HomeMarch 2013Managing Sorrow

Managing Sorrow

In past articles on investing in Israel, I have written about Israeli based stocks like Caesarstone (CSTE), Sodastream (SODA), Perrigo (PRGO), Magicjack (CALL) and the Israel Exchange Traded Fund (EIS).

This month, I want to take a little bit different approach in my column on investing.  For whatever reasons, it seems that I have had a larger than normal number of clients passing away within the last year.  This sad occurrence finally hit home recently when my wife’s mother passed away suddenly.

As a family, we have gone through a wide range of emotions ranging from shock, to not knowing what to do, to grief. Even though we all know that death is inevitable, it still does not make it any easier when our loved ones are called home.

As a professional manager, I would give the following advice on how to be better prepared for that inevitable day.  Even though this is a very sensitive issue that most people do not like to discuss, if some basics are in place, it will help to make a very tumultuous time much easier to bear.


Make sure to have a last will and testament in place (or a trust) and know where it is located.  It does not matter how big or small the estate; it will make life a lot easier for all involved.


Make sure that the will and the listing of all beneficiaries is current. We were blindsided when we found out that my wife’s power-of-attorney document for her mother had a lifespan that had expired.


Make sure that sensitive medical decisions have been made in advance.  It will make difficult decisions a lot easier on all.


Make sure that there is list of ALL assets and debts, along with their accompanying statements somewhere, and that someone in the family knows where it is.


Make sure that the family knows about any burial and funeral wishes.  If any pre-plans have been made, make sure that the information is readily available.  Funerals can be very expensive if little planning has been done in advance.


Don’t be afraid to discuss these sensitive issues as a family beforehand, so that there are no big surprises or questions left when that day arrives.  Someone in the family should be designated to lead the rest of the family through this trying time.

Somehow as a family, I think that God has been preparing us for something that still caught us totally by surprise.  We recently had a wonderful holiday season with Grandma.  Grandma grew up in the mountains of Lebanon, and for some reason we were prompted to ask her details about her life and write them down.

We were able to glean enough information from her to someday plan a trip back to Lebanon and the Holy Land, which she loved.  We found out that her heritage was intertwined with that of Israel for centuries, and we look forward to researching it.

I feel that is very important for us to know about our heritage and how rich it can be.  There are many who went before us who made it possible for the blessings in life that we enjoy today.  As a family, we are going to embark on a journey of tracing Grandma’s ancestors.  Who knows: maybe they were there to help Solomon build the first Temple from the Cedars of Lebanon.


SodaStream is a target of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, because it has a large factory in Ma’ale Adumin, a West Bank settlement.  Yet the company, which makes a kitchen gadget that turns tap water into carbonated drinks, employs 500 West Bank Palestinians and 400 Palestinians from East Jerusalem at the plant.  Moreover, the facility has an onsite mosque and a synagogue and a shared dining hall.  People work together side-by-side, as they do in another company plant in Mount Tabor in the Galilee, which employs about 200 Palestinians.  SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum said that his company practices equality to all on and off the job.

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