My personal memory of a Jewish Teen Icon

As a writer, often I use the written word as a cathartic way of expression.  When my emotions are strongest I either can’t write or I need to write more than any other time.  As my emotions are strong tonight and you are reading this, clearly on this day the result was the latter.

Tonight I am deeply saddened by the news of the death of Ari Horowitz and his wife.  I am not a poser and won’t pretend Ari and I were ever close friends, but when I was 13 and 14 years old I knew him, liked him, and knew he was important to his friends even at a young age.   Ari was one of the most popular and influential people in the Jewish youth group of B’nei Akiva in Philadelphia when I would attend the activities in the mid-70s.  Try to understand how hard it is to be influential when you are that young.  And this was not someone who was arrogant, obnoxious, or ever anything but nice.  He was religious, friendly, and back then as I remember, fun.

Again, I did not know him well, but I do remember him fondly.  And my heart goes out to all his family and closest friends who are suffering greatly from this tragic news.

I am writing this on my blog for one important reason.  If there was anything I learned from writing my book it was to appreciate what God gives us when he gives it to us.  At any point in time it can all disappear.  Unfortunately part of life is to live with sadness and tragedy.  One of the most neglected responsibilities of man is to make the moments in between, the moments when we can experience joy and love and fulfillment, significant and important.  As the New Year approaches I urge everyone, Jew and non-Jew alike, to look at your life and take stock in all that is good so that you can appreciate it now rather than lament when it is gone over how it all passed you by.  This is more important than money and stature.  This is about that which God gives us that is one of, if not the most important things in life.  The people who enrich our life and enhance it.

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2 responses to “My personal memory of a Jewish Teen Icon

  • Yoni Reif

    Dear David.
    I’m Ari’s cousin from Israel. Your words saw that you could give and give to everyone and everyone will stamp a thanks in his hart. Here are my words that I said at the Levaya in Israel.
    בע”ה, ג’ בתשרי תשע”ג
    Dear my Loving cousin: Ari & Sari

    This last Shabbat, we read in shul
    “אתם ניצבים היום כולכם לפני ה’ א-לקיכם, … כל איש בישראל”
    All of Israel , regardless of their status are – a “Aish”. Regardless of their station, no one is up, and no one is down. Every איש gets the same honor from Hashem.
    These words from the Parasha were so accurate, Ari and Sari respecting every person for who they were –
    This Shabbat Right before leaving Shul, you reluctantly agreed to be honored by your congregations. You left shul on Shabbat for the last time, and are no longer NITZAVIM. Today we stand before you, Sadden and broken, standing here to give you a measure of honor so rightly deserved.
    Ari & Sari – Otiot ‘Aesh’
    There was no Mitzvah which you did not do without Msirot-Ha-nefesh.
    The Msirot-Ha-nefesh and Aesh hatora in every mitzvah.
    אהבת השם, אהבת העם, אהבת התורה, אהבת ישראל,
    אהבת ארץ ישראל, כיבוד אב ואם, גמילות חסדים ומתן בסתר.
    Loving Hashem, Loving Eretz Yisrael, Loving Am-Yisrael, and above all Loving Family.
    You both worked with a mesirot ha-nefesh that only maalet-tzdikim have. Every one of Ahavat hatora: leaders of the Young-Israel and Bnei Israel congregations in the states. Khilat-Mitzpah-Nevo here in Maaley-Adomim.
    Ahavat-Israel; Your were Bnei-Avika madrichim, shlichim and for the to bring jews to Israel.
    Ahavat Eretz-Israel: coming to Israel with the Hacsara program to Kibbutz Saad. Ari Joined צה”ל as a proud Jew in Israel.

    Ari & Sari you both had the Aesh for Eretz-Israel. Coming back together to live in Israel. With the love to Ahavat Hasem & Haam. You gave Ami the name Ami-Ad Nisim.
    After the untimely loss of your beloved brother Neil Nathan Yechiel Z”L. you went back to help out, putting your life here on hold just to be mekayem the mitzvah of Kibud-Av Va-Em.
    Looking out for the mispacha, putting them together with so much love and hard work, but not forgetting the rest of the mitzvoth that are around.
    With the birth of Natanya – thanking Hashem you both dove into a life of Gmilot-chasadim & matan beseter.
    Driving back and forth to the shore to look out for and check on our aunt Miriam Z”L, making sure that she get the right treatments that that the house was warm in the winter. You would say to me Sari: was there, went there, and will going again this week, where almost the secret code for another Mitzvah that was done.
    You both took care of Uncle Aaron Z”L in his illness, moving him near you so that he will get the best medical care.
    So many acts of Chesed-shel- Emet taking care of the others, putting up your money first then asking others to join the mitzvah
    In Shmuel Bet, King David mourns…
    הנאהבים והנעימים, בחייהם ובמותם לא נפרדו
    מנשרים קלו ומאריות גברו
    The heart of the word NSHARIM is your name SARI and the heart of the next is ARI.

    Ari & Sari your love and marriage was like Adam and Chava in Gan Eden, you had eyes only for each other, and so your names are already sealed in these books for Gan-Eden.

    We all yesterday were asking out
    “שכל המלאכים שהם פועלי תפילות, יביאו תפילתנו לפני כסא כבודך”
    Sy, Mirna, Michael, Aunt Eva, Uncle Yosi, Ami and Natanya

    Ari and Sari will escort our prayers before מלאכי השרת with all the Zatikim in Gan Eden.
    To you Ari & Sari, we found the place were you could go on and look down on your loving brother Neil Z”L which we all loved also.

    נוחו בשלום על משכבותיהם, ותהיו מליצי יושר בעד המשפחה וכל עם ישראל,
    תהא נשמתכם צרורה בצרור החיים, אמן.

    Your love cousin Yoni Reif (Shoham, Israel)

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