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Mount Sinai Obituaries and Services » Ella Schulman

Ella Schulman

August 28, 1932 - December 28, 2020

Service Information Mount Sinai Hollywood Hills

Service Date: Sunday January 3rd, 2021

Service Time: 12:00 pm

Mount Sinai Hollywood Hills

5950 Forest Lawn Drive

Los Angeles, California 90068

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Ella Schulman passed away on December 28, 2020 at the age of 88.

Ella was born Elka Korcowicz to parents Faiwel and Malka on August 28, 1932 in Nowy Dwór Mazowiecki, Poland, the younger sister of Baruch. She fondly recalled her early childhood living in a “brownstone” built by “someone from New York” and enjoyed treats from her grandparents’ bakery. Her mother worked in theater doing makeup and hair and her Uncle Ino became a well-known singer in the Yiddish theater. Ella inherited her family’s flair for the dramatic and always made her presence known, wherever she was.

Ella was scheduled to begin school on September 1, 1939, but, instead, the sounds of bombs raining on Warsaw awoke all in her family. The family fled east and hunkered down in Kazakhstan for the war. There, Ella began her formal education, attending a Polish school organized by the diaspora community in the morning and a Russian school where food was served in the afternoon.

After the war, the family landed in displaced person camps in Germany as a safe return to Poland seemed impossible. Ella and her family planned to emigrate to Canada with extended family but her brother insisted on going to Israel to fight for its independence. Mother Malka insisted they stay together and off they headed in 1948. Israel won its independence while the family was en route so they arrived in nascent Eretz Israel.

Ella, then 16, wanted to continue to high school, but her parents could afford only secretarial school. She admitted she was a lousy secretary and her career was short-lived. She served in the Israeli army in the early 1950s, rising to sergeant.

In 1958, Ella met Ben, a Holocaust survivor living in the United States. Ben was visiting family in Israel and on a thinly-veiled wife-hunting expedition. After a three-month whirlwind romance, they became engaged and were married on September 9, 1958. Four months later, knowing no one in the U.S. but Ben, Ella boarded a plane for the first time ever and started another new life with a near-stranger. They were married six months short of 50 years when Ben died in 2008.

Ella quickly made friends in her new country despite the language barrier, and not long after her arrival in Los Angeles, Ella and Ben welcomed son Henry in 1960 and daughter Janie in 1962. Ella was fiercely devoted to her family and was hell-bent on making sure her children received the educational opportunities that eluded her. A speaker of six languages, Ella pushed the study of foreign languages and literature. Biweekly trips to the library to check out the maximum number of books were routine, and Ella was never too proud to march her kids to the neighbors’ homes when she was unable to help with homework like spelling and grammar.

As the children grew, Ella went to work in the 1970s as a cashier and saleslady at Ben’s car wash. She relished earning her own paycheck, although she plowed much of it was back into the tchochkes sold at the car wash.

In retirement, Ella cared for Ben and kvelled over her children’s accomplishments, and kvelled even more over the arrival of her grandchildren Emma and Max. She remained an avid reader of good and not-so-good literature, a Jeopardy aficionado and a purported expert on just about anything.

Over time, Ella became more political and vocal about civil and human rights. Her heart broke for the children suffering in Syria and those separated from their parents at our own border. This summer, sheached for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and even more so for their mothers. This spring, she told her doctor she wanted to live long enough to vote against Trump and see him kicked out of the White House. That wish fulfilled, it was time for Ella to rest.

Ella is survived by her son Henry, daughter Janie (John Caragozian), grandchildren Emma and Max Caragozian, and extended family around the world.