Hesped by Joy's brother
Geoffrey Rochwarger

How does one show the proper kavod to someone who was not only my sister, but after my wife, was my closest friend in the world. There are so many things that I could tell everybody about Joy, most of which you know about, but I think that there are so many qualities and attributes that are talked about in Pirkei Avot, that Joy had. I will quote the mishnayis that I think talks about it best.

That's Joy. She spent twelve years as an educator, and had hundreds and hundreds of talmidim across the world. Even to this day, people stop me in the street when they recognise me as a Rochwager, as Joy's brother, and they tell me how they were in a shiur of Joy's, in a class of Joy's, that changed their lives for the better, and how they became better people, and how their families became better people because of it.

It never mattered to Joy what type of mitzva it was, what level of mitzva it was, she treated all mitzvos with the same vigor, and was aggressive about performing all of them. Whether it was coming to our house for shabbos as she did so often, bringing specifically the flowers that my wife loved so much to brighten up our house for shabbos. Or the that she displayed, especially after she found out that she was sick. Always going out of her way to make sure that my parents honor, my parent's kavod, was maintained.

She didn't care what was required of her physically or emotionally, she would just go and perform mitvos. A better example of that was what she did in Poland. How many times did people come over to her and say, "Poland? Why are you spending time in Poland? There's nothing left, there's nobody left. The war destroyed everybody." And she said "no, there are Jewish nefoshos there, there are Jewish souls there, they are just finding out that they are Jewish there. They need nourishment, they need the Torah, and if I don't go there then nobody is going to give it to them." And yes there are organizations there, but she felt they weren't doing it the right way, they weren't passing on the words of Torah in the right way, and she felt she had to do it, no matter how busy her schedule was she made sure time and time again to go back. Not only that, she got me involved in it, and she took me with her to Poland. And I don't think I can express with Poland and with everything else she did, how proud I was of her and everything she did. My sister Joy was a very special person. She was special for so many reasons. She was special for her love of Torah, and I shared that with her. It was a common occurrence that whenever she went and purchased a new sefer, or I purchased a new sefer, we would specifically buy an extra copy of that sefer, and would immediately call each other up and tell each other about the sefer. And try even on the phone to have some time so that we could learn together from that sefer, and enjoy the words of Torah from one another. She related to everybody and everything, whether from one extreme, in terms of learning, to all other extremes. We had a very interesting arrangement, Joy and me. She taught me the ruchniyos in life, in terms of learning, in terms of how to be a better person. I taught her a bit about the gashmiyos. She learnt how to enjoy a fine single-malt scotch, even more than I enjoyed it. And she would come over for shabbos, and after we would sing zemiros, and after she would play with my children, her next wish would be 'so are you going to open up that really expensive bottle so that we can share it together?' And it spread onto wine and everything else.

Israelís loss when she decided to come back to America was our gain, our extended family's gain. Our home became her home, my children became her children. She loved all of her nieces and nephews so much, as my father and others have said. And she is special for all those reasons. But most of all, she is special for one reason. No matter what challenge, no matter what battle she waged from early on, she always maintained herself, she always maintained the strength of her character, her personality. As the family in America sat with her when she got sick, and certainly during the last week, and the last several days when she got very sick, before she lapsed into a coma, even at that point she never lost her bitachon and emunah in Hashem that she was going to win the battle. But ultimately decided that he needed her more in shamayim that we needed her down here. And my only hope is that now that Hashem has won that battle and she is in shamayim, that she will serve as a meilitz yosher to all of us, to Jerry, to my parents, to our families, and to all the other families that became her family for those few short years that she lived on this earth.

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