Silverman understands importance of family

BY JILL KASSANDER, SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH LIGHT

It is said more personal phone calls are made on Mother’s Day than any other day of the year in the United States. The greeting card and floral industry are kept busy as well especially by grown children who live far from their families. One local mom doesn’t have that problem. In fact, every day of the year she is surrounded by most of the significant women and people in her life.

Karen Silverman has lived in St. Louis her entire life. She and her husband Gary and their two children, Blake and Brett live in Chesterfield and most of their family does too. Said Silverman, “There’s my mom and dad, Peggy and Alan Schaffer. Also my dad’s mom Helen Schaffer. My sister Jennifer Klearman and her husband Mike and their two children Whitney and Brooke. My in-laws Beverly and Jerry Silverman. Beverly’s mom Florence Zavack. My husband’s sister Debbie Cohen and her husband Tab and their kids Brittney and Ryan. And we also include Gary’s other sister Cheri Lasky and her husband Steve and their kids Brad and Kelli, who live in Vail, Colorado. Because they visit all the time and we are just as close to them as the family that lives in town.”

ADVERTISEMENT
MERS Goodwill ad


That list doesn’t include the cousins. Silverman’s local extended family numbers more than 50 people when they get together. “When I go out to a restaurant or to the J, anywhere I go, my friends comment, ‘Karen you’re related to everybody!’ They say that to me all the time. Because everywhere I go I see at least one of my relatives,” Silverman said.

Silverman remembers being brought up with a strong sense of the importance of family. She recalled having Sunday dinners with her grandmother and with many cousins around. There were also the family vacations which included a lot of bonding activities and spending quality time together. “My mom is the most giving, unselfish, warm, caring, mom. She will drop whatever she’s doing to help us. I can’t imagine not having that bond with my mom,” Silverman said.

Said Peggy, “A lot of what I learned came from my mother and my mother-in-law. Wonderful little things that they did for their grandchildren you would think would be insignificant, and yet created such memories and bonds. Like, every time a grandchild was sick they would be there with comforting words and a little gift. When we would take long car trips, they would wrap up little presents the children got to open along the way.”

“We were always together for Jewish holiday celebrations, they were very significant in our family,” Alan said.

Another very special relationship for Silverman is with her sister Jennifer. Klearman moved back to St. Louis in May 2005 after living away from the area since 1989. While the sisters are incredibly close today, it was not always the case. Said Klearman, “I am two and one-half years younger than Karen. We had the typical sibling rivalry growing up. I was a wild and crazy teenager and Karen was a straight ‘A’ student into studying and school plays.”

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and it worked for the sisters as well. After Karen went away to college, they started corresponding and talking more. “As we grow older, now we’re so much alike it’s almost funny,” said Klearman. They are both into nutrition, healthy eating, exercising and healthy cooking. Their children are almost the same age, both have dogs, they got married less than a year apart and now they live two streets away from each other. While both sisters are very busy they take advantage of even small snatches of time to go for a walk or have a brief conversation — just enjoying the opportunity to be with one another.

Said Klearman, “It’s pretty special to have a very best friend, for me it’s my sister, who knows everything about you and understands you. Karen has been such a role model to me about raising children.”

Klearman and Silverman share many things. Both families belong to Shaare Emeth and send their children to preschool at United Hebrew. “We love both congregations,” Silverman said. They also share carpool duty, family vacations, advice and assistance, moral support and reassurance and a love of their parents. Said Silverman, “I’m so lucky, I love that we get together so often and I treasure those times.”