Memories of MTA
By way of introduction
I was a terrible junior high school student at YCQ. Terrible is probably an understatement, being disturbed, saddened, incapable of studying. I applied to the Jewish day schools in the area, and was accepted by MTA, Yeshiva University HS, in upper Manhattan, Washington Heights. I wasn’t really good material, but there was such a dearth of good students, and it was just after the Holocaust, 1958. Any Jewish soul was worth saving, not like it is today, where the admissions criteria are much higher, and the competition terribly fierce.
Finding the book, returning it, redeeming my soul
When I started MTA I was subject to the same depression that plagued me through my junior high school years, but this time manifesting such depression in high school. Matters were more serious. In October or November two important thing happened, my hand infection and finding the book.
I had pricked myself somehow, and hand a massive hand infection, I believe of the left hand. It had to be lanced. That was that. I haven’t thought about that hand infection in 56 years.
The second was finding a book on the subway, a book belonging to an immigrant. It was a school book. The person who had lost it was older, middle aged, as we established when Mom called him. He came over, picked it up, and thanked us.
It seems in retrospect to be a minor even in life. Actually though I felt it then to be a major awakening in my soul, a strong religious experience. I don’t have the same feelings for ritual as I do for these acts of kindness, for praying for the sick, for returning lost objects, and so forth. But here was, perhaps, the beginning of my soul.
Up the elevator
MTA had an elevator, and perhaps more than one. I would take the stairs most of the time. I think when I came in as a sophomore in 1958 someone told me that there would a price for an elevator pass. I don’t remember who did it; it might have been an upper classman.
I took chemistry in my junior year, taught by Dr. John Harwell, who also taught at Bronx Science High School. It was a fairly easy course for me; I’ve always had a knack for science which amazes me since I ended up thinking I’d be a social scientist. Actually, I’ve bridged the two with psychophysics, but I’ve just wandered off topic.
Sid and George’s
Across the street from school was a hangout, Sid and George’s. A deli where we took a ticket, ordered, got it punched, and paid at the front. A lot of people sat there and talked. I didn’t have much time. After Talmud we’d rush down, around 10:15, for 30 minute break. I’d order of knish, a round cannonball affair, and typically cut it open, and smear on some mustard. It was a potato with some onion affair, delicious, hot cooked (but probably frozen originally).
Sid and George also had kasha varsniskes, the bow tie pasta. I wasn’t a fan of kasha at all, neither with varnishkes, nor, heaven forfend, to ruin the inside of a perfectly good knish, a knish which had it not sinned somehow, would have found itself filled more lovingly with softed crushed potato.
Today a knish that size would be $4 or $5. Side and George gave way to Time Out, at least 15 years ago, with a wonderful Sephardic guy as owner, with great pizza, and with a heart of gold. A true Yirei Shomayim. I feel an inner tzaddik, he was.
The Purim and Chanukah Chagigas
On Chanukah and Purim the Yeshiva (college) would sponsor a chagiga, a party, with music and dancing. I went to several of them. They were joyous. And then of course the long ride home, filled with good cheer, and occasionally waiting a half hour for the bus. Sometimes I’d end up going home with the late Eliot Shimoff, Rabbi Shimoff’s son, who majored in psychology at Yeshiva University and was a year ahead of me. Eliot passed a few years ago.
What specifically do I remember of the chagigas? Well, that’s hard. A lot of yeshivish dancing, although not at all to the degree to which today’s yeshivish dancing has been perfected. And going home. Not much else. Maybe once Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach came to sing. He I remember; I think it was a Chanukah Chagiga.
Rides home with Mr. Sidney Goldstein
Queens is one of the outer boroughs, as is Staten Island. Going from MTA at the top of Manhattan to my home at 195st and Union Turnpike was a standard 90 minute shlep (commute), worse on Sundays. On Sundays it could be two hours because the buses did not run well. Occasionally Sunday nights would be punctuated by a particularly nasty driver on the Q44A, whom (Rabbi Dov) Michael Fine and I would call Oswald.
However, fate was kind. Occasionally on the shorter Sundays we would get a ride home with our English teacher, Mr. Sidney Goldstein, a thin, kind, middle age teacher, whom we all liked. We’d pile in and off we’d go. I’m grateful for Mr. Goldstein’s rides. I tried to look him up on Google, but there was no trace.
