Remembering my mother, Lena Sami
By Renee Sami
Born in New York on a cold winter's night by candlelight, Lena Sami was a beaut extraordinaire. She was the ideal.
Whenever she went out, she was always complimented on her style, her hair, her attractiveness. No one would believe her age of 94!
I found her the most beautiful when she woke up. Even memories as a child, I would wonder at her lovely skin and fragrance.
Her spirit was young and strong. She held her family together through many traumas and tragedies.
Her inside beauty shone through in her values and principles.
• Her husband, Rouben, whom she loved fiercely till the day she died. They say passion turns into compassion, but not with them. They loved each other with a fire that could not be extinguished.
• Her family-her daughter (me) for whom she waited so many years and the love that she gave me as a child to the end. Her son-her prince. In Turkish, "her Pasha." Always teaching us consideration and kindness through her own example.
• Education-In secular and Hebrew school, study and tradition was always a priority. She was truly a Jewish mother, chicken soup and all.
• She was very active and became a champion bowler, of which she was very proud, and spent time with my dad exercising, and in his retirement, enjoyed many travel cruises and trips with her friends.
• She was a life member of Hadassah, where she worked hard selling cards and raising funds. She also opened the meetings by singing The Hatikva and Star Spangled Banner. She was named Woman of the Year in Hadassah and honored in Temple Israel's Sisterhood as a Woman of Valor.
Prior to moving to Orlando, she volunteered for ORT, Jewish Defamation League and B'Nai B'rith.
She fought violently to help Rouben in his battle with Alzheimers, never giving up hope. And finally last year, she was in touch with the gentleman who wrote the book "The Monument Men" and was able to get the recognition my dad deserved as a Monument Man. His name was added to the list of surviving Monuments Men and he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, of which we are most proud.
May her spirit remain with us and her memory be a testament to all that she stood for. My mother, my friend, my love.