Remembering Charlotte Spiegelman

1941 – 2020

 

From Charlotte’s Temple:

Dear Temple Israel Family and Friends,

As a community, we celebrate the joys and mourn the losses of our Temple Family. We are deeply saddened to let you know that Charlotte Spiegelman passed away on Friday, September 25, 2020.

Charlotte was a TIOH board member. She helped found Sages of the Present, was a teacher in our lay-led Shabbat Morning Torah Study group and an enthusiastic participant in our yearly Women’s Retreat.

She is survived by her two sons – Adam (Melissa) and Michael (Karen) and three grandchildren (James, Rose & Alice).

We will gather for her funeral over Zoom on Tuesday morning September 29th at 10:00 am, and for shiva on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 5:00 pm also over Zoom. Links are below.

Condolence notes can be sent to:

Mike Spiegelman
870 25th Avenue #203
San Francisco CA 94121

Adam Spiegelman
5704 Newcastle Ave
Encino, CA 91316

Donations in her memory may be made to:

National Organization of Women
Planned Parenthood Los Angeles
Southern California Counseling Center

Zikhronah livrachah, may her memory be a blessing.

Shalom,
The Temple Israel of Hollywood Community

Zoom Links for Funeral and Shiva

Funeral for Charlotte Spiegelman
Time: Sep 29, 2020 10:00 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada

Join Zoom Meeting https://tioh-org.zoom.us/j/98131699745

Call in info:
669-900-9128
Meeting ID: 981 3169 9745

Shiva for Charlotte Spiegelman

Sep 29, 2020 05:00 PM
Sep 30, 2020 05:00 PM
Oct 1, 2020 05:00 PM

Join Zoom Meeting https://tioh-org.zoom.us/j/96143944229

Call in info:
669-900-9128
Meeting ID: 961 4394 4229

Charlotte Spiegelman did so much for Outreach Services at the Center. She was ready at a given moment and she would step in and support the things we were doing is pursuit of providing social justice informed services at SCCC. 
She called me the Rock Star and always hugged me and smiled that big joyous way. She would find time to sit with me and care about my life and asked how I was holding up. 
This has been a rough year in so many ways. This, out of the blue, shook me. I had just spoken to her about her return after the surgery. She reminded me that this Outreach work is what excites her, what she got into the field to do. She wanted to, as we say in Outreach, chop it up, deconstruct and grind out ways to be more aware of the impact of our services and how they are delivered directly affects the empowerment of communities. I love Charlotte, we had a special connection. Our spirits spoke to each other. I felt comforted by her presence. She would tell me often that the direction I was moving in was what she will always want to be a part of. We had plans for her to be in Watts when COVID-19 would allow. I didn’t have a back up plan for this. There is no back up plan for this loss, this void. 
I can hear her say to me. “You always will find a way and it will be what makes sense in that moment.” Hard to imagine as I write this in this moment that I will find a way. I will miss my friend forever. She is my Rock Star.
Marianne Diaz
Director of Outreach Services
Southern California Counseling Center
Charlotte, a fellow East Coaster turned West Coaster, was an enormous part of my growth as a therapist. I was fortunate enough to have her as my Supervisor in group supervision which is how we met. When our supervision was over, she offered to be my Individual Supervisor — lucky me!! She’s been my Individual Supervisor for the last three years until 3 weeks ago. I was devastated to hear how sick she was, and when I was told yesterday that she was not going to make it I was lost. The only person I could think to call was Marianne, and pass the news on to her. I’m so glad I did!! Charlotte is irreplaceable, and she will be sorely missed.
RIP lovely lady!!
Jamilla Lightner-Cedeno
Individual Supervisee

“We had a schtick, the three of us. We’d meet for coffee every Tuesday morning and kvetch about cases around Charlotte’s dining room table. The coffee was strong. The feedback was candid. The laughter was loud.

We fought like little kids for her attention — Laurence spouting incomprehensible Yiddish phrases that Laura would not understand, and Laura making mean jokes about men that would rankle Laurence.