On the bus with Michael Fine
Perhaps the only person living further away from MTA than me was (Rabbi Dov) Michael Fine. Mike had gone to YCQ with me. Middle son (older brother, younger brother named Steve, I think a young brother David but not sure), Mike went to TA after the eighth grade. He is the only pulpit rabbi in our class, serving Scranton.
It was the two of us who nicknamed our bus driver ‘Oswald.’
It was Mike who authored my ‘writeup’ in the Elchanite, the high school yearbook. I hadn’t accomplished much, but Mike knew that I had read Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and was kind enough to put that in.
Mike recently lost his daughter. May he be granted comfort, and may the soul of his daughter rest under the Shechina with the other righteous.
How strange that one’s childhood friends turn out to be human, after all.
Running to catch the E train
When I went up to school in the morning I’d typically take the E or F train, usually the F train, from 179st. I’d stop and change for the D, and then take the A at 59th st, going uptown to 181st. And then it was a more or less leisurely walk up the hill to school. Going home was a different thing. It was 6pm, and we’d get out. We’d walk quickly to the subway, go downstairs, whether by elevator or by stairs typically by elevator, get on the A, and go to 42nd St., cutting out the D train. Then we’d run underneath the tracks, through the tunnel, up to the E train, typically the back. Most of the time we’d make it, or wait a few minutes. Then a half hour ride to Union Turnpike. What a trek. I was 14-17 years old, and had no idea of how difficult the trek really was. Not until Queens College, and finally Harvard did I realize how simply brutal the trip home ended up being. But when one is 14 years old, it doesn’t seem so brutal. I’ve turned into a 70 year old wuss.
Dad’s rides when the Throg’s Neck Bridge opened up
It was torture to get up on Sundays, to go to school. Sunday was just another day. A wonderful legacy of President Eisenhower was the cross-country highway system, which instantiated itself as the Clearview Expressway (to play a key role in my first traffic ticket in 1965). And then the Throg’s Neck Bridge.
In moments of mercy, Dad (a’h) would express his affection to me by driving me to school on Sunday. He had rachmones, mercy, doing that. I was grateful. Rather than a miserable 90 minute commute, the Sunday morning from the house, over the Clearview, Throg’s Neck, and Cross Bronx, took about 20 marvelous minutes Thank you Dad. And, by the way, driving is the way I show my love, just as driving was the way you showed yours to me.
Eating at Rabbi Feldblum’s
My father’s closest uncle was Rabbi Ephraim Eliezer Yolles of Philadelphia, who refused a Chassidic title. Uncle Yolles (Dad called him that, as he called Rabbi Avrohom Simcha Horowitz, Uncle Horowitz) had three children, one by his first wife, cousin Bina and two by his third and beloved wife, Pepi (Ungar?). Pepi was Hungarian. They were married for 60+ years, and had two daughters, Shoshana (Geldzahler) and Esther (Feldblum). Esther was Dad’s favorite cousin, I think. Esther ended up going to Bais Yakov in NY with Arlene’s cousin’s wife, Zippy Gandler (of Ramat HaSharon, Zamka’s wife). Small world.
I went to the wedding of Esther and Rabbi Meir Simcha Feldblum in 1953 or 1954, in Town Hall, Philadelphia. When I was making a condolence call to Avi Feldblum, he showed me a picture of two adults (woman with short sleeves) and two kids. It was Mom, Dad, Judy and Me!!!
Rabbi Feldblum (Meir Simcha) taught Talmud at MTA. I entered the second year, and went to TI (teacher’s institute). Meir Simcha taught at TA. I remember him inviting me for lunch one day. He lived across the street, down half a block. Esther made the lunch. They were very hospitable. I think it was 1962. Avi was running around, and maybe Sholom. I’m not sure who else, but there was one baby in the crib.
We studied the Tractate Pesachim with Rabbi Isaac Suna, in our junior year. Rabbi Suna (a’h) was a Holocaust survivor. He lived in Queens, in Kew Gardens Hills. I don’t remember much about him, other than the famous statement ‘It causes a big lost’ (rather than loss). We respected him. He had a good reputation, but as juniors we dutifully studied, but caught some of these language errors, and giggled about them, though not maliciously.
Rabbi Zimels, encouragement
I was quite ‘messed up’ emotionally in my sophomore year of high school, at least at the start. It was the tail end of an emotional downwards journey starting in the 6th grade of YCQ, Yeshiva of Central Queens. When I got to MTA my two Jewish studies teachers were Rabbi Yechiel Grossman and Rabbi Abraham Zimels. I don’t think the former was aware of much. He was a Sabra rabbi from Jerusalem. Rabbi Abraham Zimels got it, and understood me. Both men were single at the time, and probably 15 years older than I was.
Rabbi Zimels encouraged me, and I owe him a great deal. I visited him when I was in college. He tried to fix me up with a girl, but I never called her. I often wonder how my life would have turned out had I followed his suggestion.
I do remember the requirement to memorize the blessing of Jacob to Jacobs’ sons. I would ride around Cunningham Park, reciting it to myself, adding a little mental color to accentuate certain parts as if I were declaiming this as a conversation rather than as a memorization exercise. I remember saying the blessings as I was riding along, and almost falling off my English Racer bike over an exposed tree root.
Danny saw Rabbi Zimels some years ago, and I spoke with him. I may have written about that conversation somewhere else in these memoirs. Rabbi Zimels wanted to know HOW I made a living from the work I did. I sometimes wonder myself.
Learning Talmud with Rabbi Manfred Fulda
By the time I was a senior I began to ‘get it.’ A bit late, I think, for my rabbinic career. Had I been more confident earlier on I would have been perhaps a rabbi, although I’m not sure. In Rabbi Fulda’s class, held on the 5th floor in the ‘back,’ at the very end of the building, I was able to finally begin to enjoy Talmud. I really, in fact, wasn’t very good. I was in the B class, with the less talmudically gifted.
Rabbi Fulda, a brilliant teacher, was born in Ulm, Germany. I don’t remember the exact details about his escape from the Nazis, other than his father had been in a concentration camp, was released, and the entire family left Germany that night. One person called the other, and they got onto the train out of Germany. Like so many others, Rabbi Fulda would talk only a little about those terrible times.
But Rabbi Fulda made it interesting, as well as allowed us to smoke in class. I met Rabbi Fulda about 30 years ago at the Machane Chodosh synagogue. He was youthful as ever, probably around 60 or so, dancing, and had stopped smoking. He turned out to be the first cousin of Rabbi Manfred Gans.
I liked learning. I’m not sure I would be a good student today. Although I see others doing it, studying for semicha, getting through. I always had a sense of inferiority in studying Talmud. I had the same sense in studying biology and chemistry, and thus assumed I would never become a doctor. It was a fear that I couldn’t memorize as well as the others. Current daily performance in the ‘memory section’ puts that to rest.
A bit discursive I think. Remember the time with Rabbi Fulda opens the key to many impressions, one that I am hastily recording.
Rabbi Fulda showed up at the 50th reunion of our class. He was in his late 80’s then, and probably now in his early 90’s. We are coming up to the 55th reunion, in 2016. I hope to see him again.
I did see Rabbi Fulda in the mid 1980’s, dancing way at the Machane Chodosh synagogue in Forest Hills. Rabbi Fulda is first cousins with Rabbi Manfred Gans. Both have the same first name, and probably are named after the same person. At that time, 30+ years ago, Rabbi Fulda had already stopped smoking, and was full of energy.
In retrospect I was blessed to study with him.
Rabbi David Weinbach must have been around 30 when I entered MTA. He was the assistant registrar, with Norman B Abrams (The Jap) as the registrar. Both were far more accomplished than I assumed them to be. I remember Rabbi Weinbach always smiling, although I’m sure there were lots of times he wasn’t smiling. Those who were temporarily ‘suspended’ would have to sit outside the office. I may have been suspended, I’m not sure.
Rabbi Weinbach may have lived in Queens. I vaguely remember him giving us rides home, from time to time, but my memory may be faulty here.
He recently passed. May his memory be a blessing.
David was born on November 14, 1928 and passed away on Friday, January 21, 2011.
David was a resident of Woodmere, New York.
Published: January 27, 2011
WEINBACH–Rabbi David. We join with his many friends, colleagues, loving family and a vast community of former students and campers in mourning the death of David Weinbach, January 20, 2011. The principal of Yeshiva University High School For Boys – Manhattan and head of Camp(s) Lavie and Raleigh for nearly four decades, he was a gifted educator, a mentor and a role model who exemplified personal integrity, commitment to life-long Torah study and secular higher learning and to whole-hearted participation in the unique joys and obligations of life as an American Orthodox Jew. David’s influence will live on in the accomplishments of the young people who have worked in each new decade to assure the vitality of Jewish family and communal life, at home and in Israel. Our heartfelt condolences to his beloved wife, Lee, our dear friend, to his devoted children, grandchildren and brothers. We will treasure the memory of David’s warm friendship. May the family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem. Gabrielle Propp, Amory Propp, Deborah and Moshe Zwang and family
The YU Bookstore
I was always a reader. I would play with Dad’s books, and occasionally filch one and put it in my library, very afraid that Dad would punish me. One of the books that I filched was A century of Jewish Life, in the same format as Graetz.
Then there was the Pomonok Library, my first experience with a library, and the great joy of going to the library. And, of course, the same joy going to the library on Horace Harding. There I had a desire for other books. I used to carry home a load of books from Horace Harding (Long Island Expressway) to my house on 195 St. and Union Turnpike. A shlep in winter, a delight in spring, summer and fall.
But nothing at all could equal the great joy of the YU Bookstore. I discovered it in my junior year, buying the English translation of the Rambam’s Moreh Nevuchin (Guide to the Perplexed), in a gorgeous green, gold, and perhaps a little red cover. I think it was the Michael Friedlander translation.
I also ended up buying the Modern Library’s Great Tales of Terror and The Supernatural, in November, 1959. This would be my junior year.
And then there was the discovery of the Modern Library in December, 1960. With Mr. Leibel’s assignment, I bought the first volume, the works of Swift. I would be there every day, looking, planning thinking of the next book I’d buy. The bookstore was located in the Main Building, making it easy for me to visit during lunch hours. I tried not to each lunch but rather to save my money to buy Modern Library books.
That desire for books turned me into a bookstore hound, as I frequented the used bookstores around 20st and Fourth Avenue, near the Strand Bookstore. These stores, alas, exist no more, but when I was 16-19 I loved roaming about, looking for the perfect book. There was always the history for sale, Will and Ariel Durant’s magnificent set. I remember their multicolored magnificent covers. But alas. I should have purchased a set.
Thoughts on walking around the Bais Medrash
I always felt like an outsider at MTA. I was Conservadox, not orthodox, not conservative, and in my own case not particular comfortable with Talmud, commentaries, etc. I felt simply inadequate, watching the older students in the learning room, the ‘beis medrash’ study. They swayed, talked, argued, thumbs up to make a point. How much of this was patterned after social models of their Rebbes I don’t know.
Do I wish I had been more like them? I also don’t know. Would I have been happy in the Beis Midrash world? I think so. My father, a’h, yearned for the enlightened world. I sort of did. I am happiest writing, alone, doing my stuff.
Walking around in the Beis Midrash. I wish I could have, with more kavanah. I missed so very much being me. I want still to learn, to study, to immerse myself in the Talmud, in the holy writings. But I don’t. So behaviorally I don’t. It’s a push pull. Oy.
Discovering the ‘genizah’ on the roof of the YU Building
It was either the end of the junior year, or the beginning of the senior year. I was wont to wander around the building. The big, 1927 building at 186 St. and Amsterdam Ave. was an oriental type wonder. Although recently constructed, some 32 years before I discovered it, the building was nonetheless a source of mystery to me. There were sections that were off limits, areas such as around the auditorium that I never knew, and of course the roof, walled in, with storage areas.
In one of the areas I found mercury in a vial (no touch), iodine in crystals (no touch), and old books. The old books were a great discovery. One of them was the 6th and 7th books of Moses, the occult stuff. Another was a small siddur from the 1600s or 1700’s, and so forth.
I cannot even today describe the sense of wonderment at discovering these places, and the secret room. It was a paradise to discover, even if in the end I was to discover virtually nothing of great interest. My writing today, recalling what happened 55 years ago, is still informed by the excitement of the discovery.
I looked up the 6th and 7th books of Moses.
After daylight savings time began, the last Sunday in April, our Sunday classes would stop earlier. I’m not sure what time we got out. It might have been 2pm. Otherwise school was 8:30 am to 6:00 pm, a long and grueling day. The short Sundays were great. Often we’d get a ride back with Mr. Goldstein, who taught English (3rd year). I don’t exactly remember what we did with Short Sundays, but I remember thoroughly enjoying them. It meant that the school year was drawing to a close, a school year that up to then seemed to have dragged out interminably. Now, of course, the year seems to go by in about 15 minutes.
My first teacher for Talmud was Rabbi Yechiel Grossman. We called him Yiggie. Yiggie was single, looking for a Rabbinical post, and teaching us Talmud, specifically the tractate of Ben Sorer u Moreh (the rebellious son). I wasn’t too aware of things at the time. Yiggie spoke with an accent, of course. I now realize how I wasted those precious moments. Yiggie (I can’t stop saying that) was a scholar.
