Farewell, Elissa

I woke up this morning to find my Facebook news feed filled with photos and posts about Elissa Froman, and realised that the inevitable had happened – that this beautiful person who I knew for but a fleeting moment had lost her brave, years-long battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and passed away last night.

I met Elissa in Jerusalem in winter 2005, when we were both studying at the Hebrew University and living in questionable makeshift dorms in the Jerusalem Gate Hotel. I met so many people over that period, all varied and interesting in their own ways, and yet somehow my memories of Elissa never faded. One that stands out is the hours she spent holed up in her dorm room helping me memorize a parsha for my little sister’s batmitzvah that year. She was patient and knowledgeable, and somehow got me ready though I’d never chanted torah before, and both of us had a million things we’d rather have been doing. This woman was wise behind her years, funny and sharp, always with a kind look on her face and a twinkle in her eye.

Over the years since I’ve met countless people across Israel who knew Elissa – whether they grew up with her in Chicago or like me simply had the honor of having met her – and the impression is always the same. She touched everyone she met, plain and simple, and I’ve felt instantly linked having Elissa as a common bond. A glance down her Facebook page today shows hundreds of heart-wrenching quotes from friends and acquaintances alike, all remembering this strong, inspirational woman. Elissa held a special place in the hearts of everyone she met, and I know she always will.

I hope her family and friends can find solace in the fact that she suffers no more, and celebrate her life as they mourn her loss.

Shalom, chavera.

Elissa and me in Jerusalem, January 2005

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