Bella J. Schiffman

DATELINE: Providence

Schiffman, Bella J., 98, died on November 25, 2020, in Providence, RI.  She was the beloved wife of the late Harry Schiffman. Born in Opatów Poland, a daughter of the late Harry and Feigah Factor, she immigrated to the US at age nine. Bella had lived in Providence for over 10 years, previously residing in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island, NY.

When Harry met Bella….. at the Educational Alliance on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, she was a charming teenager and talented modern dancer, taught by a student of Martha Graham. She was also a track star at Seward Park High School. They were married in 1941.  Bella worked as a dental hygienist and then accompanied Harry throughout the country during his military training. She and Harry loved and respected teaching and learning. Bella became a gifted teacher and mentor of children of all ages, especially in nursery and Sunday schools.  For many decades, she was an exceptional leader and advisor of girls in summer camps, throughout the Catskills and New England. An extraordinary entertainer with her beloved Harry, they harmonized in song and life, enchanting generations of summer campers and staff at Camp Laurelwood in Madison, Connecticut. Bella was a dedicated member of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in Staten Island, and a former president of its Sisterhood.

Devoted mother of Dr. Fred J. Schiffman of Westport, Massachusetts, and Dr. Robert L. Schiffman of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Treasured mother-in-law of Gerri and Paula (of blessed memory). Dear sister of the late Gilda Lasky, Alta, Ida, Ruchel, and eight other sisters who perished in pogroms or the Holocaust. Bella was the adoring and adored grandmother of Joshua (Maureen), Jessica (David), Jacob, Judd (Athena), Becky (Cliff), and Allie (Jon). Cherished and loving great-grandmother of Noah, Benjamin, Lillian, Evan, Gabby, Henry, Jackson, Sydney, Maddie, and Frances.  Her love and generosity knew no bounds.

Funeral services and Shiva will be private. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to HopeHealth Hospice, 1085 North Main St., Providence, RI 02904 or at www.HopeHealthCo.Org/Donate. or The Miriam Hospital/ Lifespan Cancer Institute,

Please select the link below to view the recording of the graveside service:

Click Here


  1. The Stones
    Nov 26, 2020

    We both wish an aliya for her neshama. May you and family have comfort!

  2. Paula Rosoff
    Nov 27, 2020

    Sending my deepest sympathies to the whole Schiffman family. Aunt Bella was such a sweet and caring person. May her memory be for blessings.

    • Fred Schiffman
      Dec 22, 2020

      Thank you for your beautiful words, Paula

  3. Richard Besdine
    Nov 27, 2020

    What a lovely and loving obituary. I regret not having gotten to know Fred’s mother better. No wonder he is such a mensch. With deepest sympathy, Richard

    • Richard Besdine
      Nov 29, 2020

      Richard. How very beautiful. Thank you. We will reschedule our talk this week. Lynn McNicholl was a superb caregiver all along the way.
      Thank you for bringing her and keeping her.

  4. E. Mylonakis
    Nov 29, 2020

    Heartfelt condolences. May her memory and spirit that was full of love and perseverance give you strength and guide all.

    • Fred Schiffman
      Dec 22, 2020

      Lefteris–Thank you for your thoughtful and beautiful comments.
      Fred and Robert

  5. Jan Moidel Schwartz
    Nov 29, 2020

    From 1967-71, I was a camper at Camp Laurelwood, which my mother had attended in the late 1930s. I was a shy kid, and Belle was a warm and supportive presence during those summers. Her Jewish songs kept me feeling close to my immigrant father. To this day, I can hear her voice singing Ba Mir Bis Tu Schoen. She lived a long meaningful life and I thank her family for sharing her with CLW. May her memory inspire good deeds and lots of singing,.

  6. George Merriam
    Nov 29, 2020

    Fred and Bobby, I will always cherish the memories of both of your folks and the pleasure that their friendship gave to my mom and dad. They truly were very special people.

  7. Ed Oppenheimer
    Nov 30, 2020

    Bobby and Freddy
    Your folks were the heart and soul of camp for me as a kid. Loved your mom. She was the warmest person there. I can flashback to her wonderful singing and dancing with Harry. A blessing for me to have known her. My heartfelt sympathy to you both.
    Ed Oppenheimer

  8. Sandra Elias
    Nov 30, 2020

    Jack and I loved reading about your mom. We had no idea what an exceptional life she led for 98 years! She sounds like an amazing woman, dear wife and devoted mother. We are sorry we can’t be with you this week for shiva but please know we are thinking of you with love.

  9. Dannielle Kennedy
    Dec 2, 2020

    Dear Fred, Robert, Gerri and kids,
    Only a dedicated and loving mother could have left behind such a family of caring, fun-loving, hard-working children and grandchildren. What a legacy. I often noticed what good and steadfast care you took of her and with her and could often feel the love and dedication you had for her. Sending warm condolences. I am sorry for your loss.

    • Dannie
      Dec 4, 2020

      We love you Dannie. Thx

  10. Steve Caplow
    Dec 2, 2020

    Belle and Harry were the heart and soul of Laurelwood during my time at camp. I can still hear their rendition of “Bei Mir Bistu Shein” and it seemed like that song was written just for them. My sincerest condolences to your family.

  11. Dan Smolen
    Dec 2, 2020

    On behalf of Camp Laurelwood alumni through the 1970s, I offer deepest sympathies to Fred, Robert, and their families. As I wrote in the pages of the Camp Laurelwood Alumni Coffee Table Book: “[Belle] was the sweet, affectionate, and adoring Camp Mother; a woman with a lilt in her voice who belted out ‘Being Mir Best du Shöen’ better than any of the Andrews Sisters. Belle turned homesick kids into happy campers. She listened more than she spoke. She always offered a reassuring hug or a gentle caress. Often, she smoothed out the ‘Peter Pan’ collars on the girls’ official [Shabbat] blouses.” We are forever grateful for Harry and Belle’s long and loving contribution to Camp Laurelwood. May their memories be for a blessing.

  12. William Feldman
    Dec 3, 2020

    Dear Dr. Fred Schiffman,
    My sincerest condolences to you and your family. May your mom rest in peace.
    Bill Feldman

  13. Marie Langlois
    Dec 7, 2020

    Dear Fred,
    John and I were so sorry to learn of your Family’s loss of your Mother. What a wonderful life she had.
    You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Marie and John

  14. George Panas
    Dec 9, 2020

    Dear Fred
    So sorry for your loss.Your mom sounded like an amazing woman
    May she Rest In Peace. We are praying for you and your family
    George Panas

    • Fred Schiffman
      Dec 22, 2020

      George— Thank you for your beautiful and thoughtful words. Bella was an amazing woman .

  15. Indu Voruganti
    Apr 15, 2021

    My deepest sympathies, Dr. Schiffman. Mrs. Schiffman was an incredible woman. I am lucky to have met her during my time in Rhode Island, and to have learned from her wisdom and kindness. May she Rest In Peace. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Leave a Condolence

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *