Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Binge Watching in the Time of Corona

Yes I read 78 book in 2020. But that doesn't mean I didn't also watch my fair share of Netflix, Amazon, Disney etc. Here's a rough accounting month by month and then a list of movies watched.

My top faves are highlighted


Offspring Seasons 1-7


Poldark seasons 1-5 (Amazon)



Bridgerton (all of Season 1 in 1 vacation day)

Schitt's Creek

Queens Gambit

The Expanse Season 5 (amazon - started, still watching)

Dash and Lily

Great British Baking Show Season 8

Yearly Departed


Virgin River Season 2

Dear White People Seasons 1-3

The Home Edit



Virgin River Season 1

Michelle Buteau; Welcome to Buteaupia

Emily in Paris (twice!)



The Duchess Season 1



Self Made- the Life of Madam CJ Walker

Indian Matchmaking


In the Dark Season 2

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

Babysitters Club



Queer Eye Season 5

Orphan Black Seasons 1-5 (amazon, started in May)


Sex Education Season 2

Workin' Moms Season 4


The Expanse Season 4 (amazon)

Upload (amazon)



Never Have I Ever

Ilizi Schlessinger War Paint and Sketch Show

Lynne Koplitz Hormonal Beast

The Expanse Season 1-3


Grace and Frankie Season 6

Taylor Tomlinson Quarter Life Crisis

Doctor Who Season 10 (finished up the very end)



Enola Holmes



Hillbilly Elligy

The Trial of Chicago Seven

Easy A

Over the Moon

Animal Crackers



Operation Christmas Drop

Feel the Beat




Brittany Runs a Marathon

Confessions of a Shopaholic

Borat Subsequent Movie Film



Just Mercy

Late Night

Also lots of Disney (especially live action versions of the classics) and making our way chronologically through Miazaki movies


Monday, December 28, 2020

My Father's First Yahrtzeit

 On the 4th of Tevet, Shabbat Parshat Miketz, Michael’s first Yarzeit was observed. That Saturday night we gathered 70 family and friends over zoom to share some memories and a L’chaim. 

 Here is a recording of the event and below are some of our remarks (at the end of the recording you can watch the slide show we put together of pictures from Michael's life).


Elisha’s Remarks

Hi everyone, shuavua tov. 

Thank you for being with us tonight to mark my Abba’s first Yahrzeit which we observed over Shabbat. 

Everything I know about observing Yahrtzeits I learned from watching my father. He would prepare to mark his parents' yahrzeits at home and at shul by dedicating an afternoon to errands. Running to the supermarket to get a small yahrzeit candle to light at home as well as a glass jar of herring and a cardboard container of OJ that would come with him to shul in the morning. He’d also go over to the kosher bakery for a plastic clamshell of tan-colored bowtie cookies or cheese danish, and make a separate trip to the liquor store for a bottle of something worthy of a proper L'chaim. Once my father returned home from these errands, he would sit on his high, black cushioned computer chair, in front of his multiple monitors, catch the string that his glasses hung from around his neck and slide his glasses up his nose, then work his magic to create a display of pictures of his mother, or father - adorned with their Hebrew name. He would get it just right and then print it out and bring it with him to shul the next morning to give those in the minyan a sense of who he was marking yahrzeit for. At home he would light a candle for them, at shul he would recite Kaddish for them, maybe get an aliyah depending on the day. He would give tzedakah in their honor, sometimes share a short word of Torah and make a l'chayim for them. 

My mother and brother and I would love to try and replicate that care and personalization tonight - we invite everyone here to have a drink and a l’chaim and enjoy some nosh as we spend the next hour of this evening together, sharing about the mensch my Abba was.

On Friday night our family lit Yahrzeit Candles in Florida and in Massachusetts. This custom felt especially resonant for us on the heels of celebrating Chanukah - during which time we were lighting candles on our chanukiot and thinking about my Abba. Many of you know of his 8 ft hand crafted PVC Menorah that graces the Boynton Beach front lawn, and I’m sure you could surmise that it came from a long standing love of the holiday. Each night of chanukah growing up we lit the candles in our living room, our chanukiot up against our apartment’s largest window, then sat on the blue sateen couch that once belonged to my grandparents and sang each and every verse of Maoz Tzur out loud together. He taught us to be patient for presents and to enjoy the tale that each line offered. 

