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Sylvia Zieff

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Sylvia (Rubinoff) Zieff, Age 88, of Chestnut Hill, formerly of Brookline passed away peacefully on Tuesday, August 26, 2014. Revered mother, beloved grandmother, cherished sister, Sylvia was loved and respected as the matriarch of her family, and will always be a source of inspiration to the family and community which gave her life such special meaning. Sylvia was married to the late Arnold Zieff for 56 years. She is survived by her children, Steven Zieff and his wife, Elaine Leitner; Paul Zieff and his wife, Chandra; Shelley Zieff Adams; and David Zieff; as well as by her nine loving grandchildren, Josh & Geordy Adams, Ariel & Jake Leitner-Zieff, Gabe & Drew Zieff, Katelyn, Jojo & Ben Zieff; and by her sisters, Judy Corlin & her husband Lenid, and Dorothy Tye. Sylvia was pre-deceased by her brother, Maurice "Maish" Rubinoff, her daughter-in-law, Alison Sweet-Zieff, and her brother-in-law Maury Tye. Sylvia Rubinoff Zieff grew up in Portland, Maine, raised by her mother, Rose, who was widowed when Sylvia was just five years old. After the death of her husband, Selmour, Rose continued to run the first IGA store in Portland, Maine that he had established while raising Sylvia and her three siblings, Judy, Dot and Maish. Sylvia then moved to Brookline for her senior year, and graduated from Brookline High School in 1943. She then attended Fisher Junior College and graduated with an Associate Degree as a Medical Administrative Assistant in 1945. Following graduation, Sylvia worked as a medical secretary and, later, as a legal secretary for a law firm representing union clients. After Sylvia married Arnie in 1951, she like her beloved mother, Rose, put tremendous energy and love into her family to give their children opportunities to flourish. Along with raising four children and working at Bloomingdales as a customer service representative and trainer, Sylvia gave generously of her time and energy to a variety of community, temple and progressive activities. For many years, she was involved as an active member and officer of ORT (Organization for Rehabilitation Through Training), and always enjoyed active participation with PTA, Temple Emeth, and various Jewish organizations. Although family was always at the center of her life, throughout her retirement she and Arnie continued to pursue their shared love of learning at the Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement, where she reveled in both the intellectual stimulation and sense of community they found there. Sylvias family and friends, and indeed, most anyone who crossed the threshold of her home, were grateful beneficiaries of her commitment to the Jewish ethos, Food is Love. Few things made her happier than large family celebrations in the warm and welcoming home that she and Arnie made for their family. Services at Temple Emeth, 194 Grove Street, Chestnut Hill were held on Friday, August 29 at 11:00 a.m. followed by burial at Lindwood Memorial Park, Randolph. Memorial observance followed burial until sundown at the Function Room, Imperial Towers, 280 Boylston Street, Chestnut Hill. There was a memorial gathering at the home of Shelley Zieff Adams on Saturday evening, August 30, 2014 from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to Combined Jewish Philanthropies, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, or the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Levine Chapels, Brookline 617-277-8300 www.levinechapel.com

Published in The Newton Tab from Aug. 29 to Sept. 5, 2014
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