by Eva Falla
(Calgary) – My first meeting with Lil Faider happened 30 years ago as a student of Reb. Roy Tannnenbaum’s class and sitting in one of the student’s seat, at the top-most level (SS131) of the Beth Tzedec, Congregation. Her invitation to me was to ‘break the Yom Kippur fast’ with her family and relatives that evening thereafter, it was tradition. After my conversion to the Jewish faith and adopting the name of Esther Rachel bat Abraham, Lil was there as a witness at the Mikveh.
Lil talked me through the ‘female version’ of being a Jew. We sat together each Sabbath at the Beth Tzedec, Congregation in Aisle F (F for Faider/F for Falla) as I often remarked. From those seats we were more aware of how tarnished the Torah’s breastplates were and we undertook the polishing of silver on behalf of the Beth Tzedec Congregation. Lil encouraged me to list my name in the Calgary Jewish Community Directory 194-1995 edition, the Calgary Jewish Free Press and to join the Ladies Auxiliary (sewing) Group at the Chevra Kadisha where ‘we practiced Chesed Shel Emet’.
Many Sabbaths later, after attending morning prayers at the Beth Tzedec, Lil asked me if I would drive her home in her car and I knew her driving to Shul earlier had been her last time behind the wheel. Thereafter we attended socials, unveiling and meetings (Interfaith, etc.) together in my vehicle. I remember our attendance at an unveiling at the Erlton Cemetery and, as we had arrived quite early, we walked ker over to her son’s resting place thereby acknowledging our visit and Lil was quite surprized that Eric was there.
I’ve spent many treasured times with Lil while driving, at her home and on her back patio watching the golfers walk by, many of whom called out to her.
For Lil, the telephone was always a means of keeping in contact with her family and friends and so often told me her brother Hy called her every day. This practice continued between us more and more and during my last call to her I confessed because of my affliction ‘I could no longer go on’ and Lil replied ‘Eva you must keep going do not give up I’ll pray for you’ and Lil hung up.
The time between Lil’s advice to me and my receiving the call from her niece advising me of Lil’s death can be anybody’s guess as my mind has been scarred by my illness.
Carol Ryder telephoned me of Lil’s passing and advising ‘in light of Covid, there will not be a public service’ however I was invited to attend the internment on Thursday, June 3rd. I was indeed honoured to have been selected to spend this final time with Lil Faider, my friend.