My Mom's Legacy: Guest Post by Mert Friedman

Mert’s mother, Babette Weinberg, passed away on September 4, 2015. Earlier this year, Mert coordinated with the Create Your Jewish Legacy program to honor her in the Legacy Flame exhibit at the JCC. Feeling that her mom’s estate planning made it easier for her, Mert was inspired to make her own gift commitment. She tells her story below.—Jim


When my mother told me years ago that she was leaving money in her will for the Jewish community, I was glad she made her intentions known.

When she passed away a couple months ago, the significance of what she had done hit me.

Memories came flooding back of our family’s involvement in the community—Wednesdays with my dad at the JCC, my mom’s famous Penny Campaign asking community women to give a penny a day to benefit the Federation, sitting in my grandmother’s pew at Plum Street Temple—and I realized what this gift meant to her. She loved this community.

Her planning also made things easier for me and my family these last few weeks. Anybody who has dealt with the loss of a loved one knows that dealing with the arrangements and disposition of assets, on top of the pain of the loss, can be emotionally wrenching.

My mother was the type of person who always made her wishes known. In this case, I felt relieved and grateful that she had made it clear what she wanted to leave for the organizations she cared about all her life.

I was also comforted to recall that we’d made her legacy giving special while she was alive. She and my dad are in the Legacy Flame exhibit at the JCC. Their photo appears next to her legacy statement, which tells the story of her involvement and why she made this gift. It made her happy to know this.

As I am going through this process, I realize that making a legacy plan is something we all should do, not just for the community, but to simplify things for our children, and to make clear to them, ourselves, and the community what we want our legacy to be.

I’m at the JCC most days. It’s my past employer, my gym, my local cafe, my home away from home. My husband and I are making legacy arrangements for the JCC and Wise Temple because they are an essential part of me, us, our family, roots, memories, and habits. This is how we want to be remembered.

We signed our letter of intent for Create Your Jewish Legacy this month. My mom made it easier for me; now we’ve done the same for our son, Benny. It’s both our inheritance, and our legacy.

Since September 2014, community members have made 345 legacy commitments to the Cincinnati Jewish community as part of the Create Your Jewish Legacy (CYJL) program. If you would like to discuss how to set up your legacy gift or be included in the Legacy Flame exhibit, please contact David Harris via email or 513-985-1509.


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