In loving remembrance of Judy Fettman

Judy Tirza Channa Fettman Dreyfuss

January 8th, 1970- June 6th, 2020

Arlis Albritton famously sang, “We all fall down / It’s the getting’ back up that really counts / We live and we learn / To help someone up when it’s their turn.” Judith Fettman, or Judy Chamudi as we called her at the Dysautonomia Center, was no stranger to falling- but with every fall she rose up again. And with her, she helped all of us rise stronger. Judy was one of the first patients at the Dysautonomia Center and through her resilience, dedication, and desire to share her experiences with Familial Dysautonomia (FD), the world was able to learn more about FD.

Although living with FD was one aspect of her life, she did not let her disorder define her. Judy showed us that strength is found in one who keeps on going, day after day, when others have given up. She enjoyed gymnastics (pictured here) and exercising. Judy gently entered the hearts of everyone around her throughout her life with her quick wit, humor, style, and smile.

Judy and her husband, Marc Dreyfuss met and fell in love at the JCC and were a source of inspiration to FD families everywhere.  Dr. Horacio Kaufmann describes Judy’s beautiful ceremony as “a fairytale wedding”. He recalls, “Judy lived a full and beautiful life – a life that all of us aspire to have.” She was an active member of the JCC, a daughter, a devoted friend, a loving sister, and a beloved aunt to 6 nieces and nephews, and their children. She studied at the University of Haifa her freshman year and graduated from Hunter College. She traveled to Italy, France and Israel, California, and around the East Coast. She loved passionately and cared for her family deeply.

Growing up with FD, Judy had many needs that we sometimes take for granted. However, unsurprisingly, Judy lived a life of giving. Overcoming her own necessities, she saw the needs of others around her and put them above her own. She was quick to remind others to “carve fun out in their day,” and would end every conversation with “have fun!”

Judy’s final act was to selflessly give the gift of life through organ donation. While we mourn her passing, we celebrate the generous and vivacious life she lived and the lessons she gave us. Her memories will always bring us joy and fun, just as her life did. She will forever live in our hearts.