By the time we had arranged our weekly “consultations,” we were well-versed in the humor and wisdom of vintage Spiegelman. We understood and shared the same philosophy, etched in the pages of the Book of Charlotte, (also known as The Spiegelman Manual):

“Bring in the whole family.” Page 37.

“Tell them the situation is hopeless.” Page 103

“Remember: it’s always the same couple. They just go out, change their clothes, and come back in.” Page 87

And, of course, the evergreen from her never-forgotten husband, Arthur: “You wanna argue, or you wanna go to the movies?” Page 23.

All of these underlying the general principle advanced in Charlotte’s ABCs:

Accept, Bicker, or Change.

Both of us were drawn to her after the first Family Systems presentation in Room 14. Here was this dynamic woman, with a thick Boston accent, a wry world view, a knowing glint in her eyes, who loved to brag about how she had studied DIRECTLY with Minuchin and Whitaker. She was a born storyteller, a down-to-earth, genuine, no-bullshitter who called it like she saw it. Charlotte never receded from embracing her robust personality – and neither did we.

Charlotte made an indelible impression on all who met her, from the shores of Boston to the students at Smith College, from Montclair, New Jersey, to the Berkshires, at Temple Israel and at SCCC. We know — because she made that indelible impression on us.

Charlotte lived and loved with formidable passion. She was not shy about how smart she was, she knew her value and made it clear she had no time to waste. She had things to do. She invested all of herself in those things, whether it was brewing coffee or listening to opera, supporting dance companies or doing Pilates.

She was our mentor, our therapy mom, and we her middle-aged protégés. We are the therapists and the people we are in no small way for having known her. She taught us practically everything about therapy and a lot about life, including how to use the word “fuck” for maximum comic effect.

Great lights cast long shadows, and we will forever stand in Charlotte’s, imbued with some of the light she invested in us through her love, and through our love for her in return.

Laura Collura  & Laurence Rosenthal

Oh, Charlotte, I’m going to miss you! You left us way too soon, and at a time when we could really use your sparkle. We’re just going to have to keep your spirit alive in us going forward. The frequent twinkle in your eye is how I will most remember you.

You and I go way back. We’ve been together at SCCC since you first showed up, and was I glad to see you. We both go further back than that, as we’d been around the worlds of Family Therapy since very close to the beginnings, when seeing families at all was radical. We both know how fun it was to push those boundaries.  When I think of your work with families, and with students of family therapy, I don’t know anyone still living who knows how to push as hard—yet as playfully—as you did. I miss all of our old teachers and mentors, as I know you did, and now I’m going to have to miss you, too. It’s getting lonely.

Fortunately for me and for the world, you’ve passed your spirit on to another whole generation of therapists. I will look for your sparkle, your playfulness, your pushiness, and most of all your faith that people CAN be pushed, in the work of the countless therapists you have influenced, as they now bear the responsibility for the future that you fought for.

Much love, Larry

I gasped and shouted, “Oh, no!” when I just read that Charlotte has died.  I had just done that when RBG died last week.   The sounds of my own voice mixed with the lonely feelings were so similar in this silence of the isolation: and neither Charlotte or RBG were supposed to die now.  They were supposed to wait until their work and fun with us/for us and so many others was done.  Nobody else can do it in quite the same gifted way. And it is just not done yet.

Charlotte was so important to my SCCC experience, to my becoming a therapist quite late in my life and my becoming a good therapist.  She was my group supervisor and then I was blessed to have her as my personal supervisor, meeting in the comfort of her home, at her dining table.  She was so good to me, so wise, so centered and just so much fun.  She saw me through the loss of my sister, she saw me through the joys of my children. And saw me through the joys of her own children!    I had not seen her recently enough, but Charlotte was, AND IS, always with me.

I love that the details of others’ experiences with her are being recorded here …..  because I am able to recognize and share them with you.  We are so so lucky to have had her touch, aren’t we?!

I am sad today.  Her name will be on my lips and in my heart tonight and tomorrow as we make our way through another Yom Kippur.  I am just so sorry that “Charlotte Spiegelman” is part of this holy day……way too soon.

