Jack Lemmon once said that death ends a life, not a relationship. Hilda’s and my relationship was very special, it shaped me a lot and will therefore always accompany me. When I started my wonderful and moving year at Project Ezra I visited Hilda once a week and mainly read the newspaper to her. I was glad to be with her and talk to her. My visits then consisted mainly of listening to her numerous stories – everyone who has met her probably knows that she could talk on forever. After a while our relationship grew closer. Hilda unfortunately became much weaker during my time in America but however it was just wonderful to see her face lightning up as soon as I came to see her. Even though she could not see well, she recognized my mood and asked me about everything. I often felt that she could understand some things without me explicitly talking about them. She was exactly 80 years older than me but became one of my best friends. Sometimes she seemed to me so much younger than she actually was and in other moments she seemed just like the very wise and very old lady that she was.
Hilda taught me a lot. In the beginning of our relationship, she primarily told me many interesting facts about history and Judaism. The better we knew each other, the more I learned from her. I understood a lot about human life and humans with all their strengths and weaknesses. Some things however I will never understand.
Spending my afternoons with her made me feel needed and very useful. In turn, I did not feel lonely and the anonymous big city of New York seemed so much smaller in a way. We cooked Matzo-Brei together and chatted for hours until dusk. Then Hilda would get quite strict and send me home in her outstandingly tough yet funny way.
I am grateful for every single of these afternoons and will keep them in my heart. I have told and will tell so many more people about my dear friend Hilda Weitman, one of the strongest persons I have met in my life.
I miss you, Hilda!
by ARSP-Volunteer Eva Hermann