Tonight is no longer Chanukah but I feel a message from the holiday applies to a yahrzeit. Yahrzeits holds a duality - it is a time to notice how the qualities of the person we lost live on in us and in the world around us (a real positive force) but also to reflect on how we have been impacted and changed by our grief (often a more negative force). And Chanukah holds a similar duality - the effects of light and darkness. Rabbi Adina Allen, who is an artist and founder of the Jewish Studio Project, says we meditate on that interplay during Chanukah, and I want to read some of her words to you. “For eight nights we kindle these lights not only for ourselves, but for the world, as we are commanded to place them at the entrance to our home or in our windows for all who pass by to see. As the sun sinks into the sky and darkness sets in, the glow of the lights we kindle can be seen all the more clearly - appearing at once small and incredibly bright; both delicate and powerfully bold… We are announcing as we light our menorahs - that light and darkness require one another to be fully seen.”

In the face of our darkness we have the tradition for lighting a yahrzeit candle which comes from a line in Proverbs/Mishlei “Ki Ner Hashem nishmat adam.”—“The candle of God is the soul of human beings.” (20:27). When I learned this line as a teen I was very taken with it and asked my Abba if he would illustrate this pasuk on an olive wood shtender/book stand I purchased in Jerusalem when I was studying there for my gap year. I had done the lettering and wanted him to add his animal menorah from the Artscroll bencher, which he happily did when he came to visit me that year, on Chanukah. I still resonate with the idea of human sparks being tied up with the sparks of the divine and I know my Abba did too and often used that notion to guide him.

So tonight, at the end of your first yahrzeit, we continue our remembrance of you, Avi Mori - Meir Leib ben Chayim Binyamin, and your divine sparks. As we deeply feel your absence we wish your neshama an aliyah- to go up another notch in the ladder of holiness that it is already traversing. Obviously the first yahrzeit for a loved one does not mark the end of grief, but it does mark a transition in the mourning process. We’ve moved through the cycle of a year feeling my Abba’s absence at Pesach, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Thanksgiving, Chankuha, at each of our birthdays and for my mom on their anniversary. We missed my Abba in ordinary moments - going through his clothing and finding a pen in his pocket that we knew he was planning to use again but would never get to. Having encountered death, our family is different. Grief and mourning have changed us. And now we let go of the rituals from this first year, and going forward we have yahrzeit and yizkor. Yahrtzeit literally means “time of year” in Yiddish and this ancient wise ritual allows us to publicly mark the anniversary of the death of someone who we’ve been thinking about each and every day of the year

And throughout this year we’ve leaned on our many communities to support us and we are each deeply appreciative of the ways everyone on this screen, and beyond, did so. We now invite 8 friends and family of my father to share some brief anecdotes about him, which help make his memory a blessing and gives comfort to his family and all those who miss him. I’ve posted the lineup in the chat and after every few shares we will make a L’chaim together.

  1. It's my honor to ask Rabbi Weiss to share some words with us. Rav Avi is the founding rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale where our family spent so many formative years being inspired by and learning from him

  2. I'd like to invite Alan Zavodnick, member of the Chabad of Boynton Beach who davened and studied with a small chevrah every weekday morning at 5:45am with my Abba, to share a few words

  3. Now we will hear from my mother Marilyn Horen who was with my Abba for almost 44 years and so clearly knew him better than any of us

Let's all raise our glasses and toast a Lchaim to the Neshama of Meir Lev Ben Binyamin Chayim - Lchaim!

  1. I'd like to ask Livia Vanaver to speak now - Livia is an amazing dance performer and is the co-founder of the Vanaver Caravan - she met my father when he first moved to upstate High Falls, NY. They remained kindred Jewish spirits for all times.

