Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Some Things Are Hard To Put Into Words

From the increased amount of traffic this blog has received over the past two days, it is apparent to me that some visitors are waiting for me to comment on the mournful loss of our dear "Uncle Jerry".
The most important things that needed to be said, have been said, by people far more prestigious and eloquent than myself. He was like no other in his dedication to Klal work and his kovod horav. They don't make them like that any more.
He will be missed - by all...
On the more personal side, what will *I* miss about Uncle Jerry?
  • I will miss seeing him every Shabbos morning as I exit shul. He was always the first person to offer a smile and a personal greeting.
  • I will miss the smell of black pepper ;)
  • I will miss receiving gift boxes of personalized spices (with labels reading, "packed especially for G6").
  • I will miss watching Uncle Jerry stopping every little boy in shul as they passed his seat - one of a dying breed of people to remind the youngsters how important a handshake and a "Good Shabbos" really is....
Yehi zichro boruch

{Oh, and I will miss getting a good chuckle hearing him called up for brochos at weddings as "Alte Fetter Gavriel"....}

5 comments:

yanman said...

Who is (or was) Uncle Jerry? I noticed the picture of Rav S.Z. Breuer Z"tl in the talent show clip, are you related? I know many people in the Heights, speak to the Rabbonim regularly & have quire a few relatives in the 'hood. If you contact me off-line I'll tell you who I am.

G6 said...

If you want to be contacted offline, you'd have to leave contact info.
The best way to contact me and tell me who you are is via the "Contact Me" link on the right hand side of the main page, below the pics.

guesswhoscoming2dinner@gmail.com

efrex said...

24 hours after the levaya, I'm still stunned at the loss. For the last 3 years, I've had the rare privelege of learning in the biweekly shiur given by David in his grandfather's study, and my mind routinely exploded at thought of where I was and who I was with, and that "ani hakaton" learned gemara in their home. Frequently, Jerry would bring a technical topic home with an anecdote of R' Breuer or a description of the Kehilla's minhagim, and his quiet raised points contrasted sharply with my own rude interruptions when I had a question.

Last summer, the Washington Heights Congregation (R' Bloch's shul) had its 100th Anniversary Dinner at Mt. Sinai. During shmona esrei at ma'ariv, for whatever reason, I started wondering, "What kind of hat is Jerry wearing?" (my kavanah needs significant work, I know)… "Of course he must be wearing one, but he doesn't wear the yeshivishe black hat, a felt hat makes no sense during the summertime, the white straw hat would be inappropriate for evening... " When I finished davening, I turned to Jerry's section and of course he and Chazan Frankel Z"L were wearing dark straw hats that matched their suits just so: dark grey for Jerry, and brown for Chazan Frankel. I have less than zero sense of fashion, but to me, that image captured a certain aspect of Jerry and the whole mentality of the German Torah im Derech Eretz persona: always dignified and appropriate, self-confident without being condescending. When the shiur had a siyum and we sat around the dining room table, he preceded the meal with a short tribute to his wife and son that could have been written by a professional speechwriter: again, appropriate and dignified, gracious and heartfelt without any oversentimentality.

The one time that he got annoyed at me was when my son was born, and, in deference to my wife's sleeping schedule, we had a small sign posted in our building for the shalom zachor rather than inviting people. As a result, he didn't know about it. That there was a community simcha where he didn't get to share a mazal tov was something that upset him and the way he believed the world should be.

My work schedule has me leaving the Heights very early in the morning, and I'd routinely run into Jerry walking to shul. I find it hard to imagine walking up 187th street to Overlook Terrace at a quarter to six and not seeing his smile.

T'heh nafsho tzrura b'tzror hachaim

Anonymous said...

It's extrememly sad. I was shocked and still am. So unexpected. Washington Heights will truly not be the same without him. People like him are what make Washington Height Washington Heights for me. There are so few of the old-timers left and it's scary.

Anonymous said...

efrex:
sorry, but I am with JG about the shalom zachor. YOUR WIFE HAS HER WHOLE LIFE TO SLEEP, FOR GOODNESS SAKE! And anyway, very often the women aren't even out at a Shalom Zachor! Sorry, I just don't get some people.

Actually a woman I know, who had a Shalom Zachor for her first boy after MANY girls, didn't want the mess in her house too close to Pesach- so she had her husband go away with the other kids for shabbos and they didn't have a shalom zachor. Poor guy, waited so many years. What's with these selfish women???