Jealous of Johnny Greer
There are some people who have ‘magic’ in school, who study well, and who get very high marks. I was never one of them. My dear sister Judy was the valedictorian of her school, Central, and was precisely that type of student. I was very jealous of her, although as Judy says today, 55 years later it means only that she studied well.
Despite Judy’s statement, there are students who get 99’s. Johnny (Dr. Jonathan) Greer was one of these. Ozzy (Irving) Klein was another. These were brilliant students. I don’t mean that they necessarily struck me as profound in their brilliance, but rather that they were able to get high grades in a consistent manner. It might well have been study habits, but these habits were well concealed.
I was jealous, not so much of them per se, but rather jealous and despondent because despite all my efforts my grades progressed up slowly, over time. Even with my systematic studying method, a method taught to me by Mom, studying little bits at a time, I was never able to perform quite as well as Johnny Greer in anything. Johnny ended up getting a BA from Princeton and a PhD from Columbia.
Over the years I have talked to my MTA classmates, the ‘chevra’ who knew Johnny from MDS, Manhattan Day School. Johnny was a hard worker, although no one exactly knew it. He was put together better, always dressed for school, and essentially was savvier in what to do, at least then. Although no longer jealous of Johnny, life has seen to that, I still am in awe of his ability to study, and to ‘ace’ tests. I ‘ace’ things as well, but I attribute it to my obsessive preparation, a preparation which is systematic, comprehensive, and long, sometimes overly long compared to others. Batool Batalvi called it being prepunctual in everything I do.
Discovering the beautiful Moreh Nevuchim, the Michael Friedlander edition
During some time of my sophomore year at MTA, 1958-1959 I discovered the YU bookstore, in a room all the way in the ‘back,’ I think on the 4th floor. I was entranced by the books, a small selection, but interesting ones. One book which continued to draw my attention was the English translation of Maimonide’s Guide to the Perplexed, in Hebrew the Moreh Nevuchim. It was a beautiful light yellowish green cover, with gold and red.
It’s important to remember that this was the 1950’s, and there were precious few books of the Jewish intellectual heritage available in English. There was, of course, the Soncino collection of Tanach (Torah, Neviim, Kethubim), and the Danby Mishna. I also found later that there was another translation of the Talmud, the Rodkinson edition, but no one talked about it.
I was so in love with the idea of studying these important works in an available language that I bought the Friedlander edition, and tried to study some of it. It was difficult, although a year later, around December 1960 or January 1961 I would read Aquinas’ Summa Theologica from the Modern Library with only a modest amount of difficulty. I still have the copy of the Moreh Nevuchim.
The Chevra Over the Years
By way of introduction
I’ve always had one or two friends. Never popular really, I held on to friends to for decades, as the most precious people in my life, relatives aside. And now at the age of 72, or 72 and four months as one of my grandchildren would say, correcting Grandpa with a gleeful smile, I find that the greatest joy of friendship is with a group of guys with whom I was ‘incarcerated’ in high school, 58 years ago. We meet now, seven of us, the ‘chevra’ or the Boyz (grace a Harv and Guido aka Hank). And so it is with great pleasure, and truly gratitude to G-d for this gift of friendship that I write these words, beginning September 9, 2016, 58 years after we first met.
The world as I knew it in 1958
I had graduated Yeshiva of Central Queens in June, 1958. To say that I was a poor student at YCQ would be an understatement. I was beyond poor as a student. I was a debacle in the making. I don’t know why, but I do know what. As obsessive as I am today about doing everything that must be done, in time, properly, I deliberately left coursework unread, unstudied. In some ways I had never met anyone like myself, so deliberately indifferent to work. I was, in other words, a train wreck of a person. I had few redeeming qualities. Sports was not one of them. I read a lot.
And so June, 1958 rolled around, my grades were poor as always, and I, in a fit of depressive anger, took Dad’s inexpensive watch that he gave me, a Tressa, and jumped on top of it a few time, breaking it. After that I ran out, and down to Francis Lewis Boulevard and Union Turnpike, walked around the lot, crying, and then came home. I had hit bottom.
I don’t remember what happened in the summer of 1958, but in the fall I marched off to high school, starting in the 10th grade. When I entered, I did so with four others, making five of us, Elliot Katz, Larry Pomerantz, Charlie Strober, one more, beside myself. Mike Fine and Bernard Rubin were already there. It could be that one of the two, Mike or Bernie, was already in TA, and the other graduated with us in the 9th grade.
