Loss Within Our Community – Celebrating the Life of Haviva (Vivi) Kraft

I remember taking a bath one night and bursting out in tears. I became aware of the many people I am privileged to know, and the number of deaths I will be a part of. I cried from the depth of my being. Yesterday was one of those days. I, we, the Nia community, a family and the world lost Haviva (Vivi) Kraft. Sudden death came too early, and as always, there are no words to soften the blow and the loss her family will feel: her sister Varda, her mother Naomi, her Aunt Carmella, her sons Oron and Lyor, her Uncle Yigal and niece Molly, and the many more family members who we do not personally know who were touched by her life. While I could not be there at 11:00 for her service, my heart could. My spirit could. At 11:00 I sat and reached long into the universe with my soul strings touching the veil of separation, my hand on the door that opens and welcomes us into the next level of destiny called death. I imagined seeing Vivi on the other side of the door, pausing, turning back to look at me, us both saying our silent good by, staring into eyes. I loved Vivi’s eyes and her passionate smile. I will miss her. Nia will miss her. Her community of students, her studio will miss her.

Denise Medved said: when I think of Vivi I think of her amazing joy for life, her love of dance....her deep beauty and generosity, her cooking to feed all she loved...her laugh that rang with the true essence of l' chaim we just danced in the kitchen as we prepared Passover, her heart was overflowing with happiness it seemed, pray for her family, she just told me only days ago how she couldn't wait to be a grandmother. Caroline Kohles said: Vivi was so vibrant and full of passion. She loved to dance and she loved Nia. She was a powerhouse at organization and opened up the very first Nia Studio in New York City. She knew from the moment that she started dancing Nia that she was going to build a community and share the joy of movement with others. When she taught she lit up inside. Her smile was infectious and she could get you to try any movement by just saying, "Don't worry about it. Just dance." I will miss her energy, her feistiness and her sparkle. May you tickle the clouds of heaven Vivi and may your spirit dance on forever. Joanne Edgar said: Vivi’s love of Nia was contagious. When she taught, her spirit soared. She was so funny and so loyal to Nia. She was thrilled to open a brand new studio in Great Neck -- the Nia Joy and Yoga Dance center -- the first in New York. Nia lovers in Queens finally had a place to dance. I will miss her smile and her ebullience. I hope she is at peace.

As a tribute to Vivi’s beautiful life, Denise Medved has suggested we dance in her honor on Vivi’s birthday, May 15, even if we dance in our living room to celebrate what she brought as only Vivi could.