My father passed away on Christmas morning. Death came to him by inches, in his sleep. He had been suffering, from strokes, and from a lengthy bout with diabetes. He was less than two weeks away from his 83rd birthday. A few years ago--the last time he was in Ohio to visit--I wrote a short piece on him here.
This was a man born in the wrong place, struggling his whole life under circumstances entirely foreign to his grandchildren, finally getting the opportunity to be free in America. I have never met a man stronger, or kinder, or one more fully engaged in life. He understood the most important things, he fought evil men and forces in the center of a chaotic Europe. At great risk to himself he saved Jews from the horror, he was generous to strangers, he saved and fed his family amidst impossible and inconceivable tyranny; and he brought us to America, a country that to him was the heart of the human idea. And then he worked and worked, taking advantage of the opportunity to keep the fruits of his labor for the first time in his life. Because he worked I may read. His flaw--when placed next to his great virtues--was small, although painful for my mother. But she, in her steadfast love, forgave him even that, knowing somehow that his great love of life demanded such a vice. May the Good Lord bless my mother, and forgive my father his transgressions, and allow his noble heart to rest in eternal peace. If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared