2010-05-06 / Obituaries

Najah Nesheiwat Remembered as a Caring and Giving Woman


Najah Nesheiwat is being remembered this week as a caring and giving person.

Nesheiwat was laid to rest at the Raymond Hill Cemetery last Tuesday following her death resulting from a massive stroke.

Nesheiwat was 72 years old. She and her husband of 52 years, Jamal, moved to Carmel in 1970—a place she affectionately called the “center of the universe”— where they raised their four children—Dr. Michael Nesheiwat, Dr. James Nesheiwat, Dr. Jeffrey Nesheiwat, and nurse Renee Youssef, who was described as her mother’s best friend.

Seated in their home Monday, the family remembered Najah as a woman who made a difference and actually changed people’s lives.

Dr. Michael described the outpouring of love and compassion from the community since his mother’s death “totally unbelievable. My mother was a giver, and people apparently realized that.”

Following her death, the family found certificates of contribution that Mrs. Nesheiwat had squirreled away to a wide variety of organizations both near and far that included Boy’s Town and St. Jude Children’s Hospital. “My mother was a caring and loving woman who touched the lives of so many people,” said Dr. Jeffrey.

Najah Nesheiwat emigrated to the U.S. from Jordan, and four years later was married in Yonkers. Najah and Jamal operated a supermarket in Scarsdale before relocating to Carmel and opening Mr. J’s Ice Cream Store in Carmel.

Jamal remembered: “We came to the United States with nothing, but thanks to the Good Lord and hard work, we raised four children and accomplished the American dream.”

Dr. Mike said his mother was a believer in volunteering: “This is why our family is so heavy into volunteerism, whether it is a Candy Striper at Putnam Hospital Center, the fire department, the church, Board of Education, any community function—we are always there to assist.”

Renee said while her mother was a giver “she never wanted any notoriety. Mom loved to give. She touched many lives by her goodness, wholesome character, and generosity. Her smile and spirit are forever imprinted on the hearts of her family.”

On the occasion of their golden wedding anniversary in 2008, the couple renewed their wedding vows at St. James Church in Carmel before a large gathering of family and friends.

In addition to her four children, Najah is survived by the happiness of her life—her six grandchildren—Sara, Michael, Steven, Hannah, James, and Abigail.

The family has been so grateful to the staff at Putnam Hospital Center that they have created the Putnam Hospital Center Foundation Najah Nesheiwat Clinical Scholarship Fund. The annual $1,000 gift will be awarded to one or more clinical staff members to help with tuition or educational costs.

The family called it an “honor and privilege to recognize the nursing and clinical staff at PHC for their extraordinary work in dealing with the fragility of life and unpredictability of mortality.”

Those desiring to contribute to the scholarship can send a tax deductible check to the Putnam Hospital Center Foundation—Najah Nesheiwat Scholarship, Putnam Hospital Center, Stoneleigh Avenue, Carmel, NY 10512.

How does the family want the community to remember their matriarch?

Dr. Mike put it this way: Our mother was Putnam County’s saint—a giver and never a taker—a woman who devoted her life so others could have a better life. We have been blessed. May she rest in peace knowing she has left an indelible mark on our family, our community, and our country.”

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‘No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.’ ~Hal Borland