Friday, January 02, 2009

An Unexpected Farewell

A week ago my family lost a beloved friend, who also happened to be our Senior Rabbi Emeritus. I mentioned this still-shocking loss on my other blog a few days ago. But I hadn't yet figured out how I'd write about it here.

Yesterday, the New Jersey Jewish News published an article about Rabbi Barry H. Greene. And I thought I'd share it with all of you.

Simply on the writing front, "Barry," as I was privileged to call him, was a staunch champion of all my work. Most recently, he complimented this review, and, knowing my family as he did, e-mailed his appreciation for this blog post.

He also always did his best to "connect" me whenever he could. The NJJN piece includes a sidebar about his work on the newspaper's Board of Trustees; I am quite sure that it was my telling an editor (at his urging), that Barry had referred me that facilitated my writing a number of book reviews for the paper in the 1990s.

The most significant writing I've done this past week is the text of my family's public tribute to him. I'll leave this post with those words, which appeared in The New York Times on Monday.

GREENE--Rabbi Barry H. One summer Saturday 30 years ago, Rabbi Greene welcomed us to our first service at Temple B'nai Jeshurun. On that morning we could not yet realize how much we would come to love and depend on him. Over the years, he has enriched our lives in countless ways with his wise and loving guidance and friendship. We will miss him always. The Dreifus Family


Anonymous said...

Erika: Your words of tribute touched us all. What that sidebar did not say, by the by, is that Dad sat at our dining room table with countless other papers cutting and pasting them, finding the pieces and aesthetics he liked and thought should be in our revised/revitalized Jewish News in the paper's efforts to transform.
Thanks and more thanks to you all.
ps I remember either that first meeting or a Friday soon after!

Erika D. said...

Oh, Lisa--Thank YOU.

deonne kahler said...

Erika, you were lucky to have such a wonderful friend and mentor. I'm sure he'll be greatly missed.

John said...

What an admirable life.

Mark Rennella said...


I'm sad to hear of your loss. Your words about him are touching.


Erika D. said...

Thank you all for your very kind words. He was truly very special.