“There are stars in the sky whose radiance continues to light the way even when the stars are extinct,” said Rabbi Dennis Linson in eulogizing Nathan (Nat) Applebaum, 88, who passed away on May 1. “He will be missed as a patriarch, mentor and friend who was proud to be Jewish and proud of his Judaism.”
One lasting symbol of Applebaum’s love for the Jewish community is the menorah he built and installed in Temple Judea’s parking lot. A mensch in every sense of the word, he provided his infectious energy and friendship to everyone he met. He loved to cook and play cards.
A New Jersey native and the youngest of six children of Jacob and Hanna Applebaum, Nat Applebaum enlisted in the US Army after graduating from high school. During combat action in Germany, he sustained serious wounds and was awarded the Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.
Applebaum married Elinor Weitzner in 1948 and had two children. After attending Pratt Institute, he worked in architecture and housing development in New Jersey for 35 years. When Elinor succumbed to breast cancer, Applebaum moved to California to join his children.
Applebaum was involved in B’nai B’rith, Heritage Pointe Foundation, Jewish Federation & Family Services, ARMDI, Jewish War Veterans, Knights of Pythias and the Temple Judea Brotherhood. A founding member of the Jewish Community Center of Orange County, he received many awards including the JCC’s “Man of the Year.”
He is survived by his daughter Gayle Jacobson, son Dr. Jay Applebaum, daughter-in-law Terry, and granddaughters Elysse, Dana and Nicole Applebaum. His companion of twenty-four years, Lillian Firestone, passed away in November 2012.
Memorial services were at Riverside National Cemetery and Temple Judea. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Jewish Federation & Family Services, One Federation Way, Suite #210, Irvine, CA 92603.