  2. Now we will hear from Debbie Jonas, a remarkable woman in her own right, - mother of nine (fact check please), lawyer- and long time close cherished family friend and cheerleader from our years in Riverdale


  1. I'd like to ask Michael Stone to share a few words now - Michael is a Boynton Beach snow bird representing the close set of friends my parents consider family in Florida. They shared lots of daytrips, exploring myraid kosher restaurants, schul events and many shabbat meals with my parents

  2. Now I'll invite my husband Sam Gechter to speak - the first time my Abba met Sam 15 years ago he told me - one day he's going to make a great dad.

  3. Finally, my brother Ben Horen will share some words with us - Ben it made Abba so proud to have a child to pass his father's name to and when I look at all these pictures of Abba as a young guy I 100% see you, and know you're carrying on the torch of the family


Thank you all for sharing those words and for bringing back such beautiful memories.

My Abba loved hearing stories - but as you all know he was not only a man of words - though he loved to study - he was also a man of action - loving prayer, building his sukkah and selecting lulav and etrog on the lower east side, airbrushing children's books, fashioning backdrops of shul plays, designing elaborate 3-D banners in the SAR parade, and always opening his wallet and giving what he was able to tzedaka. It is a custom on a yahrzeit to take action by making a contribution in honor of the person we are missing, and we’ve chosen to do so by sponsoring a day of learning at JCDS, the Jewish community Day School of Boston where his grandaughter Zoe learns in the 3rd grade. Just last year my Abba and Emma were guest teachers for an art lesson for Zoe’s class, and they relished all the times they got to be in that building and see the place that deeply nurtures our family. All the learning in the school on Monday will be in honor of his memory. Through this act of giving we carry on your name in this world Abba. And through these acts of storytelling we keep our memories of you vibrant and alive. 

Today in shul we read parshat Miketz and learn about Pharaoh's dreams animated by the fat cows standing by the banks of the river being devoured by the lean cows - foreshadowing coming years of feast and then famine. The S'fat Emet, the Hasidic Rabbi of Ger, teaches that what we need to learn from this portion is to prepare ourselves during the good days in which holiness is revealed, to set that light solidly within our hearts so it will be there during the bad days when the holiness is hidden. Abba you prepared us in so many ways during the good days to store up holiness and happiness, and it is what we draw from during these harder days, and in that way we will continue to learn from you.

Thank you so much for being here with us tonight. 


Marilyn's Remarks

Michael Horen 1941-2020

I have twelve minutes ahead of sharing with you. So sit tight and remember -

Michael loved a l’chaim, repeated as often as possible. Tonight please join in that tradition as you please.


My deep sorrow, this grief of Michael being gone, is easier to bear when I know you are all suffering from a loss as well - the loss of a treasured friend, a fond acquaintance.  I must note that if Michael were to hear what I am about to say he would ask me to refrain because he didn’t like a spotlight. And at the conclusion you might think him a saint. So - a disclaimer- just know he was not always perfect every moment. 


In the years we had him he was a light to all who knew him. We would want him here every moment, but I have to keep reminding myself that he is gone. For me the grief of his passing is still a bottomless well. We all mourn his leaving but thank Hashem deeply for his presence we got to enjoy. Tonight we’ll honor the memory of those enjoyable times. 


There was no indication Michael’s time here was so limited. We weren’t at all prepared for his departing this world. Mickey- I picture your soul is now content and only joyous. Ours, not so much without you here. In fact we were so unprepared for your stunning unexpected departure that delivering a eulogy back then was impossible for me. Now I’m prepared. 


There was something magical, mystical about Michael. He was a free spirit. And, he was wonderful, magnificent, mellow, modest, plus slightly mischievous. 

Michael: unpredictable - that was the fun, the richness of life with him! Never a boring moment. An uncomplicated/complex man of 110% integrity, a Mensch in capital letters. In 44 years every time he walked through the door I was excited that he was home again.


Michael, arrived in this world June 14, 1941, in Philadelphia - Flag day. It must have been easy to feel important when your parents tell you that all the flags are flying because everyone is celebrating your birthday!


