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Memorial service for Harriet Kupferberg – QNS.com

Memorial service for Harriet Kupferberg

Relatives remembered philanthropist Harriet Kupferberg as an inspiring woman during a memorial service recently.
“I admired her ability to have a vision and turn it into reality,” Kupferberg’s daughter Anne told several hundred mourners gathered at the Temple Beth Sholom of Flushing on Thursday, January 24. Kupferberg, 83, and her late husband Kenneth, a nuclear physicist who passed away in 1993, were founding members of the Temple, located at 172nd Street and Northern Boulevard.
During the service, son Mark Kupferberg spoke of his mother’s charity work with Queensborough Community College, Queens College, New York University (NYU), the Flushing Council Women’s Association, the Flushing Hospital, the John Bowne House Historical Society, and the American Red Cross. He also noted her private acts of generosity - paying for the surgery of an uninsured friend, underwriting the rehabilitation therapy of a friend who was in a horrific motorcycle accident and sponsoring the medical studies of an NYU student.
In 1999, Kupferberg had to undergo a heart valve replacement, and after the successful surgery, she had a new lease on life, her son said.
“She went on to eight more years during which she accomplished so much,” Mark Kupferberg said of his mother’s work in endowing the Harriet and Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and Archives on the Queensborough Community College campus.
In 2006, Kupferberg donated $1 million to programming at the Holocaust Center, which is scheduled to reopen in its new location on the Bayside campus during the spring of 2008.
During the Holocaust, a then-teenage Kupferberg petitioned her own parents to aid with rescue efforts of Jewish refugees from Europe - at a time when some Americans were fearful to act, her children said.
For her actions, Kupferberg received a thank-you letter from renowned scientist Albert Einstein, which she proudly showed to her eight grandchildren.
Kupferberg once told her granddaughter, “As happy as I make others when I can for them, I am happier because I have the chance to help them.”
A former teacher, the Flushing native and most-recently Whitestone resident earned her bachelor’s from NYU and her master’s in education from Queens College.
“She lived a life of service, and I am very proud of her,” Kupferberg’s daughter Sarah wrote in a tribute read aloud by Rabbi Bruce Goldwasser.
However, her family spoke of a little-seen, adventurous side of Kupferberg - white-water rafting on the Jordan River, swimming in the Dead Sea, going to the bait store by the family’s home in Auburn, N.Y., and traveling to Jerusalem in 2006 for her granddaughter’s bat mitzvah at the West Wall.
“As much as my mom did for the community, her greatest impact was on her family,” Mark Kupferberg said.
Ten-year-old grandson Kenny remembered that Kupferberg had attended his violin recital recently.
“May God protect my grandma in heaven,” the boy told mourners.
An interment for Kupferberg followed the Flushing service, and several Minyans were held through Tuesday, January 29.
“Truly the best way to honor her is with your actions,” Mark Kupferberg said. “Seize the day.”

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