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Mira Abileah Bendor


Miriam Abileah Bendor

All texts below were provided by Giora Bendor, Aunt Mira's son.

The Bendor family regrets to inform you that Miriam (Abileah) Bendor, passed away at the age of 98 on Monday, August 27, 2012 at Dodge Park Rest Home in Worcester, MA.

She leaves behind her two sons, Giora A. Bendor of Columbia, MD and Jonathan Bendor of Charlton, MA; 5 grandchildren: Jacob, Jordan and Joseph sons of Jon & Jean Bendor, and Maya Shih and Daniel Bendor, daughter and son of Giora and Mali Bendor; 3 great- grandchildren: Nina, Elena and Sonia Shih; 1 sister, Maia Helles of NYC; 2 nephews Robert Just and Sebastian Doniach. She is predeceased by her husband of 71 years, Harry Z. Bendor, who passed in 2008.

Miriam was born in Switzerland, daughter of the late professor Arieh Abileah and Fea (Helles) Abileah. Harry and Miriam met in Israel and married in 1937. The family immigrated to the USA with their two sons in 1957, first settling in New Rochelle, NY. They moved to Northborough, MA in 1997 and lived there for 12 years. At the family’s request all services will be private. For online condolences, please visit:

A biographical sketch of Miriam is attached.

Miriam with her father Prof. Arie Abileah

Mira with her Harp and Arie Watching

The three sisters Maia, Deborah, Mira
At a family reunion in Deauville, France circa 1950

Biographical Sketch

Miriam Abileah Bendor 

Miriam Abileah, the middle daughter of Professor Arie Abileah and Fea Helles Abileah Moved from Switzerland to Israel in the early 20’s. Professor Abileah, a Pianist who came from Russia to enhance his musical talent in Geneva, Switzerland with one of Franz Liszt’s students, helped to establish the first school of music in Israel while Fea eventually opened a Eurhythmic school in Paris, France.


Miriam’s older sister, Dr. Deborah Doniach lived in London, UK where she practiced medical research. Miriam’s youngest sister, Maia Aaron Helles, lives in NYC and continues to teach the unique exercise techniques developed by her mother Fea.


Family reunion in Deauville, France (L-R) Maia, Deborah and Miriam-Circa 1950 Miriam was trained in music, specifically the harp, and throughout her life, loved music.    This was a passion which she transferred to her sons.


In her early 20’s Miriam was employed at the Palestine/Israel Electric Company where she worked in the billing department. It was there that she met Zvi Bourkaff. In 1937 Miriam and Zvi got married and moved to their apartment at George Eliot Street in Tel-Aviv. In 1940 Miriam’s first son (Giora) was born; WW II was well on its way. Three and a half years later Miriam’s second son (Jonathan) was born with adverse reaction to her RH-factor. Through sheer miracle Jon was saved as in those days there was no remedy for the potentially fatal reaction for the newborn.


The Family (L-R) Jon, Zvi, Miriam, Giora and Professor Arie Abileah

After years of rearing a family in the midst of never ending tensions with the Arab neighbours, and while still working at a full time job, Miriam and Zvi decided to move the family to the USA where Zvi had two brothers. In 1957 the family uprooted to New Rochelle, NY where a new life had to be started. Zvi worked with his youngest brother in the garment industry located in lower Manhattan


Upon becoming US citizens the family changed its surname from Bourkaff to Bendor. After supporting two kids through college Zvi and Miriam retired to their dream home at High-View, NY. It was their “dream come true” with fresh air, beautiful view of the valley below and a chance to work the land. When they reached their mid 80’s Miriam and Zvi moved to a senior citizens community in Northborough, MA; not far from their youngest son, Jon.  The Bendors’ two sons are married with 5 kids between them. Miriam and Zvi have three great-grand-daughters who live in Maryland.


The Family
Jon, Zvi, Mira, Griora, Arie

I have received Giora's message a few days following Aunt Mira's passing away.