Rabbi Dr. Samuel B. Press, age 87 of Dayton, passed away April 29. Rabbi Press was born in Middletown, Conn. in 1936 and raised in Springfield, Mass. He graduated from Yeshiva College with honors and received the Talmud Prize. After college, Rabbi Press served in the U.S. Air Force and was the Alaska Command Jewish Chaplain of Alaska serving the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, and Bureau of Indian Affairs. He was also the Chief Rabbi of Alaska. Rabbi Press was the founding rabbi of the Oyster Bay Jewish Center Synagogue in New York. In 1978, Rabbi Press came to Dayton and served nearly 25 years as the senior rabbi at Beth Abraham Synagogue. He began programs with other faith communities and was president of the first joint synagogue programming with classes, and joint services. During his years, he served on numerous Jewish and community committees including several interfaith and interracial committees. He served the Dayton Jewish Community Center, Community Hebrew School, Hillel Academy, Jewish Family Services, and was the founder of the Dayton Synagogue Forum. Rabbi Press was respected as a Jewish scholar, having published several articles. He was published in many magazines and journals, and his writings appeared in the media. Amb. Tony P. Hall stated that during Rabbi Press’s years in Dayton, he made an enormous difference in the lives of the congregants as well as the citizens of Greater Dayton. His service reached far beyond the synagogue, serving as the director of the Dayton Black-White Coalition, was a member of the board of directors of Womanline, Dayton Free Clinic, was a member of the advisory committee at Good Samaritan Hospital, and the ethics committee at Miami Valley Hospital. Rabbi Press is survived by his devoted son, Adam M. Press; his beloved and devoted sister, Dr. Rosalyn Avigad; and countless members of his congregation whose lives he touched in so many profound ways. Interment was at Beth Abraham Cemetery. If desired, memorial contributions may be made to American Friends of Magen David Adom in his memory.

Francine Roberts of Englewood, passed away on May 4, two months shy of her 97th birthday. She was born in the Bronx and grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y. She was a graduate of Brooklyn College. Francine met the love of her life, Irwin, while double dating with her cousin, and they were happily married for over 70 years. Francine was a loving wife, devoted mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend. She was preceded in death by her mother, Betty; her father, Herbie; mother-in-law, Lillian; father-in-law, Arthur; and loving husband, Irwin. She is survived by her loving sons, Lawrence (Sherri) Roberts, Jeffrey (Connie) Roberts, grandchildren Chaim (Jessica) Roberts, Tama Roberts, Shoshana (Michael) Rubin, Benjamin Roberts, and great-grandchildren Aaron Roberts, and Dahlia and Miles Rubin. Francine was an active community volunteer and she loved gardening, oil painting, playing mah jongg, B’nai B’rith bowling, traveling, reading, and lifelong learning with classes from Sinclair Community College. Interment was at Beth Abraham Cemetery. If desired, contributions may be made to the Beth Abraham Ritual Fund or the National Kidney Foundation.

David Saphire, age 80 of Centerville, passed away peacefully on May 5, with family by his side. He was preceded in death by his wife of over 40 years, Sandy Saphire, in 2021; his sister-in-law Pat Saphire; and his parents, Harold and Shirley Saphire. He was surrounded by love from his son and daughter-in-law, Jonathan and Maureen Saphire, his sister and brother-in-law, Marilyn and Carl Weiss, his brother Richard Saphire, sister-in-law Billie Blackmore, and numerous other family members and friends. Born in Cleveland, David spent his childhood in Shaker Heights before moving to Columbus to attend The Ohio State University, where he obtained his undergraduate and Juris Doctor degrees. Before practicing law, David had many interesting jobs such as selling hot dogs at Indians games, driving a taxi in Columbus, and serving as a captain in the Army. David eventually moved to Dayton where he spent the majority of his life as an attorney for E.S. Gallon & Associates. Dayton was also where he met the love of his life, Sandy. They built a house in Centerville and shared many memorable adventures in their over 40 years together. David’s life was led by his strong desire to help others in need. He took a personal interest in each client he worked for, and treated them as if they were family. In his free time, he enjoyed watching sports, most especially Reds baseball and Buckeye football, or any game which his son Jonathan was officiating. David was a hero to more people than he was likely aware. His impact on others will continue to reverberate in the world. Interment was at Riverview Cemetery. May David and Sandy’s memory be a blessing.

To read the complete June 2024 Dayton Jewish Observer, click here.

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