Ode to Sandy Rose 

By Edith Halpern  

When the phone rang the morning of August 31, 2017, and I heard my good friend Varsha’s voice, even her “Good morning, Edith” did not sound right. Without much of a preface, she told me that our friend, Sandy Rose, had just passed away. I simply could not believe it, I had just seen her the previous week, we’d had a wonderful time, and were planning our next adventure.

Without a doubt Sandy Rose will be missed by all those who knew her for, from my perspective, she had a head, a heart, the ability, the possibility, and the will to make a difference … she also had a great sense of humor.

The concept of Tikun Olam — leaving the world a better place than you found it — is not only a Jewish concept, it’s one adopted by all intelligent, decent human beings. How lucky for our world to have had Sandy and her family among us. She left her prints at Lincoln Center; she created the Reading Room at the New York Public Library. The name Rose is prominent at the New York Botanical Garden, the Museum of Natural History, as well as Manhattanville College.

Her passion was education, the English language and educating teachers to become better teachers. With that in mind she created the nonprofit Reading Reform Foundation. For the past five years, on an yearly basis, I had heard Sandy say, “This is the last year, I just can not do it anymore. It takes over one million dollars out of my own pocket to run it, I just can not do it anymore.” And yet, she continued to do it.

Sandy was framed in courage, the courage to speak her mind. She believed that good ideas are good, but they are even better when implemented. She strongly believed that when one is blessed, one must share their blessings —be they knowledge, talents, or financial resources.

The last time I saw Sandy was at her house, watching the eclipse of the sun with a glass of wine in our hand and a few trays of cheese and crackers at arms’ length. We went down memory lane and were planning a future without tennis, because of her wrist and my shoulder problems.

When I left her house, after a hug, she confessed that the eclipse had been somewhat disappointing and that the best thing had been the time we spent together. I totally agreed. Sandy was full of life, in good spirits, proud to show me her empty shelves (she had just given away her books) and never in a million years did I ever think that this would be the last time I would ever see her.

Rest in peace my dear friend.