Miriam <I>Ramon</I> Friedman

Photo added by SHG

Miriam Ramon Friedman

  • Birth 22 Jul 1922 Budapest, Budapest, Hungary
  • Death 5 Apr 2012 Wilmington, New Hanover County, North Carolina, USA
  • Burial Wilmington, New Hanover County, North Carolina, USA
  • Memorial ID 88478075

Miriam Ramon Friedman passed away peacefully with family by her side in Wilmington, NC on Thursday April 5, 2012. She was laid to rest next to her husband in the B'nai Israel Hebrew Cemetery on Friday, April 6.

By her own account, Miriam's life was both hard and lucky. As it was for many of her contemporaries in the "Greatest Generation," the political and cultural currents of the twentieth century altered her life profoundly and carried her across several continents. She went from Europe to the Middle East and finally to America; from brutality to freedom and finally to the bounty of this land.

Born in Vienna, Miriam grew up amid the turmoil and hardship of Europe after World War I. With the Nazi Anschluss in 1938, life for Jews in Austria became untenable. Miriam was spared the full measure of depravity and violence through Hadassah's Youth Aliyah Rescue Program, making her way to Eretz Yisrael, the land of Israel, in 1939. There she was able to join her brother Shmuel, who had emigrated earlier in the decade. Their father, Leo, had died of natural causes in the 1930's. Their mother, Esther, however was not able to escape and was murdered by the Nazis in 1942. The Youth Aliyah Program saved eleven thousand children in all, including one of Miriam's more famous contemporaries, Hannah Senesh.

After World War II, Miriam lived and worked in England, France, and Israel. Her professional life included a stint as a ground hostess for El Al Airlines based in Paris; it was a job she was uniquely qualified for with her working knowledge of English, Hebrew, French, and German. In 1952, she met and married Rabbi Harold Friedman while he was on sabbatical in Israel from his congregation in Fairmont, WV. They returned to the States and Miriam became the newly-minted Rebetzin – Rabbi's wife– in the parlance of that time.

In 1954, they were selected to serve the Circuit Riding Rabbi Program in North Carolina. For two years they crisscrossed the state, bringing Jewish teaching and celebration to some forty communities not large enough to support a full-time Rabbi. They traveled in a motor coach which had been remodeled as a chapel and classroom for worship and education. This pioneering work was featured in Life Magazine in September 1955 and is often cited in books on Southern Jewish history. Harold and Miriam easily renewed some of these early relationships when they retired to Wilmington decades later, a testament to the lasting positive influence of their service through this program.

With the birth of their son in 1955, it became difficult to sustain a life on the road. Beginning in 1956, they moved on to serve established congregations in Sarasota, Florida; Mobile Alabama; Waco and Galveston Texas; and finally, Martinsville, VA. The years 1958 to 1971 in Mobile figured most prominently. There they raised their son from early childhood through high school and served a Congregation which grew quickly, particularly in its educational needs, during the baby boom years. Miriam taught in the full-time synagogue kindergarten, taught part-time in the religious school, and was an active member of several service organizations.

In 1989, Miriam and Harold retired to Wilmington, NC. Until Harold's passing in 1997, they enjoyed together the birth and growth of their eyniklach (grandchildren), the beach, travel within the States and to Europe and Israel, renewed friendships from their days on the Rabbinical Circuit, and established new relationships within the local community. After his passing, Miriam continued to travel – on her own or with family and friends – including a journey to Vienna with her son in 2000. She was also blessed to see her grandchildren grow out of childhood, become B'nai Mitzvah, and stand on the threshold of adulthood.

Miriam lived in this country for sixty years and forever loved America for the new beginning it gave her. Yet she retained a cosmopolitan outlook and European tastes in matters of culture, style, and cuisine. She attended the Wilmington French Club, relished trips to the bakery to procure Napoleon pastries, and enjoyed listening to Viennese waltzes. Even in her final weeks of life, she would inquire about the political situation vis-à-vis Iran.

Miriam is survived by her son Daniel, daughter-in-law Janet, and two grandchildren, Benjamin and Hannah Friedman of Concord, Massachusetts. She is also survived by sister-in-law Esther Ramon, and niece and nephews Tami, Amnon, and Uri and their families in Israel; nephews Chaim and Yitzhak Woldenberg and their families in Israel; and Cousin Arye Ephrath and his family of Fairfax, Virginia. Besides her husband Harold, she was preceded in death by her brother Shmuel Ramon, of Jerusalem, Israel, in 1999.

May her memory be both blessed and a blessing for others — Y'hi z'chara baruch, v'y'hi zichronah l'vrachah. The family suggests Hadassah, the Lower Cape Fear Hospice, or Congregation B'nai Israel of Wilmington, NC for any contributions in her memory.

Family Members






  • Created by: John Evans
  • Added: 13 Apr 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 88478075
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Miriam Ramon Friedman (22 Jul 1922–5 Apr 2012), Find A Grave Memorial no. 88478075, citing B’nai Israel Hebrew Cemetery, Wilmington, New Hanover County, North Carolina, USA ; Maintained by John Evans (contributor 47071981) .