The Blog

'Farewell, Rachel'

5:01 PM, Jun 12, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Gary L. Bauer emails friends and supporters this special message on the passing of Rachel Abrams:

A few days ago, Carol and I lost a dear friend of many years. Rachel Abrams, beloved wife of Elliott Abrams and loving mother to Jake, Nani and Joey, passed away after waging a courageous three-and-a-half-year battle against stomach cancer. We joined her grieving family and many friends on Sunday to say goodbye at a traditional Jewish family funeral. It was a painful day.

We first met the Abrams family in the Reagan years, when both Elliott and I served under that great president. Our shared political views led us from being coworkers to an enduring friendship between our families. Our children grew up together. We enjoyed beach vacations together and had many meals well talked over. We love all the Abrams family, but Rachel will always occupy a special place in our hearts.

Rachel is hard to describe to someone who never had the pleasure of meeting her. She was simply "a force of nature." Her hugs enveloped you. Her laughter was infectious. Rachel's exuberance on the dance floor made everyone else feel like they had two left feet. Rachel's parents, the renowned conservative intellectuals Midge Decter and Norman Podhoretz, developed in their daughter an appreciation of the arts, music and poetry.

But most of all, they instilled in her a great love for our country and especially for those who defend our liberty. Rachel believed in America and in Israel and saw our two nations as the pillars of Western civilization. As loving as she was, any leftist who spoke foolishness about our nation earned her disdain and rebuke.

In recent years I was honored to serve with her on the board of Bill Kristol's Emergency Committee for Israel. Even during her illness she was always there, encouraging us to move forward. Rachel's passion was contagious. She despised political correctness and never hesitated to violate its numbing restriction on our speech. Bill Kristol aptly described her as a "controversialist." Indeed she was -- but always a happy one!

Virtually all mothers love their children and would do anything to protect them. But Rachel was in a category all her own when it came to her great "kids" who are now young adults. So too was she devoted to her husband Elliott, and he to her.

When Elliott became a target of Washington's leftist political establishment, Rachel stood unwavering by his side, urging him not to concede an inch to those who so often turn our politics into a blood sport. I don't believe in putting women in combat. But if I had to pick a member of the "fairer sex" to be in a foxhole with, it would be Rachel the "warrior."

It is a Jewish tradition for the mourners at the gravesite to participate in the actual internment. Carol and I and our adult children stood in that line of sorrow to wait our turn to lift a shovel of dirt and toss it on the simple pine casket. It was the heaviest weight I have ever lifted. The haunting sound of the dirt hitting the pine box will echo in my ears forever.

The Scripture tells us that the Jews are the apple of God's eye, a covenant people. God tells Abraham, "He who blesses you I will bless." Rachel was a blessing from God to us. Rest in peace, my friend. It is our prayer that we will see you dance again in the world yet to come.

Bauer and Abrams were together, along with the boss, board members of the Emergency Committee for Israel.

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 18 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers