Geraldine and I lived together as partners for over two beautiful years. I thought my meeting with Geraldine was little short of miraculous, since I was 85 she was just five years younger. She was visiting Israel at the time. Geri (as I called her) was a handsome and vivacious woman, warm and full of the joys of life, proud of her large family and their accomplishments. At the last count she had 36 descendants, many of whom had settled in Israel and are prominent in Israeli life.
She came on aliyah to be with me, and after she joined me every moment became a pleasure. In Israel she saw beauty in everything, even the long hot dry summers were beautiful to her. She loved music and loved singing and dancing, and in her memory was an incredible store of old songs for which she had not forgotten a single word. One just had to hum an old melody and she was already singing it. She made friends easily and made many new ones in Israel. And she was full of enthusiasm for almost any social activity.
She threw herself into working for ESRA, and joined the board of the Rehovot chapter soon after arriving here, trying hard to organize a local befrienders group. She was a popular member of the “TEAM” social club in Rehovot, and of the local Shakespeare group, always remembered for giving a hilarious and unforgettable rendering of the ghost in Hamlet. And she was a formidable scrabble player. Geri was a courageous woman. The sound of sirens and rockets exploding during the last Gaza episode did not bother her at all, since her childhood was spent in London during the blitz of WWII and she’d experienced it all before. She just shrugged it off.
They say man proposes but God disposes. Just when her life here was filled with activities Geri began the steep descent that tragically ended her life. At a certain point it became clear that she could no longer continue to be looked after at home, even with help, and the difficult decision was made jointly with her daughters Peta Pellach (in Jerusalem) and Amanda Gordon (in Sydney) to part so that she could be cared for in familiar surroundings. Geri returned to Sydney accompanied by me and her granddaughter Rebecca Aminoff. Our eventual parting two months later in Sydney was traumatic. From then on we spoke by phone at least once every week, even though she gradually became less and less lucid. For the longest time she was always planning how to return to Israel again, and I could not bring myself to disillusion her. She passed away in her sleep on Yom Kippur.
May her memory be for a blessing.