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Simply Amazing, Annette

Maggie Conti
Director of Activities and Volunteer Services
Rose Blumkin Jewish Home

April 22, 2023

Annette Fettman has been a Resident of the Rose Blumkin Jewish Home (RBJH) for eleven years, and at 97, she is not slowing down on her quest to learn and grow. Annette was recently honored in the University of Wisconsin Alumni magazine, stating Annette Sherman Fettman ’47 has been nicknamed the artist in residence of the Rose Blumkin Jewish Home in Omaha, Nebraska. Fettman’s prolific body of work spans nearly eight decades and encompasses a variety of media, including terra cotta and bronze sculpture. Her work reflects her experiences as a cantor’s wife, as well as her husband’s experience surviving Auschwitz. Fettman has been featured in several shows and public art projects in the Omaha area (on Alumni Class Notes, Spring 2023). Even before becoming a Resident of RBJH, she was no stranger to the Jewish Federation of Omaha campus. Her mother was a Resident of RBJH, as was her husband, Cantor Leo Fettman. As mentioned, Cantor was a Holocaust survivor, and Annette was always by his side as he spoke widely about his experiences during the Holocaust. They traveled to countless schools and churches as a team to educate and lecture about his first-hand experiences. They never lost the commitment to education despite all that Cantor endured. Cantor Leo Fettman wrote the book Shoah, Journey from the Ashes, in 1999 and passed away in April 2021 at 96. Annette continues to educate and honor her husband’s legacy through educational opportunities at the Institute for Holocaust Education.

Annette’s motto is to be active and engaged. She certainly doesn’t sit around feeling sorry for herself; even after losing her husband and daughter unexpectedly within months of each other, Annette keeps moving forward.  She leads by example and inspires others to try new things – she never says no to learning. She recently painted a large painting for the RBJH auditorium, a larger version to offset the resident art exhibit area of Opening Mind through Art program that she participated in with the UNO Gerontology students. Before the pandemic, she participated in the water excise program and Tai Chi at the Jewish Community Center. She played Na’amah, Noah’s wife, in the intergenerational show Noah’s Ark, the Mini Musical with the Friedel Jewish Academy students. Since the Covid restrictions, she has participated online in Tai Chi and keeps up with her synagogue and the community with Zoom lectures. During the Covid lockdown, Annette participated with several pen pals’ volunteers from various places. One pen pal friend from Texas continues to correspond, forming a lasting friendship that they have shared so much; Annette has received plenty of care packages from this new special friend.

She is unafraid of technology as she stays connected to the community and family with her cell phone and iPad, even visiting with her daughter and her family in Israel. She is up for anything that will improve herself and encourages others to join in. She will bake special treats and share them with the staff and Residents. Annette advocates for other Residents as she gives constructive advice sprinkled with plenty of compliments on how the staff can improve. She is a patron of generosity and wants to make this world a better place by every fiber of her being. She is simply amazing.