Mrs. Ettel Furman zt”l


It is with great sadness that reports the passing of Mrs. Ettel Furman a”h.

Mrs. Furman was born in Uruguay, a daughter of Moshe Yakov and Esther Malka Feldman. Her parents immigrated to South America from Romania after World War I. Two ships arrived in South America, one from Lithuania and one from Romania; one of these vessels had originally intended to go to North America but traveled to South America. The passengers thought that they would take a train to North America, but never did. So, a Litvishe and Chassidishe community flourished in South America, serving as a catalyst for the shidduch of Ettel and her husband, Reb Yosef Dov Furman.

Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1934, Reb Yosef was a son of Reb Moshe Reuven and Ita Leah Furman. Reb Yosef learned by Rav Shlomo Burstyn and Rav Chaim Abelson, who were talmidim of the Mir Yeshiva through Shanghai to New York and were later marbitz Torah in Montevideo. Reb Yosef was supposed to leave Montevideo and travel to New York to learn in the Mirrer Yeshiva, but due to his asthma condition, his mother was scared to allow him to undertake the long flight. Many of the bochurim who went from Montevideo to learn in the Mirrer Yeshiva in New York developed into bnei Torah. Among those who stayed back in Uruguay, for whatever reason, very few grew into bnei Torah. Reb Yosef Dov was one of those yechidei segulah. Being from the few Torahdiger bochurim in Montevideo of his age, the temptations to change were many, and the draw to do whatever everyone else did was tremendous. Reb Yosef stood steadfast with what he learned from his parents with the strong conviction that “to do what everyone else does is treif.

In 1957, Ettel and her husband married, and together they embarked on establishing a home deeply rooted in unwavering hashkofas haTorah.

When their second child was two years old, the Furmans decided to move to New York for better chinuch opportunities for their children. They settled in Crown Heights and later moved to Flatbush, where Reb Yosef attached himself to the Mirrer Yeshiva.

This major move entailed a tremendous amount of mesirus nefesh on Mrs. Furman’s part. In those years, to leave a country where both families were established, and to leave their parnassah and relocate to a foreign country with no knowledge of the language, constituted great mesirus nefesh on the part of Mrs. Furman and her husband. All this took place at a time when it was much harder to establish oneself in the less cohesive community in New York that existed then.

Mrs. Furman and her husband performed tremendous chassodim in a variety of understated ways, helping raise money for Torah and assisting people with their expenses in a quiet manner. Her home was an open house for many choshuve Yidden and families needing a place to stay, whether for days, weeks or months.

Both in the business world and the yeshiva world, Reb Yosef was respected by one and all for his honesty and yashrus. Reb Yosef was close to roshei yeshivos and talmidei chachomim, including Rav Elya Chazzan, Rav Shmuel Brudny, Rav Shmuel Berenbaum, Rav Shaul Brus, Rav Elya Jurkanski and Rav Hirsch Feldman.

Mrs. Furman was a pillar of support to her husband family. She did not need anything for herself, but always understood what her children needed and provided for them gladly. Each child, grandchild and great-grandchild felt a special relationship with her. Together with her husband, she taught by example.

Reb Yosef passed away six years ago.

Mrs. Furman is survived by her children, Rav Avrohom Furman, Rav Yaakov Furman, Rav Nuta Furman and Mrs. Yaffa Green, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren all following in her footsteps.  

Yehi zichrah boruch.

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