Funeral for a Mentor

Bernie Shapiro and me
Bernie and Me, in 2007 or 2008

A kind gentleman named Bernie passed away a couple of days ago. Bernie was the shofar blower at my temple from before I was born until 2008. He was not well enough to travel back from Florida last year, so I was on my own.

I sent Bernie a letter last year before the High Holidays telling him how much I was going to miss him on the bemah that year and that I hoped he would be in better health soon. I have no idea if he ever got the letter.

I remember Bernie as a short, kind man who was always interested in what was going on in your life. I wish I had spent more time to get to know him. Until I read his obituary, I had no idea of the things he had done in his life. But the biggest thing he did for me was to simply teach me how to blow the shofar. That small, kind act guided my entire life.

At the funeral, I’ll have the opportunity to say a few words if I so choose. I want to say something, but I’m not sure what. I suppose I can just say pretty much what I’ve said in this post.  I wonder if it would be rude or presumptuous of me to blow the shofar for him at the funeral. I’m not sure what my kavanah is regarding this idea.

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha’olam, dayan ha-emet.


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