The Horen family saga- his father Ben was born in the Ukraine city of Kaminetz Poldolsk, near a hotbed of Chasidis. When his family came to the states in 1899 Kaminetz had a Jewish population of 16,000. Family lore has it that his family, the Orenthlechts, were compelled to leave hurriedly due to an altercation with a Russian military person. 


Michael was deeply proud of his parents. His dad, Ben, was a chemist, a pharmacist and a founding member of a conservative synogogue in their local West Oak Lane community. His mother Ethel, after raising two sons, became the millinery buyer for Gimbels. Actually as one of those serendipities, a congregant at our Boynton Chabad recalled her as a fine colleague. As Mick polished his Mom’s silver and the samovar in preparation for our Pesachs he would happily reminisce about her cleaning tutledge. Her motherly knack of pretending not to notice when he had misbehaved, was her gift to her chotstkola.  


January 1959 - he  was a graduate in the 211th Class of Boys Central High in Philadelphia. After graduating from Pratt Institute in ‘64 his gifted art abilities were recognized when he was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to the Sorbonne to study printmaking. He regaled with Parisian stories like being in the Bibliotheque Sorbonne ungloved and handling, in awe, any genuine Leonardo DaVinci prints he asked for.  


He taught Graphic Arts at Pratt for 8 years then moved into the illustrating division of the publishing industry working for Doubleday, Random House, Warner Bros, Rounder Records and more, producing book and magazine covers, record album jackets for such musicians as Thelonius Monk, Peter Ustinov, Leon Redbone and Bill and Livia Vanaver who will speak tonight. He  illustrated children’s books. The Neon Motorcycle, by the son of Norman Rockwell,my favorite, is a colorful rollicking ride for a youngster on a runaway motorcycle. He continued with freelance work as well. Steuben Glass commissioned him to design a piece to illustrate Treasure Island. He did a series of promo posters for a NYC moviehouse and a poster for the first Earth Day celebration in Central Park.


He became disenchanted with NYC life and moved to the tiny hamlet Kerhonkson in - upstate NY near Kingston when his movie theater connection landed him a job managing a theater in Highland Falls. Still freelancing he biked, hiked, explored and met new friends in the beautiful southern Catskills. 


Michael had a lifelong love of vehicles- Indian Motorcycles, Porsches, BMWs and VWs of all sorts. This all began at age 16 at his job at Jerry’s -the local gas/repair station. Michael was the happy owner of many vehicles over the years, spending enjoyable hours tinkering with them- and when living on West 99th street meeting the challenge of keeping up with alternate side street parking for three vehicles. During retirement he acquired a sporty car built on a VW chassis called a Bradley. When it got to be too much to tow it north to south and reverse - one became two- one north and one south. 


He was also a watch dial designer and maker of wrist and pocket watches. Cartoon characters were his specialty. Whether it was fixing cars, making watches, creating illustrations or gala decor, fashioning a ten foot tall menorah, hanging a picture, improving his Bradleys, solving a problem uniquely - all his endeavors were done with his ultimate precision and his 110% mo.


He and I met by beshert at a flea market in Brimfield, Massachusetts. He was about to turn 35, me 30. We had both divorced after 7 year marriages. I figure now that Hashem was there making all the arrangements for us to meet. 


I think most who knew him would agree that Michael was a totally special person. He was a great raconteur, dignified, humble, a snazzy dresser, a great host, a lively guest. He was humble, undemanding, calm. His family will remember him fondly as a devoted father, a fun grandpa with a twinkle in his eye. And for me he was the best partner, best dinner date, best willing to be adventurous travel companion and bird watching buddy. He hadn’t yet finished telling me all his stories. You can hardly get better accolades than that.


A huge hallmark of Mick was that he always reached out when he saw a way he could help anyone. It could be putting coins into the cup of an alms seeker, picking up an elderly gentleman so he could attend schul, or helping create memorable props for schul and school fundraisers, restoring a friend’s old family photo, a damaged wedding album, setting up a facetime call for grandparents to watch a distant  bris - just little acts of kindness. He was adverse to the telling since the giving the help provided his joy. 


