Bella Baum
Wednesday, 03 October 1923 - Monday, 20 July 2020
Funeral Date: Thursday, 23 July 2020

Bella Pearl (nee Raphael) Baum

Airmont - Bella Baum died unexpectedly from natural causes on Monday, July 20, 2020. She was 96.

Bella will be deeply missed by her surviving sister Jennie Raphael (of New York City) and her children, Holly Baum of Buffalo, Howard of New Hempstead, Richard of West Nyack, and Irv of Ridgewood, NJ, daughters-in-law Anna Marie, Michelle and Carol-Ann, grandchildren Esther, Natasha, Eliana, Mikaela, Amanda and Megan, her surrogate daughter Grace Levine, her long-time neighbor and dear friend JoJo, as well as many other friends and relatives. Bella was predeceased by her husband of 37 years Nathan, her older sister Bessie Raphael, and her son-in-law James Taylor.

A resident of Rockand County since the late 1950s, Bella was born October 3, 1923 in New York City where she was raised by Esther (nee Daniel) and Hanania Raphael, immigrants from Veria, Greece (formerly part of the Ottoman Empire). Growing up, she enjoyed roller skating and going to dances. In 1955 Bella married Nathan, a Holocaust survivor born in Poland who immigrated to the U.S. after WWII. They were introduced by mutual friends and Bella thought "he was so handsome." Bella worked part-time in the family fabric store "Holly's Fabrics" on Route 59 in Spring Valley in the 1970s, but committed most of her married life to raising her four children, all born between 1956 and 1959, including a set of twins. When Nathan became ill and totally dependent on Bella, they moved to Florida for awhile so she could more easily take him out. But eventually they returned to Rockland County to be near family.

With the part-time assistance of aides, most recently Allison and Edith, she was able to live independently prior to her death. She spent time working on puzzles, playing bingo and baking for her senior club activities. She enjoyed meeting and getting to know people, and she would dance whenever she was given the opportunity. Bella got tremendous joy from spending time with family and friends, especially celebrating holidays and birthdays, and attending her grandchildren's events. She took pride in how she dressed and always greeted everyone with a warm smile. The many medical obstacles she faced over the years never dampened her enthusiasm for life and her exuberant spirit. She especially enjoyed video chatting during the COVID-19 crisis. When she was younger she enjoyed visiting her daughter's family in Buffalo. A life-long Democrat, Bella had a very big heart and will be remembered as a devoted wife, mother, sister and friend. She made the best of the many challenges life sent her way.

Services for the immediate family will be noon tomorrow at Robert Schoem Menorah Chapel, 150 Route 4, Paramus, NJ. Burial will follow at Cedar Park Cemetery, Paramus.

The family suggests donations be made to:: Rockland County Office for the Aging Advisory Council, Jewish Family Services of Rockland County, SAGE Advocacy & Services for LGBT Elders, The Sephardic Jewish Brotherhood of America, or to any other charity of your choice.

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