It was frightening, coming in to the school. I knew they were serious, but still I carried with me the scars and craziness of my early teens. That behavior manifested itself in the low grades that I ‘achieved’ the first semester, continuing that great tradition of failure.
Mom, however, worked with me. She taught me how to study. I’ve already talked about her wonderful help.
And I made one friend, Lester Levine. All my life I have had a limited number of dear friends, but cannot say that I am a loner at all. I do like people
Graduation and going our separate ways
I couldn’t wait to graduate MTA. I really didn’t have many friends outside of Lester. I was not a loner, but rather lived far away, was shy, and suffered a lot. It was my adolescence, I was doing poorly in school although striving and going upward, little by little. Finally, I was not a jock. In my yearbook, the writers mercifully put the condemning few words, intramurals, and a few others, the mark of the supreme nebbish.
So it was no surprise that I failed to keep up with anyone except Lester. There were a number of us who went to Queens College, but I could scarcely remember any social interactions, except creating a houseplan. All the yeshiva guys disappeared from my screen, having had enough of each other. They have, in fact, truly disappeared from my life, to the point that except for reunions, and perhaps not even then, I saw only one person once, Larry Pomerantz.
Years passed. College passed. And MTA was a long-ago event, albeit one which stays and remained in my mind with far greater clarity of the memory of events and emotions than did the four years afterwards at Queens College, where I was far happier, far more successful. Yet, for the life of me the memories of Queens College are neither compelling emotionally nor vivid in their facts and sensibilities.
Coming together about six years ago
We met in the afternoon at the Harvard Club. I knew Harv and Hank would be there. Roddy showed up. Roddy and I were not friends in high school, but we have become closer friends since, and especially since his wife Ellen became sick and then passed. Then Sergio, and Side Schiffman and Charlie Tarlowe, and by long distance through me and also Harv, Flip Morginstin. All dear and close friends. The treasures of my days.
We meet every so often at the Harvard club or in New Jersey. These lunches are an eitz chaim, a tree of life for me. Surprisingly, I have no such strong friends from elementary school, although Eli Faber is becoming a close friend, he from YCQ. Not from college nor from graduate school. It’s something to do with the coming of age in high school, just like my father’s sort of coming of age (as it were, lehavdil) in the US Army during WWII. It was the only time anyone referred to Dad as Moe. Moe Moskowitz. I’m Dr. Mo to the kids, but Howie to the high school chevra. And I love that name…from them.
There have been sad occasions and happy occasions. Sad was the passing of Ellen, Roddy’s wife, o’bm. I have had ongoing sadness with Arlene as she is declining from the ravaging dementia of Pick’s Disease, for the past five years.
There have been less sad, but more concerned occasions. Harv suffered a heart attack, but came out of it fine. Roddy suffered some heart issues, was confined to the hospital, and ended up calling and texting me. It was strange. Here was a perfect rational man threatening a lawsuit if they didn’t let him out right away. We all laugh about it now. I think Serge’s father passed during this time, but I’m not sure.
Then there are the happy occasions, like Hank and Wendy’s 50th wedding anniversary, and a wonderful lunch, August, 2015, in their shul. And meeting up in Israel with Serge and Larry Shores in Jerusalem. I’ve seen Larry twice afterwards.
Chevra wanna be’s, could be’s
We have opened up the chevra to others, but they, sadly, have not come in. One was Steve Lerman, who is always traveling. Another is Jay Lueger, who I say from time to time at Queens College. A third is Michael XXX (another senior moment, which I will leave in here….i can see him exactly, hear his voice, when not thinking of it, it’s Mike Harris), who is a pediatric oncologist in New Jersey.
We occasionally treat others who are far away as ‘distant chevra.’ These include Lester Levine in Cleveland. Lester was my closest friend in MTA, and my best man with Arlene. In Israel there is Flip Morginstin, friends with Harv, who left after the sophomore year. And Surfing Bro, Ron Graftstein.
So to end this little note, a wonderful group for me. Brothers after so many years. I am grateful to them.
Thank you Bro’s. And to dozens more years together, even though our conversation resembles Sid’s office talk, with whatever meds we’re taking, whatever procedures we’re having, whatever agro and agmas nefesh is going around, stopping, landing on one of us. There’s the BOYZ to give chizuk.