Eulogy for Irene Eskenazi by Rabbi Hassan
Irene was born February 10, 1933 in the Central District in the middle of the Sephardic Ghetto. She was the 5th of 6 Children born to Louis and Victoria Israel. There was a 13 year gap between Irene and her next oldest sibling. Irene’s family were very active in Ezra Bessaroth and she was involved in the SYC – Sephardic Youth Club that served both Sephardic Congregations.
Ike began courting Irene when he was a senior and she was a junior at high school. It was love at first sight and despite their youth they knew that at aged 21 and 19 they were ready to get married.
Before they were married Ike was doing his Army basic training for the Korean War in Camp Roberts, California. During Ike’s deployment, Irene was left to organize the wedding with both sets of parents. Immediately after the honeymoon Ike shipped out and Irene began married life as a single woman with her parents and in laws. But it didn’t last too long as Ike was there to see the exchange of POWs and come back home to Irene.
Irene worked at Seattle 1st National Bank as a night auditor. And then in 1955 family life began when Lea was born and then in 1957 Maury arrived. In 1960 Ike got a promotion at work and he got transferred to the bay area in California. Ike was always on the road with his transportation business leaving Irene as a mom with two young kids without knowing a single person.
So they quickly joined and became active in the Beth Jacob synagogue in Oakland and the Beth Shalom congregation in San Leandro. Irene and Ike were very involved in the Jewish Community. Irene was very active with the kids in boy scouts, girl scouts and little league. She also worked at JC penny too.
In 1970, the family moved back to Seattle and of course they joined the Bikur Holim. Yes, Irene’s family were members of Ezra Bessaroth, but Ike was a Tourkino and his home was always the Bikur Holim. Irene went back to work in baking at Rainier Bank. She was also very active in the Sisterhood at Bikur Holim.
She was very close with her brother Max and his family. In 1973, Irene’s mother, Victoria Israel passed away 2 days before Passover. They started a new tradition of massive family Passover get togethers with all of Irene’s extended family. They especially loved playing the Gong show which Uncle Max took great pleasure hosting.
Ike and Irene loved to travel. They went on many cruises with friends to Mexico, Hawaii, the Caribbean and a memorable trip to Spain. They would also have many Israel family reunions.
In 1981 their first grandchild was born, Angela and 4 years later Jordan was born and once again their world changed. Irene was a very active grandma. And she was affectionately known as grandma Rene. The grandchildren would often spend the night at their grandparents. They would take the grandkids to Seaside and lots of other fun day trips.
Irene loved entertaining and always had big parties and BBQs on the holidays. She had an open house and Maury and Lea’s friends were always there.
In 2006, they moved to the summit where they were very happy for 4 years. Then they moved to the Kline Galland Home in 2010 and Irene was happy there until the end of her life. Irene loved that the Kline was full of familiar faces it was just like the old days seeing old lost friends and acquaintances.
Irene was a very caring mother. In Maury’s words she was a typical Jewish mother who worried all the time about you guys. Even as adults with your own children she’d tell you to drive carefully and call me when you get home! She’d end every phone call with I love you. She’d always be the first one to say it. She loved to give you hugs. She was a very loving woman.
She was a great cook. She made all the great Sephardic dishes and she made everything in the Tourkino way even though she grew up as a Rhodesli. She especially liked to make pishkado con ouevo limon.
Irene was always very careful to make sure that you all had dinner together every night at the table. Family was so important to her. She loved you Ike, You were married 64 years. She loved you Lea and Maury and she loved you Rosane like a daughter and she loved her grandchildren. When ever I would visit the Kline she would talk about her children and grandchildren so fondly. You are her crowning achievement her legacy.