April 25, 2018

Garden Day and Memorial Dedication for Gabe Gelbart, August 3


TOPANGA, CA—In a tribute to its late co-founder Gabe Gelbart, the hospice residence at Anam Cara is being named “Gabriel’s House” during a ceremony welcoming the community to a Garden Day and Memorial Dedication on August 3.

Gabe, 53, was a humanitarian, philanthropist, architect, and artist whose creative touch and belief in the healing beauty of nature can be seen throughout Anam Cara, including its California native plant landscape. He was planting one of the garden areas on June 15, the day he passed away suddenly from a heart attack. He had been a resident of Topanga for a year and was married at his home in early May to Anam Cara CEO and Co-Founder Mitch Metzner. Gabe was Jewish and also was a member of the Topanga Meditation Sangha, a Buddhist community.

Gabe’s work in the garden will be carried forward by volunteers from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., followed by a brief memorial ceremony. Perla Batalla, a Mexican-American singer-songwriter known for accompanying Leonard Cohen, will perform “Gracias a la Vida,” a favorite song that Gabe sang at the bedside of hospice patients, as well as other songs. Lunch and a celebration of his life, including live music, will begin at 1:30.

Metzner explained the timing of the dedication: “August 3 is 49 days after Gabe’s transition, an auspicious milestone in Buddhist tradition following the death of a human body,” he said.

“Bardo,” a Tibetan word that literally means “intermediate state,” is the 49-day period between death and rebirth, when one’s consciousness is not connected with a physical body.

“Gabe believed that death can teach us about life and that the less we fear death the more we can live life fully each day,” Metzner said. “He is still teaching us this lesson."

Anam Cara, an end-of-life compassionate care home set in a natural environment, is located at 1178 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd. For more information, to make a donation or volunteer: (310) 455-0419; AnamCaraLA.org.