Heather Rosing (Cohen)
The death occurred in Israel on 27 January of Heather (Hedva) Rosing. Born in Sydney, she had been living there since the early 1960s: first in the greater Tel Aviv area, then for many years in Omer, near Beersheva, where she and her husband Danny were joined, in their retirement years, by Heather’s parents, Jules and Susi Cohen, formerly of Castlecrag and later of Elizabeth Bay.
Visitors to their Castlecrag home were met, apart from the Cohens themselves and their many culturally accomplished friends, by a haunting Yosl Bergner painting of a gaunt, concentration camp drummer-boy and a bust of Beethoven. Together they epitomized the Cohens’ guiding sensibilities: a profoundly Jewish sense of social commitment and an emancipated belief in individual human creativity.
Susi had been born in Essen, Germany, where she had witnessed and endured the rise of Hitler. She arrived in Sydney as a teenager with her parents, Ester and Ephraim Catts, in the late 1930s. She married Jules, and with him was involved in an early venture in what would now be called the organic health-foods industry and in progressive politics. Among Heather’s cousins was Barry Cohen, later a notable federal politician and minister, and his sister Reyna (Caron), an early 1960s popular music celebrity.
Heather became deeply involved, socially and politically, in Betar in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In those pre-1967 years Betar presented a paradox. In a Sydney Jewish community that was not yet inclined to Zionism, and certainly not to the nationalist Zionism of Betar and Herut (now Likud), Betar was perhaps the most dynamic and successful of community youth groups.
Its great appeal was built upon two things. First, it was historically “ahead of the curve”. Its young members might or might not have religious inclinations, like those drawn to Bnei Akiva, and they might or might not consider themselves socially progressive, like the Habonim crowd. But they knew that for them, as children of the war and the immediate post-Sho’ah years including the birth of Israel, Jewishness had fatefully become a modern national political identity —— and that, they intuited, was the script that was now shaping Jewish historical development. The appeal of that orientation to intelligent and well-attuned young Jews was compelling. Many from the Betar of those years were to become leading citizens of Israel and Australia and to make notable contributions to public life.
The second reason for the powerful élan of Betar in those years was more personal: the magnetic appeal of an outstanding resident Israeli shaliach and mentor, Gad Pedhazur, later a distinguished academic researcher in the USA, and of the local leadership headed by Danny Rosing. Born in mandatory Palestine, Danny had been sent to school in Switzerland, and then suddenly to complete his secondary education in Sydney at Sydney Boys High School. From there he went on to become one of the early engineering graduates of the University of New South Wales. Austere, dedicated, at times remote but at others capable of an enveloping warmth and sense of fun, Danny came to personify Sydney Betar in that period.
After her graduation from Sydney University, Heather and Danny were married and left for Israel, via Canada. They lived and worked in Israel as a partnership and team: she teaching English, privately, and he working in Israel’s aircraft, technology and defence industries. In addition to his main work, he was often entrusted with significant “second-level” political and defence missions overseas. Heather was his support in all these endeavours, as well as his senior managing partner in maintaining a vast worldwide network of connections, personal and political. She anchored, tenderly and with discretion and deep human insight, a network of connections across continents, decades, political divisions and contending imaginations.
She nurtured not only this vast cast of often unruly characters but also her own family. She was truly “a mother in Israel”. She is immediately survived by Danny, her brother Peter Keeda of Sydney, by four daughters and one son, and eight grandchildren. She died bravely and calmly, with courage and enormous dignity. In their funeral tribute her children said:
“You modelled tolerance and acceptance. You had this amazing talent for letting people feel seen, heard, and understood.
“Even at the end, your grace and your ability to see others with so much selflessness and kindness was astounding. You were there for each and every one of us and helped us say goodbye.
“Thank you most of all for this last lesson.
“Despite the intolerable pain you were in, throughout this time you were so gracious. You had accepted your imminent death. You were very clear about what you wanted and what you did not want. You were patient and caring with all of us. You said your goodbyes and made sure to ask each of us how we felt about your death. You spoke with humour and wisdom, acceptance and calmness. So Strong! So inspiring!
