Everyone Esther Bigel met quickly learned she was all heart.
When she passed on May 13, 2023, at age 94, the world lost her unique brand of compassion and understanding.
Esther was born in 1928 in Toronto to the late Dena and Raphael Naiman. The youngest of five children, she moved to Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1951. There, she met and married the love of her life, Mendy Bigel. After his untimely death, she raised their children on her own.
In addition to her family, Esther was known for her lifelong love of children, who gravitated toward her everywhere she went. She most recently worked as a lunch monitor at East Side Elementary School, where she spent 20 years making lunchtime special for thousands of children. Upon her retirement, the school named the lunchroom in her honor, so her kindness and gentleness would always be remembered.
Beyond her close-knit community at work, Esther had a plethora of friends from Congregation Etz Chaim in Marietta, Ga. A devout Jew, Esther was never far from her preferred seat in shul, which she attended weekly for as long as she could. She was also known for her fluency in Yiddish, deep love of chocolate babkas, and sincere enjoyment of every Shabbat and holiday.
Determined and independent, Esther never learned how to drive, and enjoyed long walks to all her favorite stores. But throughout her life, nothing was more important to Esther than her family. She was a loving, supportive, and caring mother and grandmother anyone would be lucky to have.
Esther is survived by her children, Mitchell (Joanne) and Penney (Jeremy), her grandchildren, Michael, Kelly (Jonathan), and Michelle, and many family members and friends with whom she had close and loving relationships and who will miss her dearly. Contributions to Congregation Etz Chaim, 1190 Indian Hills Parkway NE, Marietta, GA 30068. Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care.