Today is the 8th of Elul-my father’s Yarzeit. Funny this year it came one day after my mother’s birthday. 17 years ago he died of old age and Parkinson’s. He was 89. He had sparkly blue eyes. And I only remember him with a head of silver hair. Even in his old age. He was 45 when I was born. He worked hard. Too hard. I only hope that he had moments of joy too. Mostly I remember his exhaustion working two jobs to help our family make ends meet.
Yitgadal v’yitkadash shmei rabbah.
My dad had a funny sense of humor and could sell you the shirt off your back. He always wore his wallet in his hip pocket. When his beard grew in it was red. But I am told he was blond in his youth. He was a swimmer then. He played cymbals in his high school band.
He was the oldest of three and always seemingly did the right thing. He did for others quietly and always taught me to uphold everyone’s dignity no matter the color of their skin or the job they had or didn’t have. He loved my mom. They were lovers and friends for fifty eight years.
B’alma divera chirutei, vyamlich malchutei b’chayeichon uv’yomeichon u’chayei d’chol beit Yisrael baagalah u’vizman kariv: v’rimru: AMEIN
My dad liked fishing and taking a Sunday drive. He wasn’t big on meat. And didn’t smoke except for the occasional cigar with his poker friends (mostly before I was born). He was a wonderful grandfather and great grandfather and later in life always had a candy stash for his grandchildren!
Yehei shmey rabbah m’vorach l’alam ulamei Almayah
My dad loved his family. He didn’t really have hobbies. He wasn’t big on sports but did take me to the occasional baseball game. He wasn’t big on theater but went dutifully with my mom. He didn’t get to travel and didn’t even have a passport.
Yitbarach V’yishtabach v’yitpaar v’yitromam v’yitnasay v’yithadar v’yitaleh v’yitahalal shemei d’kudishah B’rich Hu. Lei-lah min kol birchata v’shiratah tu-shbichatah v’nechematah v’daminran b’almah v’imru: Amein
He didn’t fight in World War II exempted because he worked in a Defense Plant and already had a child (my sister). Although he had signed up for the Navy and there was a going away party for him the night before Pearl Harbor. But because of this fluke exemption he didn’t go in the end.
Yehei shlamah rabbah min sh’mayah v’chayim aleynu v’al kol Yisrael v’imru: Amein
My dad was kind. He taught me not to see skin color or class. He taught me the meaning of tzedakah to those who really didn’t have anything. He extended credit in his store so even the poorest miners and iron workers could give their wives something for Christmas or anniversaries. He had a heart that was so very big.
I am only sad that he wasn’t around to influence the future MLB player. The kid would have gotten a kick out of him-and boy would my dad gotten an even bigger kick from the future MLB player!
Rest in peace Dad
Oseh Shalom Bimromav Hu Yaaseh Shalom Aleinu v’al kol Yisrael V’imru: Amein.