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Blaubaum, Agnes Rebecca (1849–1892)

It is with much sorrow and grief that we have to record the untimely death of Mrs [Agnes] Blaubaum, wife of the esteemed Rabbi of the St Kilda Hebrew community, which sad event occurred last Tuesday week. The deceased lady was possessed of a quiet and gentle disposition which endeared her to a very large circle of friends, and as an almoner of relief to the deserving poor she was the worthy consort of one whose ministerial life has been of untiring communal activity. Borne down latterly by the lingering torture of a wasting disease she accepted her fate with a calm patience and quiet endurance, strengthened by the firm belief in the dictates of the will of an all-wise God. With her senses clear to the last moment, and her thoughts with her husband and children, she passed away to the inner life with the prayer of Israel on her lips. Peace and freedom from suffering awaits her pure spirit in the haven of perpetual rest.

There is no Death!
what seems so is transition,
This life of mortal breath
Is but a suburb of the life elysian,
Whose portal we call Death.

The funeral of the late Mrs Blaubaum took place on Wednesday, the 31st August. The esteem in which she was held was evidenced by the large number that followed the remains of the deceased lady to the St Kilda Cemetery. The cortege was preceded by a procession of boys from the Sabbath School, under the control of Mr Joel Fredman, and in the large concourse that followed there were representatives from all the metropolitan Jewish congregations. The beautiful Hebrew service for the dead was solemnly intoned by Rabbi Jacob Lenzer, of the East Melbourne Synagogue, and an oration on the grave given by the Rev. Dr Joseph Abrahams, MA, Rabbi of the Melbourne Congregation. The coffin was buried in flowers, sent as a loving farewell from dear friends to one who will be ever held in most affectionate remembrance. Mrs Blaubaum, who is the daughter of Mr S. H. Cohen, JP, leaves two daughters and five sons to mourn her untimely loss.

The following oration was delivered at the grave by the Rev. Dr. Joseph Abrahams, M.A.:—From the reading-desk in the synagogue there will be proclaimed next Saturday the 13th verse of Deut. xxiv.—"Thou shalt deliver him the pledge again when the sun goeth down." This rule ranks among the compassionate injunctions of the Mosaic Code, and ordains that the destitute who is compelled by dire necessity to give his raiment in security can legally claim it back when it is most indispensable—at sundown and during the cold and cheerless hours of night. An ancient simile compares the Word of God to brilliant fire, to a hammer that strikes the rock and emits thousands of luminous sparks, from its power to penetrate with new and manifold moral influences every receptive heart. A sorrowful and powerful commentary on the text just quoted is afforded now in the mute but eloquent appeal of these mortal remains that we are about to consign to their last resting-place. The immortal soul with which we are all endowed is the priceless and sacred pledge entrusted to our keeping, the earnest of the Divine mercy and goodwill, deposited with us as a hallowed charge, to be returned to the Creator pure and unsullied when our earthly career is over. The sun of our departed sister's life has set, and we have every reason to trust that her spirit, chastened and spotless, is now "beholding the grace of the Eternal, and seeking Him in His temple." The character of our late sister did not belong to the ostentatious kind that readily attracts the world's gaze. It was in her home life, the pre-eminent sphere of woman's activity, that she exerted her gentle, subtle, yet telling, influence. By no means neglecting public calls, she took a general interest in philanthropic movements, and founded the St. Kilda Jewish Young Ladies' Sewing Class. Her mother's care will long live in the future of her children, when they shall be enabled to appreciate their loss, and show their tenderness to their deceased parent, by acting after her lessons of wisdom and kindness. And as for them and for the other mourners, the sun of righteousness arises day by day with healing in his wings, the memory of their lost dear one will continue like a message from the grave, an incentive to a useful and honourable career. But it was especially as a wife and helpmate that she was distinguished. She practically appreciated her duty to smooth the path of her consort's existence. Did anxieties, worries, or overwork tax his powers in his arduous profession, she was ever ready to come forward with the tender influence of her aid and sympathy. It is no exaggeration to say that whatever success he has achieved in the community was due largely to the repose from fatigue afforded by, and to the inspiration gathered from his home, presided over by the virtuous woman, to whom we are now assembled to pay our last tribute of respect. I am powerless to console the chief mourner. I can only realise in imagination the severity of the blow with which he has been visited, and imagination, however vivid, falls far short of reality. But though my words are ineffective, the Word of God is all powerful. I would repeat to him the exhortation of Eliphaz the Temanite to Job in his dire affliction:—"Behold thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands. Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast supported the tottering knees." Now it has come upon thee, it toucheth thee. Now is the occasion to evince thy faith, thy hope, thy confidence. Our sister has met with an untimely death according to earthly standards. But her days were full in the eyes of God.

Death cannot come to one untimely who is fit to die,
The less of this cold earth, the more of heaven,
The briefer life, the earlier immortality.

From an atmosphere of racking pain and physical anguish, borne with heroic fortitude, from a world of care and toil, the All Merciful has summoned and soothed His chosen one to eternal rest by claiming back His pledge, "She has entered in peace, she shall repose on her couch, again to arise and walk in uprightness" in the light of the Divine countenance in the world to come.

Original publication

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Blaubaum, Agnes Rebecca (1849–1892)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/blaubaum-agnes-rebecca-20710/text31506, accessed 22 August 2019.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2019

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Cohen, Agnes Rebecca
Birth

1849
Port Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia

Death

31 August 1892
St Kilda, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death

cancer (bowel)

Cultural Heritage
Religious Influence