True friends are never apart, maybe in distance but never by heart.

“Sori, I’m telling you to marry him! From everything you’ve told me, I know he’ll make a good husband and you will be very happy. And, if you don’t listen to me, I will not talk to you again … ”

This was my last conversation with you.

Itty, I miss you every day.

Our conversation ended too quickly because one of your sons was calling you on the other line. You said you would call me back tomorrow, and then the Surfside tragedy happened.

Here are some things that I learned from you:

Rule No. 1: Be a good friend to the world, but remember your first priority should be family. Give the best to your children, to your spouse, to parents and siblings. Some people are busy building corporations while their own family suffers. Our families are our biggest empires; I hope I never forget that.

Itty! Thank G‑d, I got married this year, and I thought of you each step of the way.

You were always into details, as I am, and we would discuss each one in depth. I wore my wig with bangs. It makes me look younger. (You told me so.)

I said the whole book of Psalms on my wedding day. Despite thinking that I couldn’t do it, I thought of you. Every time I came to visit you, you were either beginning or finishing saying some chapters of Psalms for a child or grandchild of yours.

Psalms was your best friend, and I needed G‑d on my side, so I did it, too.

Rule No. 2: if I want G‑d to partner with me, I need to pray. And what better prayer than to praise Him with chapters of Psalms.

You and I both love nature and the beach. I wanted to get married by the water, but logistically, it would have been too hard for people to drive to the beach and then to the campsite where the dinner was. So I did it all at the campsite, among the trees and beautiful views. You would have loved it! Such serene grounds filled with lush green meadows and surrounding mountains.

Itty, you didn’t just talk about the beaches and beautiful sunsets; you lived across the road from the beach, and every morning you would show me the view from your apartment and praise G‑d for this beautiful world.

Rule No. 3: Spend as much time as possible with nature. It is G‑d’s gift to the world. It heals the soul and calms the mind.

If you couldn’t get out on any given day, you told me that at least you had a beautiful view to look at outside your window. You appreciated what life gave you. Itty, you made an average day into an amazing one. If you were waiting at an appointment for hours, you looked at it as an opportunity to catch up on saying some chapters of Psalms or make calls to your kids.

Rule No. 4: Reframe your life. Sometimes, we have an idea, a plan of how we want our life to go. Plans are great, but G‑d runs this world, and life doesn’t always go our way. It can be because of sickness, a job, schooling, family situations or anything else. Reframe your life. If you are bedridden, call a friend to visit—call someone.

Itty, you lived in Sydney for decades and then you moved to Surfside to be near your children. But packing and moving to another country became a reason for you to declutter, clean and make way for new opportunities. You gave away most of your belongings—the meaningful stuff to your loved ones and the rest to others.

I moved houses, too, and gained from the opportunity to get rid of half my possessions. I learned from the best.

Rule No. 5: Don’t clutter your life with things. Pass them on to others who can use them.

Itty, you would’ve loved my wedding. We danced the night away with pure and utter joy.

You embodied the saying: “Dance like no one is watching, love like you’ve never been hurt, sing like no one is listening, and live life like it’s heaven on earth.” I got married and started hosting pretty much right after my wedding. I learned that from you, too, Itty. Whatever you had, you shared with others.

Rule No. 6: Really feel joy and share that radiance with the world. Our world needs more laughter, more joy, and we can all be lamplighters.

You were always so very thoughtful with what you said, and even more careful with what you wrote.

Rule No. 7: Before speaking, listen. Before writing, think.

Itty, you taught me how to give even when I don’t have much energy, by sharing a kind word with the waitress, responding with a smiley face on a WhatsApp chat, or leaving a sweet message on someone’s phone. These small gestures can cheer up someone who needs to be uplifted and can make a world of difference.

Rule No. 8: Share the love you have with someone who needs it. There is always someone who could use a pick-me-up. A side benefit is it makes you happier as well.

You invited me to come visit you even when you were bedridden, and I loved every minute of it. Now I entertain a lot. I miss telling you what I am cooking, how I don’t follow any recipe properly and feel the need to change it up to make it healthy. I send your boys my biscuits, and each week they turn out different; sometimes, they’re even too healthy to eat.

I know you are laughing from heaven. I hear you shouting, “Please, Sori, not everyone likes such healthy cookies!”

Rule No. 9: Serve my guests what they like, not what I like.

I miss our morning chats, I miss sharing my thoughts, doubts, fears, fights and mistakes with you. Nothing was too big or too small to discuss. You gave me your honest opinion. You told me what to do and when I didn’t follow your instructions, you forgave me and told me some other ideas. Your words flowed freely, you were never stumped. You gave of yourself 100 percent, whenever you could.

You were discreet and loyal to a fault. I could trust you with anything, knowing it would never go anywhere.

You taught me well. Today, friends call me, and I never repeat what I hear to anyone, ever, even when I hear some crazy stuff.

Rule No. 10: To be a good friend, one must be trustworthy, caring, loving and raise the other person up. Be a good sounding board and honest enough to tell your friends when they are making a mistake. But forgive them when they don’t listen, and help them pick up the broken pieces.

It is an art to be a good friend.

Itty, you were that to me and so many others. And that is why I have a hole in my heart that will never be fully filled.

When I collect seashells I think of you.

When I see a beautiful sunset, I take a photo and want to share it with you. We even had a WhatsApp group called “G‑d’s beautiful world.” The world is still so majestic and stunning, but you are upstairs and I am downstairs. I talk to you all the time and hear your responses. They are direct, no-nonsense, and I don’t always want to follow, but now I know better. The Torah was your guiding light, and I’ll try to make it mine. I know it will give me an easier and happier life.

I miss you down here, but I know that you are smiling at me from up above.

Your loving friend, Sori.

In loving memory of Ita bat Yosef Mordechai and Tzvi Daniel ben David.