Michael was a gentle being, he was even tempered, easy going, calm, an observer, acquiescing to what came his way in life. He made practically no demands. He had a special knack for genuinely caring and being especially attentive to individuals so they each felt special. Nothing phoney, he cared deeply. 


He loved being silly to bring joy with his raucous childlike side. High jinx reigned whenever the chance came - like the time he faked the necessary legal veterinary  papers to make aliyah possible for an ornery dog. License problems? Lost yours? Need it to show you a little older, younger? He could take care of you. Need your kid’s name in lights for his bar mitzvah - Mick was your man. You need a protest sign? He produced one that could be folded into Rabbi Weiss’s suit jacket and unfolded at a protest before security guards could seize it. One even appeared in a photo of Rabbi Weiss in Time Magazine. He loved having fun beating the system.


We all grapple with what is it we will do with our life. Michael had a wandering soul, he was a seeker of truth. He journeyed his restless soul until, at age 39, he walked into an orthodox synogogue in upstate Kingston, NY to say kaddish for his father. There, a young charismatic Rabbi helped him rediscover his true Jewish roots. As I, and his friends, watched him embark on this path with such genuine happiness, exuberance and dedication we all wondered/worried - is Michael going to become a rabbi? Move to Israel? Does this have staying power? 


We could not understand that in his life he might have felt like a prisoner akin to Joseph of today’s parsha. Although Micahel had fashioned his own existence perhaps he understood that Judiasm was his path to true freedom, his destiny. He trusted himself knowing that this was what he wanted and needed. He plunged on ahead embracing his identity as a Jew regardless of those around him. It centered him. 


As a prisoner Natan Sharansky discovered what defined his freedom - it was the moment when he claimed his own autonomy, when he knew he would be true to the image of Hashem in which we are created - a free person. This must have been what Michael was feeling as well. 


And of course it did have staying power because Michael had discovered Judaism offered his deep spiritual side the satisfaction of living a coherent and meaningful life amidst fellow Jews. This was the life he had been searching for. 


So at age 40 when he became a father to our daughter Elisha we were keeping Shabbat and kosher in a home we had built in the middle of the woods in the small upstate town of High Falls, New York. As Elisha was about to turn three we began seeking a school for her. A Rabbi suggested we look into Riverdale, NY and Rabbi Weiss - already renown as an all embracing person. We visited there on a day of a street Festival. A group was dancing in a circle in the street and one man came out from it towards us - Elisha immediately lept into his arms. This was Rabbi Weiss. We moved to Riverdale where we became immersed in Jewish communal living. We enjoyed the full Jewish life Riverdale offered. Michael became a parent again at age 44 to Ben. We attended the Hebrew Institute, the kids went to SAR. Chabad moved to town and once more Michael found a satisfying setting that matched his soul. Thirty years there brought us many treasured friends and memories.

Our Riverdale move coincided with the advent of the computer age. Michael learned how to do his airbrush techniques on a Mac. He kept on as a freelance artist with a studio on 23rd Street. A friend there introduced him to Artscroll Publishers who hired him to illustrate their Youth Megillah. His notably outstanding brightly colored creative Illustrations for their Youth Megillah continue to bring happiness to those who own them and pride to his family. While there he also illustrated Alef to Tav by Yaffa Ganz, Chulin and his bencher for Artscroll is seen at many shabbat tables and simchas. 

What a legacy.

One fine Fall day while he was helping a less mechanically inclined friend put his sukkah up in Riverdale, he mentioned he was looking for work. The friend was branching out from his brochure publishing company into a new endeavor. IDT(International Discount Telephone) would be the name of the new company and the friend needed Michael’s technical assistance to set up phone call routing machines for clients. That began a lifelong close friendship between our families.

Michael stayed on in the Publishing department and also manned IDT’s charitable kosher mobile soup kitchen. Twice a week he, with the help of other volunteers, would deliver bagged meals made in the IDT kosher kitchen to the underserved and needy in Newark. He had a way of treating each person with dignity and rachmanous. 