“Part of this great gift that you gave us is the feeling that in your last moments everything … is … ok… Your state of mind was very peaceful. At the end, you were grateful and happy for the life you had. There was no fear. No regrets. No clinging. You did not need us to escort you, Mummy, you guided us through your last moments.
It is with great sadness and a deep sense of loss that I hear of the passing of Heather Rosing.
Back in 1956, shortly after my first Betar camp at Woronora (December 1955), I received a
phone call from Bob Sitsky inviting me to attend and be part of the newly formed Bnei Etzel
group. The meeting was held at Betar’s new Maon in Point Piper. So there, in a smallish room
filled with ancient armchairs, we had our meeting, led by Danny Rosing. Also attending that
meeting, and coming to Betar for the first time, were three girls, Heather Cohen, Stephanie Singer
and Naomi Kessler. These three were to become the female backbone to the group and ultimately, to Betar.
Without them, Betar Sydney would not have become the success it was, and had the influence on the younger
chanichim that it had.
And now they are all gone, and we are all poorer for it.
Heather’s quiet demeanor belied a steely determination to do what was right (red hair). She was the perfect foil for
Danny and a good and loyal friend. She will be sorely missed.
Her memory will be for a blessing
Sincere condolences, our thoughts are with you.
Heather was a very special person.
Garry & Nina Rudzki
My condolences to you Danny. I am very sad to hear the sad news that you lost Heather.
I send my deepest sympathy to Danny Rosing and family and to Peter & Erica Keedad (Cohen) and family on the sad passing of Heather. She was a delightful warm personality who remains in my memory as my Madricha who was only young herself when she took care of me when I was homesick at my first camp at the age of 8.
Long life to all.
Nonny Gordon (Ochert)
I first met Heather about 60 years ago when Eric brought her home to meet our family, the first girl to achieve that honour. We took to her immediately. We then discovered she was Tony's twin, to the very day. From then on she just seemed to be a special part of our family.
On my infrequent trips to Israel I was able to catch up with Heather and Danny and it was always as if no time had passed since the previous contact, even if many years had flown by. On my last visit, about 18 months ago, she made a superhuman effort to enable me to come over for lunch even though she was extremely unwell at the time, as she had been for some years.
Heather was down to earth yet highly intelligent. She had an easy laugh and a kindness to, and interest in, people that is rarely seen and experienced. She was a good friend whom I shall miss greatly. I am devastated at her passing.
Long life to Danny, Peter and Erica and the whole family.
Condolences to the Betarim in Israel for whom Heather's loss will be especially difficult.
I am absolutely devastated to hear of Heather’s passing.
She was my twin (we shared the same birthday) and Heather, Danny and I were firm friends for over 62 years.
We shared constant contact during this time. Heather was like a sister to me and a source of comfort and inspiration to me when I was going through some tough moments in my life. To me she was family.
Heather would light up a room whenever she walked in. I will miss her.
I want to wish Danny, Peter, Erica and their entire Family my most heartfelt condolences and long life at this most difficult time.
Heather just stood out.
Firstly, she was lighter-haired and lighter-skinned and a little older than most of all the betarim’. She was like the Auntie who cared about everyone and was always available to solve the smallest problem. That was when I was 10.
As I got older, I realized what an intelligent, capable, caring person Danny had been lucky enough to marry.
Those of us that had the chance to spend time with her will never forget her special calm and charm.
Dear Danny and family,
Uri and I were saddened to hear of the loss of your beloved wife Heather and are sending our heartfelt condolences.
Although we did not travel to Israel and visited you often, we always felt as family to you and Heather.
We have so many wonderful memories that we had shared in Canada, at camp in Liberty, New York and in Israel when you made Aliya. We also loved seeing both of you when you visited Toronto.
You and Heather dedicated your lives to the Beitar movement. Beitar would not have been established in Toronto if not for your dedication in its establishment and we would not have had so many life time friends if not for you and Heather.
Heather to us was the most generous, accepting, nurturing and warmest person that we knew. She had been a mother figure to all the Betarim in Toronto. We had all admired her and loved her. She will be greatly missed.
