Words Spoken At a Grave Site – Remembering Marion DS Dreyfus, OBM
(The following article was written in memory of Marion DS Dreyfus. Jewish Voice readers may remember Marion’s book and film reviews which she so graciously contributed for inclusion on the JV web site)
By: Phyllis Chesler
Together with Moshe Rabinowitz, her brother, and my rabbi, Benjamin Skydell, I helped organize a funeral service for my dear friend, Marion Dreyfus (z”l). She died on Thursday, August 10, 2023, and was buried on August 13, 2023.
Her death was utterly unexpected. Here is what I said at the grave site in Old Montefiore Cemetery in Queens on a fiercely hot day.
Marion was larger than life—so colorful, so whimsical, so creative; what she did with scarves, how she wound them round her head into the most amazing turbans, constituted performance art—and add to that her jewelry, her elaborate makeup, her matching tunics, caftans, cloaks, and multi-colored fur coats—and truly, you would think you were dining with a Jewish grandee in Turkey or India some centuries ago.
Yes, Marion was larger than life and now she might also be larger than Death. Friends, family, editors, publishers, and political allies will all remember her pithy, hard-hitting, sometimes outrageous words and ideas as long as they live.
Marion was a woman of great passion and boundless energy. She was a dear friend and a frequent Shabbos guest—but she was also a fine poet, an accomplished journalist, in both the arts and the sciences, a world traveler (she visited at least 107 countries), did five tours of duty in the IDF—and she was also a professional calligrapher, a graphologist, an actress, a wit, and a quintessential Dame About Town.
She used to bike everywhere and she lived to tell the tale of countless stolen bikes in this fair city of ours. Her life was hard, not easy. Her laptop and her cellphone defeated her again and again; money was a constant worry, as was the state of the Union, and above all, the state of Israel. She worried about her sister in Chicago as well and spent long hours trying to contact her.
Marion studied Torah with Fern Sidman and myself on Sunday evenings. We were always suspended in time, out of step, between parshiot, and thus, we always had the choice of either lingering overly long with the last chapter, or beginning the next one a day early.
And now, Marion, once so vital; Marion, who was just here among us— now Marion, your Miriam Dvorah, is with you, God. As Isaiah said: “Nahamu, nahamu, Ami…be comforted my people….Cal Habasar hazir…All flesh is grass…yavaaysh hazir naval zif…the grass withers, the flower fades….V’Dvar Eloheynu yakoom l’olam…But the word of our God shall stand forever.”
(Isaiah 40:1; 40: 6-8).
(This article was originally published on the New English Review web site, newenglishreview.org)
The following was written by Fern Sidman, editor of the Jewish Voice.
On Sunday, August 13th, we said goodbye to our dear friend Marion Ds Dreyfus, 78, of blessed memory, who passed away on August 10th. Marion (Miriam Devorah bas HaRav Yaakov Shimon, zt’l) will be sorely missed by me and everyone who had the privilege of being in her orbit. Marion was a very special neshoma with an exceptionally kind heart and caring nature. She never wasted a moment on this earth and the words “bitul zman” were not in her vocabulary. A brilliant, eloquent and tremendously knowledgeable person, she used her smarts to help others as she courageously championed the causes that meant so much to her.
I want to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt appreciation to Marion, of blessed memory, for her frequent contributions of film and book reviews for inclusion on the Jewish Voice web site and for her oeuvre of soulful and artful poetry.
I will miss not only a dear friend and devoted Torah learning companion, but I will miss a unique person for whom this world is infinitely better in so very many ways because she was here for 78 years and for her countless extraordinary accomplishments on the behalf of the nation of Israel, and all humanity.
The Torah says that a person really never expires as their neshoma is eternal. For me, Marion’s presence will always be felt and I know that she is tirelessly advocating for her family, friends and all of Klall Yisroel from her special perch next to the KeeSay HaKavod (Hashem’s Throne). May the infinite amount of mitzvot she performed on this earth as well as her astounding good deeds be a merit for all of us and may we live to see Moshiach Tzidkenu Bimheyra v’Yameimu.