Adele Sharaga

I was born Adele Levine and raised in New York where I lived thirty years of my life as a New Yorker. My father was a pharmacist and one day he sent me to a wholesale supplier to buy medicine for a prescription. There I not only found the medicine, but I also found my future husband, Irving Sharaga who also was a pharmacist. We were married for sixty-four years.

Soon I had two sons and was happy to be a stay at home mom when they were young. My husband’s pharmacy was around the corner from where we lived in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan. After my father’s early death, my mother and sister moved in with my aunt who lived close by. It was a special time having our family living so close together.

When I was thirty, we moved to Oradell, New Jersey and lived in that beautiful suburban town for fifty-eight years where my sons received an excellent public school education. I immediately joined the Parent Teacher Association and became chairman of the safety committee. I fought for sidewalks on busy streets, traffic lights on important crossings near the elementary school, and bike racks. Suddenly everybody got to know me in town.

After moving into Oradell, we learned that there were only twelve Jewish families in town. Making sure my boys had a good Jewish education was important to us, so we joined a synagogue in a neighboring town where they each became a Bar Mitzvah. I also discovered that we needed a hospital closer to our town. I heard that a group of women from Westwood were working to raise funds and were asking for help from other towns in the Pascack Valley. I invited twenty neighborhood women to my home and we decided to start a fundraising group in Oradell. I spent most of my time working on this hospital project and was elected chairman three terms. After seven years our combined women’s groups succeeded in raising one million dollars. This was all through local efforts such as bake sales, dances and “come as you are” breakfasts. When matched by government funds, we had enough money to build Pascack Valley Hospital. After many years I was honored as the town’s Volunteer of the Year.

In the seven month period between December 17th 2003 and July 11th 2004 I lost five people that I loved. Starting with my younger son, followed by my two brother-in-law’s. Next was my closest friend who lived across the street who burned to death in her home, ending with my husband who fought a hard battle with cancer. These tragic events led me to leave the home I loved. I waited six years before gathering the courage to move in 2009 to Seattle, where my older son Ken had established himself as a lawyer.

I love The Summit at First Hill, the residents, the staff and even the Pacific Northwest climate. I don’t know why anyone complains about the weather it is so much better than the east coast winters and summers. Now I am the luckiest mother to be living just two blocks from Ken. Living near each other makes Seattle our “home.”