Then on 9/11 he watched from his office window as the towers fell. The very next day the IDT soup kitchen was diverted to Ground Zero so kosher meals could be provided. Ten thousand meals a day were needed there. Surely there would be some hungry Yids needing kosher food. For six weeks he delivered several hundred meals daily.

He stayed with IDT for 19 years retiring in 2009. I got my boyfriend back and we enjoyed so many great times. Boynton Beach figured into our lives at that time. We gained new friends coming to feel like we were Florida family to one another. His day began with a most wonderful study group at 5:45am at Chabad of Boynton Beach. It filled him with joy. He had all he seemed to need for the day.

At a routine doctor visit it was surprisingly discovered that Michael had a blood condition named Chronic Lymphatic Leukemia. What? Where did this come from? He was closely monitored since then. It took nine years to discover that it’s origin was from his presence at Ground Zero. January 1st he succumbed to a virulent metastasis of the CLL and is now officially designated a Victim of 9/11.

It is deeply sad that his life was taken seemingly prematurely, however we do need to be happy for Michael, he would want that. We need to be happy because he lived a full rounded colorful life filled with a collection of very fine friends he cared deeply about and a family who adored him. .  

Tikun olam was his platform. Michael lived as an example of true chesed and loving kindness according to Jewish tenets. As is our belief in Judaism, a famous poet wrote - “the best portion of a good person’s life is the little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.”

Going forward please consider doing any act of kindness, then don’t do the telling in honor of his memory. You could beam it up and say - This one’s for you, Mick!

Beshert. We had a large share of beshert which we recognized, appreciated  and believed in. When it comes to his passing I struggle with the beshert part. However I am heartened by the wonderful legacy of illustrations and exemplary midot that he provided for his children, and most importantly his grandchildren who, to his credit, are being raised following Jewish religious traditions.

Do you recall the story of two sons passing away while their pious father was at schul? Upon his return home his wife asked him what he would do if someone had loaned him their precious jewels and now wanted them back. He replied that of course they should be returned immediately. 

And so it is that Michael, the precious jewel that he was, had to return to his maker. The memories of Meir Leib ben Benyomin Chaim should shine lights for our directions and be for eternal blessings. Michael may your soul have continuing alliyahs, your life was a blessing to us all. Thanks for the grand ride you provided.



Sam Gechter's Remarks

So a lot of wonderful people have said a lot of wonderful things about Michael tonight. I just want to share a few things that I miss about him.

One thing that I miss is that he was one of the most welcoming people I knew. Whenever we would drive out to their house in Pepperell, and get out of the car, he’d already be coming down the walkway to greet us. He’d give me a huge hug, crushing me against his reading glasses that were always around his neck. and then give me a scratchy kiss on the cheek. And that was better than any welcome at any hotel. We got that anytime we saw him. When we went to Pepperell, or Florida, or when he came for a chag to our house in Somerville, or when he just came for the evening to babysit. It was the same joyous greeting.

And that’s another thing I miss, babysitting. Yes, I do. But really, I miss how he was with our kids. He had so much love for them. He took so much joy and pride in them. He was so good at being silly with them. And he was so patient. We’ve told so many stories of how we would come back from a night out, and ask how things had gone, and it usually some version of we had a really nice time, well so and so didn’t want to go bed, or didn’t eat, and the other one threw up; ahhhh, it was great. He was able to bring so much joy to the everyday over and over again with them.

The last thing I want to say that I miss is a concept one of my friends calls a SOAK - Source Of All Knowledge. It’s the person you always call when you want to know about a particular thing, your source of all knowledge on that topic. Anytime I have a question about trains, I call my railroader friend Olin. If I’m not sure how to solve a difficult problem on my Mac, I call Andrew. Whenever I wanted to know how to do something around the house, or anything that involved tools, I’d call or text Michael. Are drywall screws strong enough to hang a metal sign? Do you think the office door would dry OK if I leave it in the garage after staining the wood? How hard would it be to fix our driveway pavers on my own? Do I need glue on the joints between the PVC pipe pieces on my six foot tall Chanukiyah? He would just know. And I miss that.

