He recalled how his mother and father, Albert Bloom, rescued a fig tree from the yard of a home that was being demolished. The couple took it into their own yard, and Mrs. Bloom tended to it. The tree flourished, and still stands there today.
“She was always the doer of what seemed impossible,” Michael said. “Growing a flourishing fig tree in Pittsburgh.”
Michael drove into Pittsburgh from Virginia to share memories of his mother during her Feb. 17 shloshim at Hillel Academy in Squirrel Hill. More than 150 people crowded into the auditorium to share in the memories.
“We're not here to mourn her,” Shanen Bloom Werber, Mrs. Bloom's eldest child, said. “We're here to celebrate her.”
Mrs. Bloom was born, raised and educated in Pittsburgh, and she is buried in Jerusalem. She was preceded in death by her husband, the first editor of The Jewish Chronicle; and she is survived by her four children, Shanen Bloom Werber of Elazar, Israel; Dov Bloom of Beit Yatir, Israel; Dr. Elana Bloom of Pittsburgh; and Michael Bloom of Arlington, Va., and by 10 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.
At the shloshim, a table was filled with photos, lists of accomplishments, and letters commending Mrs. Bloom for her dedication detailed her involvement in various community organizations.
She was involved with many Jewish organizations locally and nationally, including the Jewish National Fund, Technion, NA’AMAT, Israel Bonds, Zionist Organization of America, Religious Zionists of America and Hadassah. She also played an influential role at the Hillel School, and helped in the founding of the Israel Film Festival, the Salute to Israel Parade, the Young People's Synagogue's “nursery shul”, and Shabbat-recognizing Girl Scout and Cub Scout troops in Pittsburgh.
She was recognized for her efforts as a “doer” and many spoke of her frank way of doing things.
“She didn’t care that not everyone approved [of her ways]; she did things the way she wanted,” Israel, ‘Richie,’ Pickholtz said in a video recording. “[She] respectfully spoke truth to power.”
Those who knew Mrs. Bloom vouch for her welcoming nature, love of teaching, and desire to treat others.
“She was always the master of her home,” family friend Albie Hochhauser said. “She and Al would invite everyone into the Bloom house, those who needed something to eat or just someone to comfort them.”
Though Mrs. Bloom played roles as a chemist, a teacher, a founder, a volunteer, and a friend, her grandchild, Reuven Garrett, remembers her as a woman “connected” to nature. He recalls the way she always opened the door of her sukka to the community, and how she always kept a plentiful garden of fruit for everyone to benefit from.
“I think the whole purpose of that, her tending, was to bring light to the world,” Garrett said. “She wanted to bring her community the fruit of the land.”
(Lindsay Dill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)