Students from Bushey’s Immanuel College attended an emotional funeral for classmate Naomi Felder, 18, who died last week after a long illness.
Family members and friends shared memories and photos of the teenager, who previously attended Kerem Primary, on a Facebook page joined by more than 1,500 people. Naomi was also an active Bnei Akiva member who had been on its Israel tour and led a UK camp for 13-year-olds. Teenagers on this year’s BA tour planted 38 trees in the Lavi Forest, Galilee, “in loving memory of Naomi”.
Among those paying tribute to Naomi on Facebook was Ruthie Narunsky, who tutored her over the past year. She praised her “great strength of character. She was determined to continue studying, even in the face of her illness. Her commitment to her work was unfaltering.
“I sat with her for many hours and although I could sometimes see she was in pain, she never once mentioned it or left early. I used to set Naomi work and tell her that she should complete it only if she was feeling up to it. Without fail, I would receive an essay of outstanding quality the next day via email.
“Naomi was a teacher to me. She taught me about strength, determination, positivity and perseverance in the face of great adversity.”
Ed Hanassab said she was “always smiling from Kerem School to Immanuel College. Our prayers go out to the Felder family. A terrible loss but the entire community is
Judith Graham, Immanuel's director of sixth form, discribed Naomi "as a lovely girl who was always kind and thoughtful, with a wonderful smile and a gentle manner. She attended Immanuel College from Year 7 to the beginning of Year 13 when, much to our regret, she left, owing to the circumstances of her illness.
"Naomi was a bright, hard working student who was noted for her generosity and kindness to others. She was particularly good with younger pupils and was made a prefect in recognition of her strong personal qualities. Naomi loved sport and excelled in athletics, especially running. She was a regular winner on sports days in individual events and in leading her house team to victory, but she was also very modest about her talents and was happier to be cheering on others than to be in the limelight herself.
Naomi was a very dedicated A Level student who was planning to take a degree in Business Studies at the Cass Business school, City University. She never wavered in her determination to succeed in her ambitions, despite the setbacks which she encountered. She was highly respected and admired by her teachers and fellow students; we are all very shocked and saddened by her death. The community of Immanuel College remembers her with much
affection but it is among the students in her year group who are about to embark upon gap years and university life and who were hoping to share their new experiences with her, that the pain of losing her is particularly acute. Our thoughts and prayers are with Naomi's wonderful parents and with her older sister, Miriam, who was also a pupil at Immanuel."