There are more than a thousand Jewish families in West Hempstead, and among those known in all its shuls are Ann & Mark Koffsky and their three children. This past week, they offered comfort and mourned together with them following the tragic death of their daughter Adira, 18, in Jerusalem last Wednesday. She was killed when a 76-year-old driver lost control of her car, which then rolled towards Koffsky, killing her, a passenger in the car, and injuring the driver.
“I never had the opportunity to daven for Adira to be healed,” her mother said at the funeral, which took place at the Young Israel of West Hempstead. “Thank you everyone who has told a sliver of Adira’s story of who she was to us.”
Her father said that their youngest child and only girl, Adira, was very different from their boys Aaron and Jeremy. “Her sense of self, her voice, her moxie, meant that she would not take my word for something. It had to satisfy her worldview, her sense of justice and acceptance.”
“She’s quiet and she speaks when something is important,” he added. “She was a fierce defender of what she believed was right and was wise beyond her years.” He spoke of her diverse interests, fantasy books, sports games, and late-night discussions of challenging topics.
“It’s no secret that she was a mix of great strengths and stubborn weaknesses,” wrote Rabbi Matt Schneeweiss, who taught Adira at Midreshet Shalhevet. “She was incredibly passionate about truth and was a real independent thinker; but at the same time, it was incredibly difficult to convince her to invest energy in something she didn’t care about. One of the themes in the eulogies at her funeral was that when she was interested in something, she was really interested, but the difficulty was getting her interested.”
Prior to West Hempstead, the Koffsky family lived in Washington, and then Passaic. Ann Koffsky described her Long Island home as diverse, in regard to its Jewish community. Over the years, she developed her career as an artist and author of Jewish children’s books. She said that although Adira was not an artist, she was creative in other ways, such as her writings and thoughts.
Adira attended HANC, followed by Midreshet Shalhevet and the Yeshiva University High School for Girls. “We remember Adira as a bright, kind, warm, and intelligent young lady,” HANC wrote in a statement. “Adira brought sunshine into every room she entered. She was always the one to volunteer and offer help to all and everyone.”
She chose Amudim, her seminary in Israel, after hearing a presentation from its director. “Stern College had an Israel night. Julie Goldstein from Amudim spoke,” said Mark Koffsky. “‘We teach the history of dress and how dress impacts what we do, how we think, and the culture of dresses.’ It was very deep. She gave a big smile and was hooked.”
He added that many seminaries focus on tz’nius, but Amudim’s approach to this topic piqued Adira’s interest.
“Our Adira was an internally focused person. She had so many thoughts about herself, the world as it is, and the world as it ought to be,” Goldstein wrote in her eulogy. “Even her love of fantasy fiction was, in truth, a reflection of her connection to the world as she (along with her best friend at Amudim) expressed it to me – the world of fantasy as an extreme version of the world as it is.”
While learning at the seminary, Adira Koffsky interned at the Jerusalem English Theater (JET) Community, assisting in the production of plays. “Adira, along with her fellow interns, has helped Raise Your Spirits, Mikvah The Musical, Beit Hillel Theater Workshop, Starcatcher, and so many more of our community,” the JET Community wrote in a statement. “She was so sweet and helpful. One of her projects was working on our JET Community archive to keep recording the history of our special theater community.”
Adira’s thoughts live on in her writings, which Goldstein shared in her hesped, which she posted online.
“My pen is my siddur, and my stories are my davening,” she wrote. “My thanks for this gift, this ability to show the world what I see and feel. None of it mentions You by name, but it doesn’t have to. You’re already there, pen on paper, texts on scraps. It’s a manifestation of the creativity of mankind, the mankind that I am a part of, the mankind that You created.”
The Queens Jewish Link extends condolences to Ann and Mark Koffsky, their sons Aaron and Jeremy, and their extended family on the passing of Adira.
By Sergey Kadinsky