DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. -- Through tears, hugging and laughter, Ellen Brody's three daughters, husband, brother, mother, uncle, rabbi and closest friends shared countless happy memories of their lives together Friday.
Brody, 49, was killed Tuesday when her Mercedes SUV was struck by a Metro-North train at a Valhalla railroad crossing, triggering a fire that killed five commuters.
During funeral services at Chabad of the Rivertowns, the Chappaqua jeweler from Edgemont was described as a consummate networker, matchmaker, social worker and storyteller.
Rabbi Benjy Silverman said that Brody died on the 15th day of Tu B’Shvat, a Jewish winter holiday gaining popularity in recent years as the “New Year of Trees”
Like a tree, Silverman said Brody bore fruit -- her three vibrant daughters -- shade and oxygen.
Her primary function was to share, and by all accounts she did it well.
"This tree gives so much more than it takes,'' Silverman said. "Her smile, her energy, her positivity was our breath of fresh air."
Her husband, Alan, called Ellen Schaeffer Brody "the light of our lives. . . She made our kids great and they loved her and they still love her."
Alan Brody said the couple would dance together anytime they heard their wedding song, "Ribbon in the Sky."
"She would stand on my feet,'' her husband said. "On our way out today we will play that song,'' he said of the drive to her burial in Queens.
Before they spoke, Brody's three daughters huddled in a group hug onstage. More than 500 mourners jammed two floors of the synagogue.
Danielle, the oldest daughter, said she loved when her mother hung out with her and her friends. "She was our biggest cheerleader and support system."
When Danielle recently landed her first job at a weekly business newspaper, the whole family jumped up and down in a group hug. "Even Cody, our dog, started jumping,'' she said. "We take great solace that many of you feel this great loss as well. We believe she's still with us."
Alexa, a 16-year-old junior at Edgemont High School, called Ellen Brody "my best friend. I will always remember our heart-to-hearts. . . I'm still going to talk to you every night. I still can't believe you're gone I love you with all of my heart, Mommy."
Julia, the middle child now in college, said, "I knew what charisma meant. That's my mom."
When Julia heard the terrible train wreck news, "I didn't know how I could possibly go on. She so babied me, and I loved it. She will always be my Mommy."
Julia's friends thought their home was so fun to hang out at, it could be a reality TV set for "The Brody Bunch."
Everyone loved hearing Ellen Brody stories, "so please share the stories,'' Julia said.
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