Just moments before Shabbos as the sun was setting our community lost a queen. For those who knew her not much needs to be said. Her character was stellar. Her life was dedicated to the pursuit of Chessed and helping others in need. With grace and elegance she always knew what to say and how to act.
There is never a “good time to die” but there is most certainly a bad time. Polly Etkind Hochberg epitomized in her life the exquisite words of Eyshes Chayil a true woman of valor. In fact if this poem was composed to describe her life it would likely fall short.
On a personal level Polly’s loss is especially painful. I’ve always believed that the greatest achievements of a person are in the smallest acts of kindness. Well, for the past eight years that I have been blessed to be a part of the Park East community, Polly preformed an act of kindness that I will never forget. My 12 years old daughter loves to come to Shul and every Shabbos morning, in fact every Friday night she puts out two outfits as possibilities for her to wear in Shul the next day. I would leave early in the morning and she would always join me a little later in the day. Being a young lady from a divorced home coming to Shul and not having Mom around is not at all easy.From the very first Shabbos Polly saw my daughter walk into shul she “adopted her” And so for the last eight years every Shabbos Yehduit would sit right next to Polly in Shul. They would chat (not during her dad’s davening) they would Daven together and they became “friends”. Polly never spoke about it never made a big deal of it she simply opened her heart to a child who was in a complex saturation and needed a warm place.
Hashems ways are a mystery and its baffling to understand why such a special kind and magnificent person would pass away so young and with such suffering. But of this I am certain the gates of heaven have been swung wide open. And there is no doubt that today heaven shines so much brighter. May her memory be a blessing for all those who knew her.
To our dear and devoted President Herman Hochberg and his daughter Marisa our thoughts and prayers are with you. The entire community mourns with you. You are not alone. May Hashem Comfort you in the way only HE can.