My Role Model

Daniella was my mother’s student for three years at YULA. They were very close especially after Daniella graduated. Daniella would call and come by often.

But my relationship with Daniella began when I was 10 years old, the summer of 2009, when she came over to help my mother with my brother’s Bar mitzvah invitations (as she always did chessed).  We started shmoozing and I decided that I really liked her. She was lively, fun,understanding and caring. She told me she would take me out to coffee bean so we could have another talk.  We went out, and I couldn’t help but share all my thoughts, feelings and worries. I felt like she was my new big sister and best friend! She made it seem like I had an equal amount to offer in our “friendship”. She took me to her parents house so I could “help her” make dinner.  She took me for walks and talks which were an important part of my “tween” years. I loved when she would come with Noam on Shabbos afternoon. There was always a special feeling in the room when they were there together.

I love her and miss her very much. I don’t know how I will go on. I’m 14 and my life is changed forever. I keep a picture of her in my desk at school.  My life is not complete without her here and will never ever be.

Shayna Yaffa Abady

A true neshama

I met Daniella about a year ago when I moved into the same apartment building as her, immediately  she came up to me and introduced herself i was like wow she’s so friendly..and i wish i can say from there we became best friends..we didn’t. There was just too little time. Daniella always had a huge smile on her face i just wish i can take a step back and made the time to get closer to her. This past sukot i think it was, i needed to light for chag and didn’t have a candle so i went to to borrow one she was so kind and gave me one. But the next night of chag 2 minutes before lighting i hear a knock at my door and its Daniella checking to see if i needed a light.

Daniella was so true and so genuine always so ready to help anyone,  she was someone that i want to be now. In her honor i will try and be as genuine and kind as her and be ready so quickly to help a friend or stranger in need without thinking twice and i pray to hashem that this will make her neshama reach the highest of highest levels and she should beg hashem for moshiach now. i cant beleive such an angel is gone . She was so special her neshama needed to be so close to hashem. I miss you daniella

A smile I will never forget

I met Daniella at Sharei Tefilah about five years ago after I had just moved to Los Angeles. I was so shy and never spoke to anyone when I would go to shul on Shabbos. The first Shabbos I saw Daniella, she came right up to me and introduced herself and invited me to sit with her and her friends. She introduced me to other girls at the shul and even asked what I was doing for lunch. She made me feel so welcomed. As time went on, she always remembered my name and pretty much anything I ever told her about myself. Her smile always made me feel happy and comfortable, like I belonged although I was still new to the community. She was  a very special woman, one of a kind. I will never forget her kindness.

Always with a Smile

It’s still a shock that Daniella is no longer here, and the truth is I can’t understand why she had to go so soon. I suppose if she were still here, and I had the chance to ask her why someone like her leaves the world so early, leaves a beloved family, she would find a way to impart to me with some of her unwavering emunah.

We were at YULA together, and many of my memories of her are of a bright, happy, cheerful girl who was constantly alight, and so sincerely committed to Judaism that her love of Torah and Hashem was evident in everything aspect of her life. I remember we did a project together in Freshmen English, and she offered her house for us to film it. Of the group of four of us, she was the positive one, the one who made us laugh, who kept the peace, smoothed things over when issues came up. When we were in high school I saw her at NCSY shabbatons consistently, singing, talking to anyone and everyone, making people feel welcomed, and always, always with a smile on her face. Recently I saw her on a shabbaton again, both of us as advisors, and she with her husband and baby. I remember how she greeted me with a smile, seemed genuinely happy to see me and catch up with me even though we were never very close, and also that I left her with a smile on my face. I suppose now we can only hope that our memory of her buoyant emunah will help us get through this challenging time. You will be missed, Daniella.

-Channah Barkhordari

Committed

I am good friends with Daniella’s sister Rachel. Any story I ever heard about Daniella rang of commitment to yiddishkeit.

I remember Rachel mentioning to me that Daniella had gone to shul on Yom Kippur, just a few weeks after giving birth to Gavriel. I was in awe and felt a tremendous amount of respect for her, especially since I stayed home with my kids!

Daniella has been a powerful source of inspiration to me over the past few days.

She has inspired me to work on my relationship with others and on my connection to Hashem. Any mitzvah I do is in her zechus. Thank you Daniella.

Yoga

I remember doing yoga with Daniella with our sons who are about a week apart. She was such a sweet, caring person and loved her son so much. I also remember walking to Coffee Bean one day with my son, Jack and on the way back she saw me and was walking with her son, Gavriel. She said, “where do you live?” and I responded on Sherbourne and she said “let me walk you home…”

A very special honeymoon

When my husband and I got married, we decided to take our honeymoon to Hawaii, but do a stopover in L.A so we could spend shabbos there. Having never been there before, I was excited to do all the touristy Los Angelos things like the Grove, Jeff’s sausages, and Malibu. As soon as we got off the plane and checked into our hotel, my husband and I headed to the famed Grove to relax and walk around. Apparently, while there, Daniella spotted me and ran over to say hi. She heard I was eating by her friend’s house for shabbos lunch and she wanted me to know that she was going to make an effort to be there and that she felt so bad for missing my wedding because of Stern finals.  She just seemed so happy to see me. We weren’t technically close, but she just made you feel that at that moment, you were her best friend. She sat with me, talking for about ten to fifteen minutes until I got around to asking what brought her to the Grove. She said she was on her way to get her hair and makeup done for a wedding she was attending that night. I asked, “aren’t you in a rush?” and she said with her radiant smile, “only a little, but I wanted to chat with you first because you just got off a plane!” To me, this small little story shows how she truly valued everyone over herself. She was willing to put aside a few minutes of her own precious time to make sure I felt welcome. Daniella was always someone who went above and beyond others, a trait that always inspired me and continues to do so till today.

 

no words.

Daniella Lee- Casper. She has a beautiful 5 month old son and a tzadik of a husband. She herself was a true tzadekes. I am honored to have known her.

I was her RA in Stern and we shared the rooms adjoining a bathroom. I remember hearing shiurim on loudspeaker from her room. I remember the day she picked out her wedding dress and she said that it just felt “right.” I remember when she met Noam on a shabbaton she came back and just “knew” he was the one. That was Daniella, she knew who she was, what she wanted, what was right, and she was never afraid to just be herself. She was a leader who lead by example, with the power of goodness. She didn’t have to stand up in front of a crowd to create a ripple effect of positivity wherever she went.  

We reconnected later in LA, and she soon became a vibrant part of the community. She came to the valley for shabbas to my house, and she was about 7 months pregnant, calm, cool and collected. She had an inherent trust in Hashem and internalized the motto “Ivdu es Hashem b’Simcha/Serve Hashem with Happiness.”   Though we didn’t see each other often, she was an extremely powerful force in my life and the lives of many, many others.

   Perhaps what has always amazed me the most about Daniella is that she never judged or analyzed any person or action. She just is. Was. And she was incredible.

Words here feel almost harsh and fleeting, like sharp crumpled leaves in the wind hitting your face in the wind. How can this reparative process of words even try to rebuild who she was and the trauma and loss that the family is going through. It can’t, but we can try, and only hope that one day her son will read through our praise, our grief, our tears and our love, and see his mother.
Annie Statman

A wonderful person

I always felt happier after being around Daniella; always uplifted. She had such a wonderful, loving, giving, non-judgmental aura about her; she was interested in everything; she made everyone feel special. These are traits that are simple to write down on paper, but very, very hard to do in practice, yet Daniella made it all seem natural. This is who she was, through and through — she was funny, she was smart, she was sweet, she was genuine, she was caring, she was — and is — an inspiration. May Hashem comfort us all in this time of tremendous loss.

–Meira Feinman

Daniella Lee-Casper

My sister, Adeena Kempe-Halberstam, and Rachel Lee, Daniella’s sister, have been best friends for the past fourteen years. Because our families were close, our mothers scheduled a time to meet up and have dinner at Los Angeles’s local pizza shop, Pizza World. This was the first time I met Daniella Lee-Casper. I was only thirteen years old and just started to think about the next big chapter in my life, high school. Without any hesitation and with a bright smile, Daniella was happy to inform me on the ins and outs of a high school student at YULA whether it was the latest fashion on how to wear your uniform to which teachers were the most interesting to learn from. Aside from high school matters, we also talked about life in general, our big sisters being best friends, and cracked a few jokes as well.

 

Daniella also brought a friend along with her to Pizza World who just moved into our town and just so happened to enroll in YULA too. Daniella took it upon herself to introduce her to this new environment so she would feel as comfortable as anyone else who lived in LA would. Pizza World, one of L.A.’s #1 Kosher pizza shops, is definitely a hot spot for the LA Jewish community. We slowly drifted away from our mothers and sat at a separate booth so us “girls” could all get to know each other. We all had a great time laughing and talking about life. Daniella had such a warm personality that no one would ever feel isolated around her. The calming angelic pitch in her voice sounded as though everything in anyone’s life was going to be okay. I felt as if I can talk to her about anything that was on my mind and she would figure out a way to lessen my worries. Towards the end of the meal, the one thing that resonated within me at such a young age was how mature and astonishing Daniella truly was.

 

I finally made my way to YULA Girls High School. I reunited with Daniella and saw the same Pizza World smile every morning at davening making sure I was comfortable and included. Daniella graduated from YULA, went on to seminary, got married to Noam Casper, moved to the same block as me, and had a beautiful baby boy, Gavriel. Although Daniella and I were not so close, I saw Daniella often walking her Gavriel up and down the block. Again, Daniella would always stop and greet me with her naturally glowing demeanor. I learned a lot from Daniella over the course I have known her. She taught me that it doesn’t matter who you are, or where you’re from, or what you look like, always greet everyone with a smile, and never be quick to judge anyone. Make sure to include everyone, and genuinely care about the people around you. I will continue to live in her memory by incorporating her lifestyle into mine as well. Daniella, you will never be forgotten.