Batya Uziel dies at 84

Her cousin shares personal thoughts about the ‘ageless’ craftswoman

January 7, 2018 22:42
1 minute read.
Batya Uziel dies at 84

BATYA UZIEL: ‘Her home looked like the juxtaposition of a museum and an active artist’s workshop.’ (Asaf Kliger/Maariv). (photo credit: ASAF KLIGER)

Batya Uziel was a cousin of mine, whom I loved dearly. While to many Batya was familiar from TV (Handcrafted with Batya Uziel reached children across the country from 1974-1982), to me she was simply family.

Although Uziel is a common Jewish name that’s been around since ancient times, our family is actually quite small and has lived in Jerusalem for many generations. My grandfather, former chief rabbi of Israel Ben-Zion Meir Hai Uziel, was the brother of Batya’s husband’s grandfather Nissim.

Batya was always cheerful and full of interesting ideas. She was ageless. Although there were times when she seemed burnt-out, we always had a connection due to our interest in plastic arts and as a result there were always plenty of artistic themes for us to chat about together.

We were constantly meeting up at family celebrations.

Batya had a wonderful tradition in which she would take a bat/bar mitzva or wedding invitation and then morph it into an artistic creation as a gift for her loved ones. I can’t imagine what she would have done if she had lived during a time when paper invitations were no longer common.

Batya experienced a number of tragedies in her life. Her loving husband passed away, and she also suffered the heartbreaking death of her vivacious daughter, who, an artist just like her mother, succumbed to a serious illness at the tender age of 24.

Batya remained alone with her son.

Batya’s home looked like the juxtaposition of a museum and an active artist’s workshop. Every time I was there it was full of laughter and cheerful conversation, but of course, I didn’t visit enough.

And I wanted to go see Batya when I heard her condition was serious, but I did not make it in time. Like many others who were lucky enough to have known her, I will now have to live with this feeling of great loss.

Translated by Hannah Hochner/Maariv

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