Writer whose words gave hope loses

Cherie Blair leads tributes to 44-year-old JC colum­nist

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY DANA GLOGER

CHERIE BLAIR has led tributes to jour­nal­ist Dina Rabi­novitch, who lost her fight with can­cer on Tues­day morn­ing.

Ms Rabi­novitch, 44, a JC and Guardian colum­nist, was di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer in 2004 and wrote ex­ten­sively about liv­ing with the ill­ness.

Mrs Blair was an avid reader of her fort­nightly Guardian col­umn, and phoned her on many oc­ca­sions to tell her how much she ad­mired her work.

Speak­ing to the JC on the day of Ms Rabi­novitch’s death, Mrs Blair said: “It is heart­break­ing.

“She was a won­der­ful wo­man who has been a huge in­spi­ra­tion and has helped many other women.”

Mrs Blair, a pa­tron of Breast Can­cer Care, added: “Of­ten when you read about breast can­cer it’s about a brave strug­gle and a bat­tle.

“But Dina Rabi­novitch wrote about liv­ing day-to-day with can­cer, about things such as your hair fall­ing out and hav­ing weep­ing breasts.

“For women go­ing through the same thing, it’s very help­ful to have some­one ac­knowl­edge th­ese things in­stead of pre­tend­ing it’s a valiant bat­tle.”

It was her “sear­ing hon­esty” that touched other women.

Mrs Blair added that, as a re­li­gious wo­man, she had felt an affin­ity with Ms Rabi­novitch. Ex­tend­ing her sym­pa­thies to the fam­ily, she “wished them all a long life”.

Other tributes poured in from friends and col­leagues, and on her blog, and hun­dreds of peo­ple at­tended the funeral at Bushey ceme­tery in Hert­ford­shire on Tues­day.

Her close friend Elena Schiff re­mem­bered her as “a won­der­ful, ded­i­cated mother and friend and an in­spi­ra­tion, es­pe­cially in the way she dealt with her ill­ness and made life carry on nor­mally for her fam­ily.

“She went to pick her son up from school ev­ery day, even if she had to go in a wheel­chair.”

She re­called that her friend had been “cour a g e o us a nd p e r k y to the end” and said her col­umns and her blog, on which she also wrote about her ill­ness, had helped many who “would wait daily for her en­cour­age­ment”.

Guardian col­league and JC colum­nist Jonathan Freed­land said it had been im­por­tant to her to con­tinue work­ing as a jour­nal­ist.

“She didn’t want to just be Dina with an ill­ness,” he said.

“She was a highly es­teemed jour­nal­ist. I was very struck by that.

“And she was very good at it. Her col­umn struck a chord with read­ers and re­ceived a huge re­sponse.

“She will be sorely missed at the Guardian and by her read­ers.”

PHOTO: DAVID LEVENE 2007

Dina Rabi­novitch: It was her “sear­ing hon­esty” that touched other women, said Cherie Blair

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