Rabbi Ken Chasen

Allan Axelrad

Stephen Axelrad

Karen Axelrad

Eve Axelrad

Joel Axelrad

Eulogy for Harriet Axelrad

Delivered by Karen Axelrad

When we were children mom was always there for us – she read to us, she nursed us, she could always be found in the kitchen. Her children and later her grandchildren were raised on the best toll house cookies and home-made kreplach soup in town. She hid the brownies to save them for dinner. Mostly, we found them—once in the washing machine.

A remarkable transformation happened when her children were grown. She found many new friends and new activities and she flourished. There was rarely a day when she didn’t bring a freshly minted poem to the breakfast table.

My children lived with her while attending college. She corrected their essays and cooked for them. Dion cooked for her too, and Florian played his clarinet for her.

We are all reading meaningful poems today, but I always thought the best ones were the humorous ones. She maintained her sense of humor right up until the very end. We laughed and sang in her bedroom.

I was thinking how hard it would be to choose a poem from the hundreds she wrote, but when I was cleaning off my desk in Berlin to come here, this was on top so I imagine it was written this year:


My children, my blessed children
Who bring to me stars in my eyes
Who have children themselves to adore them
They are the reason for my existence
For making my life a joy.
Each going his own way
Each looking for life in a way that matters
And remembering me who began this journey.
From you pleasure soars from me
And I am grateful beyond words.

Mom, we’ll miss you.