 

Marlene White Lenard

This is still too much for me to properly say what I have to say.  This is just not right.  She should have had much more time.  We should have had more time with her in this world.  After hearing Charlotte give a presentation at the SCCC family trainings, I approached her afterwards and basically begged her to be my individual supervisor.  She thought it over, and then did me the great honor of saying yes.  She supervised my last year-and-a-half at SCCC and I will be forever grateful for that.  Among so many things she helped me understand, two things stand out:  she gave me permission to take chances, to take a risk, and to go with my gut when it seemed most appropriate.  That was a great gift.  The other was something she said in my final supervised group at SCCC (with Laura and Lawrence, hi guys!)  I don’t recall the exact context but she remarked “I’ve been doing this a long time and the longer I do it the more uneasy I feel about suggesting that I can help someone solve their problem.  I really try not to do that anymore.”  As a new therapist I struggled with that kind of thing for awhile, but Charlotte’s thought about it has never left me, and she was right, as she nearly always was.  I grieve for you Charlotte.  It was too soon.

 

Charles Andrews

Charlotte brought me to SCCC. During these months of lock down we met for lunch weekly over face time and even once in person. We shared stories of our long years as practicing therapists. It was so easy with Charlotte as we had the same bullshit meter. She had such a lively mind and a great way of analyzing things. I told her the best thing for me about the lockdown was how much our friendship had deepened. She said, “ I just thought you were being nice to an old lady!”

Charlotte lit up a room. She gave so much to so many. It is such a privilege to be able to have called her my dear, dear friend.

 

Sheila Siegel

To Charlotte,
I remember when I met you in 2005. You had signed on to be a supervisor and I was executive director. Each week when you arrived for supervision, you would make a point of popping into my office. I remember those visits fondly, we covered clothes, food, hair (who else but you could get away with the purple streak?), and maybe eventually we’d get around to Center business. Your smile, goodness, spirit, intelligence, humor…really the list goes on…was a gift to us all. The Center advanced in training and supervision because of you. You sent so many therapists out into the world knowing what mattered most, and we will remember and miss you always.

xxoo
Margo

I see Charlotte walking into the Center with her purple streak of hair, sit down in one of the chairs in the group meeting room and wait for supervision to start. I loved her enthusiasm for the work of therapy, for social justice, for making a ruckus in service of others. She is one of people I have met who continually inspired me to do the work that matters, not take myself too seriously, and have a good time while doing it. Charlotte encouraged me to take more risks, to stretch out more and bring myself into the work, and to not worry about ruffling a few feathers in the process. I’ll remember her for her humor, her generosity of spirit and of knowledge and of her time with us at the Center. Charlotte, I will miss and will do my best to help make the changes you wanted to see happen in the world.

 

John Rosania

Charlotte and I were to meet at her house on the last day of August to go over the final paperwork as our group supervision was coming to an end.   In the weeks leading up, I would joke that  I was experiencing separation anxiety.  Our weekly supervision meetings had become something of a safe haven for me (and I think for all of us) during the pandemic.  Her warm and smiling face was usually the first one to greet us as we signed onto our Wednesday zooms.  She consistently helped ease our anxieties with her wit and wisdom, rooted in decades of experience.  Charlotte was compassionate, whip smart, and as real as they come.  She was a straight shooter whose no nonsense style helped me better understand my role as a therapist.

We didn’t get to meet on that last day of August, but I feel so fortunate to have gotten to know her this past year and been inspired by her.  Sending love to her family and the SCCC family for this heartbreaking loss.

Leily Labuda

Charlotte was a force and it was my good fortune to experience my sharp-witted, gifted and often hilarious mentor and friend, first when training at the Center (we arrived around the same time) and then when I began as ED 12 years ago.  Charlotte was the first person in my new office, saying “you can do this.” and “we are all here to support you.”  She stopped in almost every week and we talked about many things, especially as the years went by, our grandchildren.  One week, Charlotte stopped by to tell me about her latest trip to San Francisco to see her much beloved granddaughter, saying she had given her new Barbie dolls.  When I expressed surprise, Charlotte said, “it’s what she loves, so you do what you do.” Later on, I had to confess to Charlotte that I had bought the Barbie Dream House for my granddaughter and we laughed so hard we were in tears. In conversation with SCCC alum friends over the past few days, we said we thought Charlotte would just live forever.  She has left us too soon and she leaves a void for all of us, especially her family who she loved so much.

