It has been a difficult year since the passing of Yaffa Koptieva on May 30, 2018 (16th of Sivan); her soul was returned to her Creator at the ripe and good age of 96. Nevertheless, her passing was a blow to her children, her entire extended family, and the enourmous Beth Gavriel Community. She shared a special bond with the congregants of the Beth Gavriel Community Center, which bears the name of her predeceased husband. Her passing was felt far and wide, by family and friends in America, Israel, Austria, and other countries. Remarkably, she managed to stay connected with everyone, no matter where they lived.
Our dear Yaffa was an extraordinary Mother and Grandmother, as attested to by a life full of struggle and determination. She was witness to so many of the unbearable burdens and sorrows of her time including the pain of an untimely loss of her beloved husband. He served a cruel ten-year sentence in Soviet dungeons as a victim of slander. She also experienced all the long-term difficulties of being the family’s sole breadwinner during the years of devestation and war.
In January 1947 and after obtaining permission from the authorities, this young and courageous woman braved harsh conditions of the post-war period to just get a glimpse of her husband. She journeyed for many days via multiple trains, from the temperate city of Samarkand to the freezing town of Krasnoturyinsk in the Urals. Her actions even warmed the cold hearts of the prison camp authorities; they respected her valor. Dire circumstance compelled our mother to give up her prestigious nursing career and test her hand in ‘Soviet commerce.’ The unforgiving system repeatedly forced her to risk personal freedom for only a chance to aqcuire the barest necessities for her family’s survival. Our beloved mother experienced terrible agony, distress and heartache after losing her husband at the tender age of 48. But she stood tall and shouldered the task of family lead. Though she accepted responsibility over her two teenage sons, Ilya and Rafael, she never diminished her motherly warmth for the families of her eldest son Yosef and daughter Lida.
Recognizing that her children did not have a future in Soviet Russia, Yaffa made a life-
changing decision to immigrate to Israel, despite the obvious difficulty of a single mother. As soon as an opportunity presented itself in August of 1973, she and her two sons Ilya and Rafael left Dushanbe by train. Subsequently, they had to go through another two difficult emigrations – to Austria and America, finally settling in New York in 1979. It was here that she blossomed, endowing her family and community with the greatest gifts possible: harmony, peace, and great wisdom. It was on her initiative, more than 20 years ago, that the Koptiev and Alishaev families united to lay the foundations of the world-renowned Beth Gavriel cultural and religious center.Our mother deposited a most valuable treasure with her passing—a good name and esteem in the eyes of man and heaven. This name is honorably carried in the world by her children and grandchildren, who continue her legacy of selflessly giving to many public projects.
Fortunately, our mother’s name reverberates in another beautiful way—a year ago, a great-granddaughter was born who was named after her. Today, little Yaffa is stomping her
charming feet, announcing to the world that the legacy of Grandmother Yaffa lives on in her descendants; a legacy of righteous deeds, wisdom, and love for her people.
The life of our beloved mother is a vivid and instructive roadmap for human happiness. Yes, it tells the story of difficulty and obstacles, but it also demonstrates the light at the end of the tunnel, the emerging sun from amongst the gray clouds. Though a day may set, G-d reveals the bright tomorrow.
We cannot help but revere and love this unforgettable person clearly marked with G-d’s grace. She is forever in our hearts, in our memory, and in our life. We truly miss her kindness, tenderness, love and wise words.
With love: her children, daughters-in-law, son-in-law, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, relatives and friends.
Friday night and Shabbat Day will be held on May 17 and 18 in the Troyka restaurant. The first year’s commemoration will take place on May 21 in the restaurant Elite Palace at 7 pm. For more info, please contact: Ilya (917) 701-7222; Rafael (917) 570-6220; Lida (917) 687-0205.
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