Official Obituary of

Susan Kushner

January 30, 1943 ~ March 11, 2024 (age 81) 81 Years Old

Susan Kushner Obituary

Susan Kushner, 81, of Albany NY, passed away on Monday, March 11, surrounded by her loving family and friends.

Born in Buffalo, NY, Susan moved with her husband Phil to Los Angeles and then made Aliyah where they raised three children in kibbutz Nahal Oz in southern Israel. During her time on the kibbutz, Susan worked in early childhood education and garden landscaping.

For the past forty-two years, Susan has been a proud and active member of the Albany Jewish community. Beloved teacher, and an educator at heart, she taught hundreds of children at the pre-schools of Temple Israel and Ohav Shalom, tutored generations of Bnei and Bnot Mitzvah students, led weekly Torah Study at Congregation Beth Emeth, and was an administrator with the Communal and Yachad Jewish supplemental high school programs.

An advocate of Jewish pluralism, Susan was an educator across the broad spectrum of Jewish institutions in Albany, from Chabad to Reform and the unaffiliated. Her heart was open to all with unconditional love and acceptance.

Susan was known for her unmatched trivia skills and Scrabble prowess. Her use of words such as ‘yeti’ and ‘za’ to crush other players is a matter of family lore. She was an avid crossword puzzle player, and enjoyed Words with Friends and other word games she could share with family and friends living far from her. Susan was a weekly Mahjong player with a local group of friends, and a co-chair of the monthly Mahjong tournament fundraiser at Congregation Beth Emeth. She was an active member of the Sisterhood and a volunteer with various synagogue committees including the Ritual and Education committees.

Susan was a lover of plants and birds; before the Sinai was given back to Egypt, she went scuba diving often with her husband and friends. Living in Albany, she enjoyed canoe and kayak trips down local waterways with family and friends, taking pleasure in the small treasures that nature and life have to offer.

As a true woman of valor, Susan was a devoted wife, selfless mother and proud savta. Susan led by example and always put others first. She was like a mother to many who called her Imma, Mama K, and Mom. She would spend hours talking to her children’s friends as if they were her own, making them feel like they had a second home. Indeed, her home was always open to extended family and friends who stayed as long as they wished, always feeling welcomed. There were always enough beds, and always enough room to squeeze one more around the table. She was a kind-hearted and generous person and in the words of one of her grandchildren was “awesome to talk to!” Another grandchild quoted her as saying around the family dinner table, “What are you doing on your phone, everyone we need is right here.” She spent hours building Lego sets with her granddaughter, Caela, and was proud of her grandchildren’s achievements, supporting them unconditionally. Her love was never in short supply.

May her legacy of giving and generosity be a guide to us all.

She is survived by her husband, Philip Kushner, her sister, Nanci Saltwell (late Larry Saltwell), her children, Ayal Kushner, Leore Kushner (Erin Coufal), and Liat Kushner Richman (Bryan Richman), and her grandchildren, Isaiah and Caela Kushner, and Arielli, Michalle, and Sasha Richman.

A memorial service will be held on Thursday, March 14 at 1:00 pm at Congregation Beth Emeth. 

Shiva will be held at 37 Aspen Circle in Albany this Tuesday, March 12 – Thursday, March 14 from 11 am – 8 pm and Friday, March 15 from 10 am – noon. Minyan will be at 6 pm Tuesday – Thursday. 

Donations in her memory can be made to the Susan Kushner Torah Study Fund at Congregation Beth Emeth.

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