Goldie Taubenfeld left her home in the upstate chasidic village of New Square last Sunday to travel to Israel to celebrate a family wedding, as many American Jews do.
In tow were husband Moshe Menachem and two of their 13 children, 16-year-old daughter Batsehva and son Shmuel, barely 6 months old.
On Tuesday, a day after the wedding, the 43-year-old mother brought her children to pray at the Western Wall, Judaism’s umbilical cord to its Holy Temple, destroyed nearly 2,000 years ago.
That was her last act.
Goldie and her baby were among at least 20 killed (including five other children) when a city bus leaving the Western Wall was blown up by a Hamas suicide bomber disguised as an Orthodox Jew. The bus was packed with other worshippers returning from the Wall.
"She had a golden heart," niece Sarah Miriam Green told The Jewish Week Wednesday morning. "She had the best personality in New Square."
Goldie’s parents and two eldest sons immediately left for Israel to reclaim the bodies, Green said.
Goldie’s maiden name was Schwartz, and family members are longtime prominent residents of New Square, a chasidic sect that established its own village in Rockland County 50 years ago. While her married name was Taubenfeld, her passport said Goldie Zarkowsky, though it was unclear why.
Longtime friend Bracha Din, in a telephone interview from Jerusalem, said the husband was not on the fateful bus because he was learning Talmud in a Jerusalem study hall.
Din called Goldie "a pure soul." The youngest of five sisters, "she was always cheerful with a smile."
Goldie published a newsletter discussing the religious approach to modesty, Din said.