Gail Wilburn

Charlotte was one of a kind.  Her wit, humour, and breadth of involvement in the lives of so many, made her such a force for positive change in the world.  For nearly 4 years I was incredibly fortunate to benefit from her supervision, both in two of her groups, and individually .  I wish I could go back and re-experience the richness of some of those moments again.  And while Charlotte’s systemic and family oriented approach was music to my ears, what impacted me the most was her insistence on the primacy of context, and as a result, her commitment to social justice and Outreach work.

Charlotte had so many favorite therapeutic sayings.  One that comes to mind is “Ask for what you need, listen carefully to the answer, and celebrate the know!”  Another was “You know, there’s a fabulous possibility that they’re not going to change!”  It’s difficult to believe that I’ll never hear her say those words again.  Her passing comes way too soon and the world is much the poorer for it.

Jim Holland

What to even say. I can’t tell you, Charlotte, how often I have your voice in my head while I’m working. You guide so much of what I do in the room and the confidence I have in myself as a therapist. You were always so authentic and funny and honest in that special way that was just the right amount of hard and soft at the same time. I feel so lucky to have ever had the chance to learn from you. You were an incredible supervisor and a truly special human being. You were so smart and so damn good at what you did.

I’ve been saying this all week, but man, what a woman for this world to lose. Thank you for helping me become the therapist I am today. Thank you for giving so much of yourself to us all. Thank you for showing up in the world in exactly the ways that you did.

Zikhronah livrakhah. I know it is for me.

Allison Crooks

Charlotte, thank you for all of your support, guidance, and humor over this past year. I am so grateful to have been a part of your and Laura’s supervision group. When I think of all of the people you helped over your lifetime, I become overwhelmed. And now, every colleague, trainee, and associate you came into contact with has some Charlotte in their therapy bones, so you will continue to have an impact for decades to come. I admire you very much, and hope I approach life the way you did, Charlotte, with humor, pragmatism, and vivacity. I’ll miss you very much. Wishing you, your family, and your loved ones peace.

Jorie Schuetz

I cannot help but think of how my brief exposure to Charlotte strongly influenced my style as a couples therapist. There was something bracing and reassuring in the approach she demonstrated during workshops when I was an intern at SCCC. Her style was so opposite to what I thought would make an effective therapist–she was direct, challenging, even confrontive. But I realized that she did it this way for at least a couple of important reasons: because it worked; and because she cared.

Family and couples therapy is a different monster from individual work. It has to be directive and directed, otherwise the therapist will be run over by the clients. Charlotte clearly let people know who was in charge, but her confidence was more like a weighted blanket than a vice grip, because it was delivered with eyes sparkling and mouth corners upturned. She loved the work, and when you love the work your clients feel loved. It was one of the best lessons I could have received. I decided to share about it because I wanted to show that her impact was felt even if it was brief and indirect.

What is a life well-lived? Who gets to decide? I suspect that it is the people who are left behind, the ones who will be remembering. If these testimonies are any indication, then Charlotte’s life was well-lived indeed, and will continue on in the work of the many students and clients whose lives she not only touched, but influenced and changed. She lived a life of purpose regardless of what else was going on, indicating that she was always clear on what direction she was headed: towards Love.

Tony Davis

Charlotte always made a point to stop by the front desk , say hi, and always a conversation about family, the Center, and health.
I can’t remember when we first met. Maybe, when she started supervising at the Center in 2005 or earlier?  She was one of many
who inspired me to stick around!
I miss you Charlotte!

Richard Dowaliby

Charlotte was a rock, an unusual metaphor to use for someone so gentle. When I referred families to her, I knew she could handle them however difficult the cases could be. I am very sad to lose Charlotte, and all the clients who would have seen her in the future are sad, too.

Terence Ford

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