Elisha mentioned that when Michael and I met, and she asked him what he thought of me, he said he thought I’d make a good dad. He had that kind of faith in people. I think about that actually sometimes, at the times when I feel like I’m not being such a great dad. When the kids are yelling at each other, and I’m trying to get something done, and they had woken us up several times in the night so I’m really tired, and I’m starting to loose it with them. I think about the faith he had in me, and I take a deep breath, and I try to do a little better. 


Ben's Remarks 

My Abba was a steward of life and love. He was a purveyor of joy and his kindness that seemed overflowing and endless. One time we were driving on a road not far from the house in upstate new york. He started to slow down and come to a complete stop in the middle of this road and jumps down from his seat and peeks in front of the car. He then starts a march back to his van. I see him grab a towel and walk back to the front of the car and all of a sudden what was blocking our way in the road is now in his hands and he’s carrying it to the other side of the road. It was a snapping turtle and like the honorary park ranger that he was, he wasn’t going to pass it by and hope the best for it. When he got back to the car he told me he was helping the turtle get home to dinner on time. This was just his M.O., he helped where ever he found he could be of service. this virtue came easy to him, to keep things of beauty flourishing so the next person could enjoy them.

In the summer of 1991 I was five years old and the movie the rocketeer was in theaters. We
went to see it and I didn’t really follow the plot, but I was intoxicated by the rocketeer flying with his jetpack. at our country house My abba was always working on something in his garage. I suggested that we could make a project of making a jetpack that could fit me and I could fly around in. He thought this was a great idea! I kept asking him from the get go if it would actually be able to fly me around, he kept saying things like “We’ll see if we can, we might have to go get more parts from the hardware store.” He took an metal hiking backpack frame and drilled two Air ducts into it and glued all kind of extra little switches and buttons. If this thing couldn’t fly It definitely looked like it could. When it was all done and I asked again if it could fly he told me
that it probably wouldn’t because the fuel would burn to hot for me to get up into the air.
Although I never asked him, i think that he was having me believe that it had the potential to fly because he never wanted me to box in my imagination as to what I could create. He thought that maybe if I believed that it could potentially fly, it would spark me to build something that could actually fly one day.

Besides Riverdale being a beautiful setting to grow up in, our little corner of friends that were
really like family were characters the likes of which only assemble every thousand years. I knew as a young kid that my Abba was a central figure in this ensemble. He had an ease and
relaxedness about him that made way for late nights of raucous laughter til you would cry, and
bring people into deep and meaningful conversations. He was always patient when listening to people, I believe now that this is because he was thinking on the words someone chose, he
wanted to make sure that when he responded and he spoke to where they were coming from
and where they were at. His advice and replies weren’t ever minced words, I remember being
able to sit in the glow of his affection and relaxed attention when he was speaking to someone
and how comforting it was to be around this kind of energy.

He also shared a very childlike humor with his close friends. It always felt like there was an
inside joke that was being shared amongst this group that you wanted to be a part of. If you
happened to have the privilege to hear this room of grown men you could’ve confused it for a
room full of 8 year olds on unsupervised vacation. This was the camaraderie that he brought to the table.

Late friday afternoon, Erev shabbos he would get all ready and dressed for shul. He would have this soft gaze in his eyes that I didn’t ever witness at any other time during the week. He would also carry himself in a very soft manner as well, almost like he was floating on a cloud. “Good Shabbos Butch.” He would say while leaning in to kiss my forehead. I thought maybe it was the heat of the shower getting to him, but I realize now that He was mindfully letting go of the week prior to engage in the serenity that shabbos brought to him. The focus he had when he gave me a bracha later on that evening was also so elevating that we were both transported to a different place. After the bracha he would give me this sheepish smile, like he knew how deep this moment was for the both of us.

There is now a vacuum where there was once a tremendous energy.

Abba your eyes that had crows feet from decades of smiling, 

Your hands that made miles and miles of art, sketched ideas, colorful displays, dioramas that were displayed for millions to enjoy 

your back that postured over your desk for countless days racing against deadlines
your legs that carried you to at least four continents
Abba you will be missed and I will try to uphold what you held dear every single day of your life.