, we have all aged, and our hearts ache. The circle has been broken.
Bruce Palansky had the rather unbelievable ability to deliver a speech today with a dignity, sense of purpose and spirit that is rather beyond words. He found a way to continue to parent his children though that speech, by letting them know how proud their mother was for all of their achievements, and how she had so thoroughly enjoyed mothering them, opening up her whole heart and then some, through what were obviously the most challenging of times. Bruce managed to get to the essence of Nomi’s being, the strength of her character with one statement: “She was a giver.”
The message of her life was to live and love well and deeply —to use the limited time we have on earth (and hers was all too limited) to transmit love, devotion and commitment to our spouses, our  children, our family, and our community. It is a message that Naomi knew and exhibited well before her sickness, but one which clearly became more focused in her last 31 months (she lived 31 months after being advised that she had only 9-12 months). It is a message symbolized by the fact that she made her son Noah a tallis and tallis bag, and managed to make her daughter Lexi a tallis, which will blanket her in her mother’s love when she has her Bat-Mitzvah this winter.

To Naomi’s husband, children, mother, sisters, and  extended family—may you find peace and comfort in knowing that her life and her message has touched a whole community. At Etz Chaim Synagogue this afternoon, the room overflowed with tears-tears of children, students, parents, teachers, alumni, grandparents, young and old. An entire community was there. An entire community sang the song Oseh Shalom,  something which  Rabbi Lander poignantly suggested we do as it was  the song that he last sung to Naomi before she passed away.

 And after more tears, I found myself standing next to one of my classmates, another one of the nine girls in my graduating class of 1982. We found each other, and hugged. We both know that the circle has been broken, and our hearts ache.

By Jay Raisen, November 22, 2010
To my long-time friend,
The bond of friendship…
We schooled together since kindergarten, learned the aleph bet and abc’s with many of the same teachers, the same friends, the same school. We played together, and shared a vast array of common experiences.
We reconnected relatively recently at our 25th high school reunion, not having seen each other and many of our other classmates and old friends for many years. The warm bonds forged since childhood became stronger.    As with all enduring friendships, there was a sense of immediate recognition - as if no time had passed at all. Your vibrant warmth, jolly nature, and sincerity was evident, as we reminisced about fun, innocent, and happy times. I will always remember your bubbly smile, laughter, enthusiasm, and honesty, -- you were always a mensch.
While memories may fade, our feelings and hopes remain for those lifetime friends ….and now also for their families. We grew up helping each other and learning from each other. 
Our friends pillar our past, our present and our potentials.
My heart is heavy. I pray your family can take at least a slight solace in this terrible time, in knowing how many lives you have touched so positively, and in this case I am but just one.
 I am grateful for the privilege of calling you my long-time friend… and I will never forget.
Jay Raisen
By Susan (Cohen) Meged, November 16, 2010
Naomi came into my life on the first day of grade 7. I was one of the new arrivals from Ramah School and was a bag of nerves the day I walked into JWC. It was funny though, that our small group of Ramah girls and a small group of Talmud Torah girls had gravitated towards each other and, by lunchtime, were sitting in a circle eating together. One of those Talmud Torah girls was Naomi Rosenberg, a small thing with a big smile and a big laugh!&
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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