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Denise Punger MD FAAFP IBCLC

A Tribute to My Grandmother

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Adele Deutsch: A Mother to Us All

May, 10, 1925—December 19, 2004


Written and Presented By Denise Punger  with  David  Stuart on December 21, 2004


Respectfully, we the children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, husband, family, and friends of our Mother, Adele Schlein Friedman Deutsch show  honor to her on this sad day.


Doctors said she had a sickly heart her whole life. I say she had a strong heart for mothering. She made each one of us feel the most loved. It did not matter if you were her biologic or her step child. Her heart had enough love for us all. Anyone who knows her would know how much she loved each one of us.


As a child in West Babylon, I have fond memories of Grandma Adele: the cole-slaw and chicken parmesan she made for me, playing with her in the above-ground-pool with cool rap-around-deck, showing us the forest trail behind her house that lead to her sisters house and the candy store, chasing fire flies together, and playing with the leaves that looked like “W’s” for West Babylon and opening the nut pods off the oak trees and sticking them to our noses. The girl’s bedroom upstairs was like a secret place for all of us girls to gather.


Through the years, I recall Grandma, sharing the details of her daughter’s, Joanne, Jackie, and her son David’s lives whom were across the country as if they were right there with us. She was a proud mother. I feel like I have celebrated with you your marriages, children, grandchildren, career advancements, and graduations, travels, honors and disappointments. She was always bragging about you.


My most recent adult memories of Grandma Adele include giving me encouragement in my non-Jewish world to make contact with a Rabbi for the first time in my life and honor my son David Stuart’s birth right.


And another recent memory is my last visit with her that happened to be on David Stuart’s first birthday. She seemed conscience of not having a toy as a gift for him on this day. As it turns out, I was telling her about my older boy’s activities in Hebrew school at Temple Beth El Israel and she seemed pleased to hear of their involvement and thoughtfully pulled out a souvenir kippah from her son David’s Bar Mitzvah in 1968 at Temple Beth Shalom and asked if we could use it. The name “David” is imprinted inside with date and location. I readily accepted this old and faded silk thing. There is no toy that could match the meaning of this gift; passing down our heritage. David and I will always have this as a loving memory of Grandma Adele as she encouraged me to go with our heart and encouraged my growth in Judaism. She welcomed my e-mail and articles on topics such as the influence Judaism has had on my own mothering style. She specifically complimented me on how well I could express my beliefs (and lack of beliefs). She reminded and comforted me that if I never did a religious thing in my life, I’d still be Jewish.


Ironically, little did I ever imagine that David and I would come up to the bimah and present a tribute to her life in another Temple called Beth Shalom with this ragged kippah and I would be struggling to find the words to tell all of you the significant role she played in my life.  In her passing, she is still inspiring me as I reflect on my memories, what really matters, and my rights to observe Jewish mourning rituals in her memory.


May Grandma’s loving ways teach us to be just as loving.


Grandma Adele, we all come together as One today, honoring you and ignoring our differences, we all pray for you today in unity. May our prayers lift your soul to the highest spiritual elevation. Please look down on us and protect us and all of our children. I want to continue to make you proud of me. I love you.



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Denise Punger MD FAAFP IBCLC
4640 S. 25th Street
Ft. Pierce, Florida, 34981
Copyright 2005