Rabbi Erwin Zimet z'l and Lilli Zimet

We wanted to remember and honor Rabbi Erwin Zimet z'l and Lilli Zimet, two people who had a profound influence on our lives. When we concluded the videotaping of our oral histories for the Bay Area Holocaust Oral History Project (BAHOHP), we remembered Rabbi and Lilly with the words that follow:

We met Rabbi and Mrs. Zimet shortly after we arrived in Poughkeepsie New York in 1964. We joined Temple Beth El, and as we sat at their feet and began to absorb their wonderful teachings, our world began to change, our outlook on life was transformed, our perception of what it means to be a Jew took on a totally new meaning.

Both of us, like they, were survivors of the Holocaust. There was no question about our Jewish Identity. But it was Rabbi Zimet whose kindness, caring and understanding began to change our lives. Eventually Iby became the president of this large Conservative Congregation. George served on the Temple and Hebrew School boards, and at one time was vice president of the local Federation.

We learned the true meaning of Tikkun Olam, and the courage to be proud, active and committed Jews. Our lives have changed. Our outlook has changed. And that wonderful influence still continues today.

Our belowed Rabbi’s memory is still with us daily, his memory continues to be a constant blessing.

Lilli was the Principal of our Temple’s Sunday School as our children were growing up under her judicious tutelage. She taught our children the love of our traditions and the meaning and value of Jewish living that they now teach to their own children.

How wonderful, that Lilli is still with us, we still have the benefit of her advice and guidance and feel her love, her dedication and her immense devotion to “her children” and to our magnificent tradition.

We were and are still truly blessed.

Baruch Hashem

Iby and George Heller
Menlo Park, CA
December 2006

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