May her memory be blessed forever.
With all our love,
Pnina & Uri Lenga
My first vivid memory of Heather was of a vibrant vivacious red headed beauty full of life, laughter and joie de vivre. This image accompanies me in my mind until this day.
Over the ensuring years Danny and Heather, Rosette and myself created a close relationship full of friendship and respect that only grew stronger as years passed . On the many occasions that our families gathered to celebrate a festival or occasion the sounds of children's laughter rang clearly through the atmosphere.
As the years progressed there were many occasions where our special group of Australians would gather together with a feeling of closeness that was brought about by sharing a love for Israel and our deep understanding of our common experiences.
Rosette Heather and Freda had a extremely close relationship .
Our group is slowly shrinking and made much poorer by this happening.
Every one of us loved Heather to bits and our lives will be much lesser for her loss.
How do I begin.
Words totally fail me!
Both of you have been my closest & dearest friends TG since I was 12 years old!!
Nothing & nobody can explain our loving bond & friendship, nor the 64 years it encompassed!
I don't think we've ever had a cross word between us!
We grew up, Heather & I with you as our mentor.
You gave us our path to tread for all our lives, & TG we've shared much of this time together!
Maybe not much in years-- but in caring, sharing & loving-it's meant everything!
I feel for you Danny & your wonderful family, each of you so different & individual & each of your children real "Menches!"
All gained from your wonderful union!
Thank G-d we shared many joyous family occasions over the passing years & our friendship became ever stronger.
With the passing of Henry, & my moving to Israel- one of my greatest straws of survival, was that we'd see more of each other & enjoy our friendship 'til we were quite ancient!!!
But I'm afraid Ha Shem had other plans, & here we are now.... both bereft of our life's' partners.
But TG we both have our friendship, our wonderful families & our memories!
And of course lots of photos to sustain our failing memories!!!
Heather was the best, the best wife, mother daughter, sister & friend!
She cared, loved & looked after everyone & we all adored her.
Thank G-d we all knew her & gained from being part of her & her love.
May Ha Shem grant you strength at this time & may you take joy in the family that you & Heather created & your many loving & caring friends.
We will all miss her presence for ever, but will treasure what she managed to share with us all..... her love, wisdom, caring, selflessness & joy in all those around her- especially both your ever growing grandchildren!
Danny we will never forget Heather-- but may you take joy & comfort in what you both created.... a wonderful living reminder of both your loving & giving lives!
Danny, I feel for you in your sorrow; & wish I could be there to comfort you.
Sending loving thoughts & hugs.
I was saddened to hear the news of Heather’s passing especially after having watched the video of her interview a couple of days before. Heather was a unique person who was, to my mind, the epitome of the Betarian concept of Hadar. Always dignified, capable, friendly and welcoming. A good person to be near. The world would be a better place if there were more people like she was. It is less better without her.
Danny. My condolences to you and I wish you, not only a long life but healthy one too.
Dear Danny and Family:
Elaine and I express our most profound condolences on Heather's passing.
I have several memories of our only short times together since we lived in different cities in our early lives. And then you both went to Canada and later made Aliyah so our times together were limited by our visits to Israel.
However, one memory that still is the most vivid was the adventure on the troubled motor boat we rented and struggled with on our way to the Towlers Bay camp in 1959. When the motor quit we were headed toward some nasty rocks and a nearby vessel would not help us with a tow. Fortunately, we got running again and we arrived at the camp jetty - Heather keeping her cool throughout the ordeal and not showing the concern we all had.
We will all miss her - she was not only a wonderful wife, mother and grandmother but also an integral part of Betar Australia.
Long life, Danny.
Harry & Elaine Stuart
Sorry to hear about the sad news, please pass on my condolence & sincere wishes to Danny & families. I apologise for the late response, but I only got the news not long ago
Mimi Kluger (Offman)
1941 – 2019
Heather's obituary published by the Australian Jewish News, Sydney edition, on April 19, 2019 - written by Clive Kessler. Click on icon to download the .pdf file.