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Bernice (Golden) KAHAN

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KAHAN, Bernice (nee Golden) Born on April 25th, 1928, in Los Angeles, CA to Jack and Bea Golden. When she was three years old, her father died and her mother gave her to her sister, Bernice's aunt, to be raised in their home in Stockton, California. The highlight of her childhood was spending summers in San Jose with her beloved, Yiddish-speaking grandmother, Jenny. She played piano exquisitely, rode horses, and played a mean game of table tennis. She attended University (then College) of the Pacific for two years, studying journalism. An inspiring moment was the solo interview she was granted as a student with Eleanor Roosevelt. She moved to Los Angeles to finish her B.A. in English at U.C.L.A. While saying Kaddish at synagogue for her late grandmother, she met Osher Kahan, recently arrived in Los Angeles from England, via New York. There were married six weeks later, and remained married until his passing in 2000, almost 47 years later. In response to the economic difficulties of their early years, Bernice launched the O.K. Typing Service, expanding from a one-person service to a flourishing business. Later she taught in the WIN program of the 1960s, which inspired her to pursue a career as an educator. Despite the challenges of raising her three children while pursuing an advanced degree, she received her M.A. in Urban Education from Mt. St. Mary's. She also actively encouraged her husband, Osher, to return to school, making possible for his transformation from printer's assistant to research physicist holding multiple patents.
In addition to loving her family, Bernice loved teaching. She taught English, History, Health, and typing for decades at Sojourner Truth Continuation School and Bret Harte Preparatory School in South Central Los Angeles, LeConte Middle School in Hollywood, as well as adult learners in Southgate and Culver City. She taught because she loved to share her experience and knowledge of the world. She often told stories about her students' lives and she rejoiced in their successes. For years, Bernice received cards from her students, letting her know how they were doing and letting her know how she had helped them. Bernice also loved Israel, which was evident in her 27 trips to Israel, her efforts to raise money for Hadassah Hospital, and the numerous trees she had planted for every special occasion. Bernice liked to joke that she was "a fish," referring to her love of the water. She enjoyed swimming and she used her daily swims as a way to communicate spiritually. When asked what she had done that day, she'd often say that she had "talked to God while swimming." Her pool time was also an opportunity to talk with other regulars - to check in and see how life was going. When she later moved to Seacrest Village, an assisted living community, she notably missed her swims for both the social and physical pleasures they provided. Bernice also loved a good party. She enjoyed socializing and she often entertained, for years hosting, among other celebrations, a New Year's Eve Party with her husband, Osher. And Bernice and her husband loved to travel. They visited Hawaii, Mexico, England, Ireland, Wales, Russia, Italy, France, Australia and Israel...and perhaps a few other places that we've forgotten. They held koalas in Australia and swam with the dolphins in Hawaii. Many times Bernice would swim and Osher would hike, but when there was snorkeling to be done, they'd go together, often holding hands while exploring the underwater world. She'd bring back mementos from her travels, happy to have something reminiscent of her journey. Any mention of our mom would not be complete without saying that she loved color. She enjoyed dressing in brightly colored outfits with matching clothing, earrings and shoes. Purple was her favorite color, but all color brought out her liveliness. In 2011, Bernice moved into the independent living wing of Seacrest Village in Encinitas, CA. After less than a month, she was moved to the skilled nursing unit within the community after end stage renal disease was diagnosed. Initially near death, she made a miraculous reb91010
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Sept. 8, 2013
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