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Holocaust Memorial Education Center

Shimon and Sara Birnbaum Jewish Community Center

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Descendant Profile








    Alan Salz, MD has been an Ophthalmology Specialist in Bridgewater, New Jersey for the last 30 years. He established the Eye Specialists, PA after completing his training at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia.  His practice is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset . He is married to Linda, also a physician and has three children, David, Lauren and Alex. 


    For Descendant Submission, refer to "Remembrance"  by Alan Salz

     EULOGY BY ALAN SALZ  (APRIL 13, 2018)

    Alice Salz was a remarkable woman who lead a remarkable life. Her life ‘s journey began in Europe where she was born in Mannheim Germany in 1924.  She was the only child of Berthe and Alphonse Levy. Alphonse had a successful business owning over 20 small grocery stores.  Clearly her father, who was originally from Alsace-Lorraine, was a wise man. He had been born in Alsace-Lorraine, an area between France and Germany and held citizenship in France as well as in Germany. In 1934, shortly after the anti-Semitic Nazis took power, he implored his reluctant German wife Berthe to abandon her homeland and move to Paris.  He was able to sell his business but at a value far less than it should had been worth. Young Alice was forced to learn a new language and resume life in Paris. My grandmother grew to like life in  Paris but her wise husband foresaw Hitler’s invasion of France and  in the late 1930’s hired an English speaking tutor for his family and went about securing emigration to the United States.  As French citizens (not Germans) it was far easier procuring the papers to legally come to America. Sadly, Alphonse died of a heart attack just a few years after arriving here.

    The Levy family had settled in Newark New Jersey.  My mother was 16 years old and finished her last two years of high school attending Weequahic High School, which at that time was the top public high school in Newark mainly filled with young Jews from the local neighborhood. Despite English being her now third language, she distinguished herself academically and graduated as her class salutatorian. I am so happy that one of her best friends from high school, Bernice Weill, could join us today. Although Alice qualified to attend far more prestigious colleges, her parents could not bear to let young Alice leave their nest and for college she attended Upsala College in East Orange where she commuted to by bus. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree with a major in Economics and a minor in Spanish (now her fourth language).  Again, she was her class salutatorian.

    She was employed by Conmar Zippers as an executive secretary and lived at home with her mother. As the years past, her mother became increasingly concerned about Alice’s single status. On some weekends in the winter she went to ski resorts mainly in search of a future husband. In the summer of 1950, she spent a long weekend at Green Mansions, an Adirondack mountain camp-like resort for Jewish singles.  This, of course, was long before the days of J-date.  That is where she met her eventual husband, Leon, a young man from Brooklyn. Although not completely enamored by Leon who she thought might just be “an operator”, she shared her phone number with him.  Six months later Leon finally called her to ask her out on a date.  He had moved to New Jersey for a job and had remembered Alice from the previous summer.  She turned him down telling him that she was “busy” which she actually was not.  When Berthe heard about this potential suitor, she persuaded her reluctant daughter Alice to agree to meet with Leon if he called again which fortunately he did and that was the start of their relationship. Despite a series of dates over the next few months, Leon had not yet proposed so in the summer of 1951, Alice returned to Green Mansions, the singles resort, and coyly sent Leon a postcard.  Perhaps that nudge helped and shortly thereafter, Leon proposed and Alice accepted and they were married in the fall of 1951.

    After three years of marriage, Alice became pregnant with Carol, and she took on the traditional role of mother and home maker. The month I was born in 1957,  Alice and Leon moved to Mountainside  and settled into the ranch house they would share together for over 50 years.

    Alice was a good mother, providing a nurturing environment while encouraging Carol and I to do well academically.  She attended to all of our needs.   Amongst the many things she would do for our enjoyment, she would drive us for day trips in the wintertime to local ski areas (she never really learned to ski herself) and watch from the windows of the base lodge hoping to catch a glimpse of us heading down the hill.

    As Carol and I grew older, Alice engaged herself as a substitute teacher in the local high school system specializing in foreign languages.  Her main agenda though was to keep an eye on her children albeit from a comfortable not overbearing distance.  She was an avid bridge player, active member of Temple Emanuel and had an extensive social network. I am so happy that her long time bridge partner and buddy, Betty Lou Miller, is here today.

    Alice and Leon travelled extensively including adventurous locales such as Machu Picchu in the early 1960’s and China in the mid 1970’s shortly after it had opened to Westerners. The pace of their travels increased after Carol and I left home and after my father’s eventual retirement.  They were a good team, my father the organizer and my mother the faithful companion and translator. She was also a good daughter caringly looking after her ailing mother in the latter stages of Bethe’s life. She was a good mother-in-law too and made it a point to develop a loving relationship with Linda and Carol’s husband Larry as well.

     When Linda and I were looking for a place to settle down nearing the completion of our residencies, my parents let us know that we could go wherever we wanted but if we came back to this area they would help us out in any way we needed. Fortunately, we took them up on their offer and we never regretted it. For a young working couple, Alice was our backstop. Whatever the request for help, Alice would without hesitation say “yes.” One day I remember in particular in May 1986, I was just starting my practice and on short notice had to discharge my only employee.  My plan was to have my mother fill in as my receptionist for the day in which I had the most patients I was scheduled to see in a day in private practice to date. Of course, Alice accepted the challenge. What was not foreseen was that our live-out nanny did not show up for work that day and Alice was charged with taking care of David as well.  Just imagine what that must have been like for her (answering the phone, checking patients in and out and changing diapers and feeding a baby) but never a complaint.  Alice was a wonderful grandmother, and clearly the relationships she had with David, Lauren and Alex were the highlights of her last 30 years. She made it to her goal of attending David and Sarah’s wedding and she was content in the knowledge that both Lauren and Alex are succeeding in life as well.

    She encouraged her friends to see me as their ophthalmologist. And without breaking any HIPPA rules, I can share with you one constant comment from all of them was how nice she was as a person.  She was easy to talk with, even tempered, had a nice sense of humor and was unfailingly pleasant.

    Her fortitude was clearly demonstrated in towards the end of her life. She persevered numerous medical problems with minimal complaint.  The biggest was her need to have a feeding tube the last 3 years.  What a management nuisance and uncomfortable! Nonetheless, Alice strived to remain independent and for a long time continued managing her own feedings while playing bridge and spending time with friends and family. Even when she moved to Arbor Glen 2 years ago, she wanted to keep driving so as not to be a burden.

    Whereas there is so much else I would like to share, I would be remiss about not mentioning her other hobby…reading the New York Times. She was all of our personal newspaper clipping services especially on matters of health.  My father would sometimes joke that she had an honorary doctorate from the NY Times. These past months, as she became increasingly tired, I would wonder how much she was actually absorbing from the paper.  Meanwhile, Linda and I were planning on a trip to Madagascar, one of the few places Leon and Alice had not visited. Linda had found out from a Google alert that there was an outbreak of plague in Madagascar shortly before our departure.  We decided we would go anyway but I did not want Mom to be worried about our health so I did not bring up the subject.  Well, when I next visited Mom, she brought out a small clipping from a NY Times article about the outbreak and I was forced to explain our strategy for not getting infected. There was no fooling Mom.

    Once I was an adult, I realized how lucky I had been to be Alice’s child.  As we are so sad to say good-bye, we can be comforted in knowing that Alice lived a full life highlighted by love, intelligence, devotion and happiness.

  • Sources and Credits:


    Eulogy and digital family photographs donated by Alan Salz