Hesped by Zara Brooks

This is the text of the eulogy given by Zara Brooks, Sam Marks’s granddaughter, at the cemetery.


How does one start to begin to describe the feelings and emotions that we all have about you and for you –

I have so many wonderful memories of proudly walking into Bournemouth Shul knowing that you would be the one marching around and making sure everything went to plan – you never sat still for one minute and would be pacing the carpet of Wootten Gardens Shul for the whole morning. It is hard to describe the feelings that I have of getting dressed On Yom Tov mornings because grandpa would be cross if we were too late and going into what I considered to be your  Shul where you truly were the energy and soul of the Shul. Even as you got older and well into your eighties you were given the honour of opening the aron hakodesh for neilah where you stood for over an hour when not a drop had passed your lips. I remember always wanting to sit on your lap for benching and to sit next to you at Seder night – a true honour which I realised at a very young age. I remember so clearly how you spoke about Hashem – you would tell us all – “people say they walk with G-d what I say is that HE walks with me and guides me and tells me what to do “- you always said when the good L-rd calls me I’m ready – and you always added that HE didn’t want you up there because you would cause too much havoc!  Tsedaka was your way of life and you have imbued that to all your family. The certificates that surround this home are really just a Small testimony to the huge financial and philanthropic deeds that you have done. I remember years ago you talking about the Alyn hospital in Jerusalem and telling me not to Go there as it was really a traumatic place for a young person to see – .but I know that you would go and sit on the floor and play with the children as you did in numerous Emunah children’s homes. I was witness to many an occasion where you had been invited to open a Room, a hall, a medical centre , an ambulance , a dedication of life saving equipment where you had no airs and graces and where others might have felt intimidated by our surroundings by the illness or the children that were suffering you didn’t. I remember very clearly you telling me that your money was not yours – that it did not belong to you but rather was given to you by G-d to distribute to those who need it. How difficult it is for most of us to part with our hard earned money but your perspective – that it is not yours to keep is so unique – I wonder whether one has to go through a trauma like you did in the during be Second World War that allowed you to have such a unique and selfless perspective? You felt G-d had given you a purpose – you felt that he had personally plucked you from the depths of human horror. You are a fighter, a survivor – the last few years have shown us that but although the details of your time during captivity are somewhat sketchy as you buried that deep inside it manifested itself in other ways – a drive to succeed, a drive to give to others and an absolute unshakeable faith in the Almighty as you called Him. That Emunah that you have is so deep it penetrates through the hearts, minds and souls of your family. We are who we are – a Torah committed and tsedaka giving family because you were who you were and you taught us how to live a life on a correct and true path.

They say that during the week of shiva that soul hovers between shamayim and arêtz and for this reason we should always be careful with our words – I believe that part of your soul rests deep within every member of your family, every friend and stranger you knowingly and unknowingly helped – every child whose life you improved with day care centres, nurseries, children’s homes after school programmes and equipment – every person who recieved better medical care because of your equipment , every soldier who was better protected with new equipment, every patient who was treated in your ambulance through Magen David Adom and any patient who received quicker and more efficient care because of the medically equipped motorbike you donated, helping to build the Bournemouth mikva the cornerstone of Jewish continuity or sourcing and securing for the Jewish  community the Bournemouth cemetery to complete the cycle of Jewish life.  Within all of this the light continues to shine and the neshama continues to reap rewards here on earth. And yet within all this – you knew how to laugh and were often outrageously inappropriate  – you had been heard to tell people who came to ask of you for money for their ten children –  you would tell them that you would prefer to buy them a television which would perhaps stop them having any more they couldn’t afford – you would happily say that from the word ‘woman’ w stood for wicked o for obstinate m for manipulative – I’m still trying to remember what the a and the n stood for but it was definitely not complimentary! And yet we all knew that you were joking – with grandma at your side your relationship was complete. You were the regesh –  the emotion to her as the seichal – the common sense – and you need both  the regesh and the seichal in a complimentary form to provide a  unique working and accomplished relationship. It is the small things that i would like to remember most – the whistling noise you made with hour tongue  as you reloaded the dishwasher after it had already been stacked but not to your liking and the way i would watch you shave in the morning Humming to yourself. At one of your many many parties and it is important to mention that you celebrated every single milestone, every birthday and anniversary seemed to hold such significance that you spoke about how grandma ‘put you back together’ after the war – it is only now in recent months that i have started to read books about the Japanese prisioners of war that i can start to appreciate the true horrors that you survived. You believed that  like Avraham avinu it was all a test from G-d and this strength of character and utter belief in Hashem enabled you to rebuild your life, continue and create a successful property business founded on principles of good faith and a good name – a Shem Tov and most importantly continue the Jewish people – you have six grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren and there will PG be more. You held the respect of your family and those around you and when we were still keeping 2nd seder night in Israel just for you – we all did it happily as we knew it made you happy. It is hard to describe the complete influence that people have on our lives  and for each of your family members it is different and personal but from me and for my family you have been an overwhelming influence in my yahadut, my faith, my Aliya and my charity choices. In the last five years you lost the power of speech for the most part but what you never lost was your ability to daven. I was here in Bournemouth around 6 weeks ago and you were already quite frail and would only say ‘go away’ but after we had eaten Shabbat lunch we began to bench and for the entire duration you joined in not faltering on a single word. They say that music  is in a different part of the brain and I’m sure that’s true and is the more rational explanation but I believe that really you had just decided to communicate only with Hashem and to save your words for words of prayer.  רדף צדקה וחסד ימצא חיים צדקה וכבוד – a person who runs to do just, good, and kind deeds attains life, success and honour. To grandma, mum and uncle David המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך שער אבלי ציון ביורושלים –  I wish you all a long life a Chaim Arucim. But mostly my hope and my belief is that you grandpa will go על כנפי נשרים on the wings of eagles speedily to your Maker who I know with a full heart is waiting with open arms and baited breath to welcome you to His Kingdom.