Rita Benjamin Gavzy passed away on January 29, 2020 at Cedar Crest Retirement Community after a long illness. She was 92.
Born in Paterson, New Jersey, Rita and her cherished husband Max maintained lifelong friendships with a large, close group of Patersonians who moved en masse to Fair Lawn where they raised their families, retired to the Atlantic coast of Florida, and later came back to northern New Jersey. Surviving close friends will miss her greatly.
Rita and Max met on a blind date in 1946. He had many of the outgoing qualities of her beloved father, Ike Benjamin, which released Rita's warmth and allowed her to embrace others. Married for 67 years, until Max's death in 2015, they had 3 children, 5 grandchildren and one great grandchild. Their grandchildren have wonderful memories of winter vacations visiting Rita and Max in Boca Raton and Delray Beach.
Rita and Max also traveled extensively, including many trips to Israel. Rita had a lifelong commitment to her Jewish heritage and was active in Jewish communities wherever she lived. Among the organizations she was involved with are the UJA, Hadassah, and the sisterhood of the Fair Lawn Jewish Center. Rita passed along her deep Jewish values to her children and grandchildren, all of whom strongly identify with their Jewish faith.
Rita also embraced Tikkun Olam, working to do what she could to help people. She was an educator who both taught and developed school programs (including the ground-breaking Dale Avenue Early Childhood Program in Paterson) to nurture children from underprivileged communities and families. She also painstakingly translated books into Braille.
Rita was preceded in death by Max, whom she lovingly cared for over many years, and by the devastating loss of her son Ike in 2011. She is survived by children Bill (Laura), Debby Nedelman (Jerry), daughters-in-law Catherine Breier and Jamie Kreiman, grandchildren Arianna, Asher (Jaclyn), Sam, Liza, and Al, and great grandchild, Lyla.
The family wishes to thank the caring staff at Cedar Crest, the Hospice nurses and Rita's wonderful caregivers.
Funeral services will be held on January 31 at 11:00 AM at Schoem's Menorah Chapel in Paramus, NJ. Internment will follow at Beth El Cemetery in Paramus. The family requests that donations in her memory be made to the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey