Ellen Goldsmith, former president of Ahavat Zion Synagogue (AZS), long-term UMJC supporter, conference speaker, adviser, friend, and colleague to many, passed away after a two-and-a-half year battle with cancer on January 3. A memorial service for Ellen was held on Sunday, February 27, at Granada Heights Friends Church, in La Mirada, California, with hundreds in attendance.
Ellen grew up in Long Island, New York (in what she described as “a Jewish ghetto”), attended Syosset High School, and went on to earn a Master’s degree from Cornell University in 1981. She married Michael Quarry in 1983 and moved to California. Michael had been instrumental in Ellen’s journey to faith in Yeshua as the Jewish Messiah. Not long after their marriage, Michael developed severe dementia from his earlier career as a professional boxer. Ellen devoted herself to Michael’s care until he passed away in 2006, and also earned certification as a Marriage and Family Therapist, and later received a doctorate in education from Biola University during that period. Ellen met Steve Goldsmith in 2009 and they were married on January 22, 2010.
Ellen was a larger-than-life figure, who had a profound influence on our community through her profound, witty, and always authentic teaching and counseling work. In addition to her service at AZS, Ellen served on the board of Messianic Jewish Theological Institute, Hashivenu, and other Messianic Jewish organizations. In one of her last updates to friends, Ellen wrote in her characteristic style,
i want you to know that i am still fighting hard—
trusting in the God who does not owe me
a healing, an explanation, understanding, a sign,
plans that work out well or smoothly,
his purpose in this suffering to be clear
and you can add to the list.
what i am learning to trust, is that he has promised to be with me
and experience life this side of heaven with me.
walking together in his love
All those who knew and loved Ellen, within the UMJC family and beyond, will miss her deeply—and continue to be inspired by her joy in living, her love for people, and her passion for God.