Tova Yurman (nee Meiselman) passed away at Simkin Centre on September 24, 2019, after suffering from dementia for many years. Her husband, Sam (Shlomo) Yurman visited her daily until his death and her son, Ron was by her side day after day. She is survived by her son, Ron Yurman (Anita Wortzman), granddaughters, Lexie and Haley Yurman, sister-in-law, Hedva Yurman and her many nieces, nephews, grand nieces and grand nephews in Canada and Israel.
Tova was born in 1928 in Chernovitz, Romania. Her first thirteen years she lived with her parents Chana and Aryeh Meiselman and older siblings Favel and Heny. In 1941 the Jews in her town were taken from their homes and forced into a German work camp. Her brother fled to Russia. Chana and Aryeh did not survive the march. Tova and Heny ended up in a camp in the Transnistria area. They survived their 3-year internment by knitting for the Germany army, providing them with scraps of food. In 1945, Tova and Heny were liberated. Tova had loss of vision in one eye, among other ailments. They journeyed to Chernovitz and discovered their home had been overtaken by the communist regime and Favel was not to be found. Tova traveled to Holland, as part of a group of 500 Jewish children recovering from wartime atrocities. She was a leader for the group, caring for the younger children. Tova and Heny then chose to immigrate to Israel to start a new life.
Tova learned Hebrew and served in the Israeli Air force. After the 1948 War of Independence, Tova got a job as an IBM keypunch operator for El Al airlines. In January, 1955 Sam and Tova were married and settled in Winnipeg. Tova took English lessons and worked at Great West Life. She became an integral part of the Yurman family and was described by her nieces and nephew as the “…hip, cool, fun aunt”.
Tova gave birth to Chana, named after her mother. Chana was diagnosed with Tay-Sachs disease and passed away at 18 months. Sam and Tova were blessed with a second child – Ron. Despite all of the past tragedies in Tova’s life, she lived to enjoy life. She was an artist who expressed herself through oil painting, pillow lace, knitting, baking and sculpting. In the late 1960’s, to Tova’s joy her brother Favel was located in Russia and emigrated to Israel with his family.
Sam, Tova and Ron moved to Israel in 1972. Many relatives and friends from Winnipeg would visit and stay at the house in Israel and experience Tova’s food, her garden and art.
By 1995, Tova had two granddaughters in Winnipeg. She and Sam flew to Winnipeg regularly to visit them. In 2005, they moved to Winnipeg full time. Tova connected with her grandchildren through art. She expressed her love through pillow lace creating designs, including an Israeli piece that she bestowed on the President of Israel, Ezer Weizman. Tova was resilient and had an unparalleled zest for life. Notwithstanding the loss of her parents, her home, and her daughter, she had a drive for life that defies explanation. She learned new languages, created art and made new friendships. There was nothing she would not do for friends and family and she was a lot of fun. This is the way we will remember her.
The family thanks the Simkin Centre (2nd floor) staff for the compassionate care provided to Tova and to Nila who was by Tova’s side caring for her daily. A graveside service was held at Shaarey Zedek cemetery on September 26, 2019. Pallbearers were Lexie Yurman, Haley Yurman, Isaac Thau, Reuben Potash, Michael Eleff and Jason Wortzman. The family also thanks Rabbi Mass for his kind words. Donations in Tova’s memory may be made to the Lexie and Haley Yurman Fund at the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba.