Updated: Apr 27
On chaf daled Tamuz, after a year and a half of bravely facing illness, Helen Flatauer – sadly left this world.
Born and raised in Queens, New York, her family made Aliya in the 60’s, but returned to live in the United States. But for Helen Eris, a passion for Israel had been ignited. Her last year in high school was spent here, and in 1977 she fulfilled her dream to live in the Holy Land.
Arriving with a Masters in Social Work, her first job was with Aliyat HaNoar in Jerusalem. There she met and married Daniel, and they moved to Tzfat and began her life long work with Tzfat’s Mental Health Clinic. She was passionate about her work and focused her efforts into making sure her patients received the best possible care and attention.
Helen often reflected that one of the more fulfilling aspects of her work was how different types of people, from the varying communities in Tzfat, collaborated as staff and were treated together as patients at the clinic. The focus on achdut was a guiding principle.
Her profession often mixed in with her personal life. She was passionate about helping people and made herself available at home for people who sought her guidance. Friends and community members regarded her as one who could give wise counsel on a variety of life matters, and her experience enabled her to help people in concr ete ways.
During the last 11 years of her stellar career, she served as the Director of Mental Health Services for Ziv Hospital. She focused much of her efforts on bringing in the most competent and skilled therapists and staff, and providing training and professional consultation.
The last concert she saw was the Rolling Stones- her favorite band. She always dressed up on Purim. A great cook, she regularly produced a wide variety of tasty food, and cakes were her specialty. She had a knack for timing and knew precisely when to take a cake out of the oven so it was perfectly moist. Culinary creativity meant discovering unique ingredients and turning them into great gastronomic successes . An invitation to her elegant Shabbat table, would include Livnot participants, out-of-towners and neighbors. Her relationships with her sons’ wives was like a mother with daughters.
Six years ago our son fell playing cops and robbers at school and broke a tooth. Purim was a few weeks later and Helen brought him fake crooked teeth from the toy store, and gave a good laugh to the entire family. One friend recounted a time when one of her daughters was getting rid of clothes and gave them to Helen. Helen then called up different friends who she thought of for each article of clothing, to make sure each woman received what was fitting for them. She also enjoyed and taking carofe her two pets, her cat Shimpo and her tortoise Katyush.
Helen leaves behind her beloved family, her husband, Daniel, her three sons, Benyamin, Gilad and Eliav, her three daughters-in-law, Giselle, Yifat and Yael, and her 3 grandchildren Ari, Ayala and Nitai. Helen is buried in the Tzfat cemetery next to her parents, Avraham and Miryam Eris.
Caring and thoughtful. Kind and giving. Creative and tenacious. That’s how her family and many friends will remember her.
Let us all hold a radiant Helen in our minds and pray for the elevation of her soul. May all of her positive character attributes live on through her family friends and an entire community.
May her name be remembered with a blessing.