Miriam Abileah (Z'L), Mother of Ron Abileah,
passed away in Toronto, Saturday, March 11th, 2006.
Message from Ron
Many thanks to all of you
for the condolences and memories you sent us over the past week. We are also very grateful to cousin Adi and sister Ilania
for passing on the news about my mother while we were off to Toronto. Also thanks to Ilania for setting up a really wonderful web page in my mother's memory.
As many of you know, my mother was something of a recluse in Toronto for the past couple of decades. But not a complete recluse: there were a few political and environmental
organizations that heard plenty from her! In the past week we collected her papers and a few books from which we can
surmise a few more interesting details of her life.
Despite the fact that my mother lived on a very modest pension
income it appears that she was a frequent and generous financial contributor to many organizations related to medical research
and Israel-Palestinian peace. I was quite surprised at the amounts on cancelled checks we found among her papers.
She was a frequent contributor to Mt.SinaiHospital which turned out to also be one of the institutions that provided her excellent
care in her final months.
One of her many political/environmental causes was getting cyclists off Toronto sidewalks and pedestrian trails. (Try Googling: abileah cyclists. Googling "miriam-abileah" will turn
up some additional links not related to cyclists) We now have a collection of humorous posters she designed to advertise
this issue. We don't know if these posters were ever printed and distributed. We did notice on our last day in
Toronto that downtown has marked bike lanes, which perhaps came about in part through
We also found a large number of books on Napoleon and on travelling in France. My mother was a frequent traveller to Europe, especially France.
We found many detailed maps, train schedules, Michelin guides and postcards from every region of France. There are numerous notes in the margins of books related to her interest and writings about the Napoleon
era. My mother obviously loved France and we have decided
that France is where she would have chosen to return to rest in peace.
I are planning to scatter her ashes over France in June.
Miriam with Ron
Miriam Kauders was born in Berlin10 October 1917. She came to Israel as a very young girl. During the 2nd World
War, she joined the RAF (Royal Air Foce) and served in Egypt doing Metrology, and photography. After the war, Miriam lived
in Jerusalem where she met my Father Hans Abileah
(Z'L) and married him in 1946. After the War of Independence (1948), they moved to Ramleh, where I joined them after a 3-year stay in Kibbutz Geva.
Miriam was a dedicated educator. She really tried to help me keep practicing German. When I was 13, my brother
Ron was born (1950). Then we moved to Givatayim, Ramat Gan. When Ron was about 6, she went to the US. She worked in the YeshivaUniversity as an assistant to a Professor in the Medical school, doing all his scientific translation
to and from German. She after two years, she was able to bring Ron to the US where they lived in Forest Hills, Queens, NY. When Dodi & I came to New York on our way to Canada,
we spent some time with Miriam and Ron in Forest Hills.
In 1970, after Ron has moved away to go to college in Kansas City and then in San Jose, California, she came to live in Montreal, where I lived. She was a wonderful grandmother to my son Rami,
and I still remember the beautiful books and gifts she brought for him. After a few years she moved to Toronto because the situation in Quebec was bothersome to her.
Miriam worked as a free-lance translator. She also read a lot and had an extensive library. She believed
in public transportation and walking.She had strong legs and kept herself in
good shape.She traveled to Europe and across Quebec, doing archival research. She wrote an interesting
book, about a woman born in a village in southern Quebec, when the borders with the US were not as defined as today. The lady joined a circus and traveled all over Europe, married a German prince, who joined Maximilian's army in Mexico. She let me read the book and I could not
put it down and read it until
Later on Miriam started doing research about Napoleon and traveled to all the places that Napoleon passed through and
wrote about it. In the past few years, we have not seen Miriam. However, we do have good memories of times spent with her.
Rest in peace Miriam.
Note:When we were growing up, it was Miriam
who actually took all the pictures with her box camera. This picture and the one in the previous page, were taken by
me when she came with us to visit Linda and Hank Avery in Bromont in 1975 (Miriam is in the center with myself and Dodi
My last communication with Miriam was about two years ago when we exchanged cards.
I have scanned some of her writing here.
Ilania Abileah (Mookie)
When Michael Werbowski studied in Toronto, he spent a lot of time with Miriam. He
has good memories to share too.
"I had the chance to spend some wonderful times with Miriam in Toronto many years ago...she inspired
me, or at the least sparked my interest about several issues. Miriam
had strong views on "hot topics", as those of us who knew her often remarked.Yet
this made her a passionate observer of the world scene.And whether you agreed
or disagreed with them, one thing was certain: they stemmed from her deep and unswerving commitment to the
global causes of social justice.
Such people are a very rare breed these days.Miriam, in addition
to being well versed in almost everything that related to history, also had a great interest
in the life of Napoleon. She shared her admiration for this legendary leader with me during the occasions we
met.She was a generous person, with impeccable good taste for the best in life, yet
at the same time she remained modest.Her writings on the many topics she
researched and documented will hopefully be preserved for us all, as part of our family's rich cultural heritage...
I will miss her in many ways...
brother and I wish to thank all our relatives and friends who sent condolences. Ilania Abileah