Modern Miriam – Flory Jagoda

This past Shabbat, known as Shabbat Shira, we learned of the death of Flory Jagoda, a modern-day Miriam who lead her people in song for decades. She was 97. Here are some of the words I spoke at her funeral this past Monday morning at King David Cemetery:

“I don’t recall the exact moment I met Flory. In the mid-seventies, I remember hearing Folk and Baroque, her first band here, with Alex Gakner, Fred Ederer and Bob Sprecher. At the time I was launching the Jewish Folk Arts Society. I recall we invited Flory to perform Sephardic music at the 2nd Jewish Folk Arts Festival and at every festival in the coming years. She and Harry, her wonderful husband, hosted many July 4th picnics for members of the Society and others. The setting on Lake Barcroft was beautiful. We all felt like Mishpacha.

About Mishpacha…She often mentioned her village….Vlacenitza… near Sarajevo and about her mishpacha. Mishpacha was everything to Flory. Her love of life, her love for Harry and her children, Betty, Lori, Andy and Elliot z’l and her nietos also included many of us. I liked it when she would call me Rabino David with a sparkle in her eye. She co-officiated at our marriage. She enjoyed when we called her Nona.

Flory passed on Shabbat, Friday night. Our sages teach us that when someone passes on the Shabbat or a holiday that person receives a special escort from the highest realms…an honor guard from HaYotzer.

We might imagine her-being surrounded by her Nona, her mother Rosa and her beloved tias…her aunts named in a song she composed…Mazalta, Gracia, Estreya, Luna. Paloma, and Sapira… We might imagine them lighting Shabbat candles with her and, in song and dance, with timbrel in hand like Miriam haN’via, accompanying her home. The photo of Flory in the Post with timbrel in hand was so perfect.

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