By Yael Goodman, Tani’s sister
The First Anniversary of Tani’s Death.
A year has passed since you were injured and went to your world. Down here, everything has changed. It has been a year since everything looks different, smells different and tastes different. There is no room for thoughts that used to occupy my mind, no room for dilemmas that’s used to pop up daily. What’s important now is that we are alive, and this life we need to live with the most meaning and doing. Tani, you lived the meaning and you lived your decisions. It’s always so easy to talk; the most difficult and challenging thing to do is to do. Now we stand in front of your grave, after a year of pain, a year with a profound feeling of loss and of heaviness and sadness. But together with all those feelings we all experienced a year of doing. It’s like you entered each of our souls and lived through us. We learned not only to talk but also to do. I see now that you live through us in the most positive and building way. You will forever flow in our blood, not only because you’re family but because we will accomplish every thing you didn’t and we want to live the way that you chose.
In the Kabbalah of the AR”I it’s believed that the world was created by the divine light, the eternal light, but because this light was too strong for this world, this mortal world, there was the “Breaking of the vessels” the vessels that channeled this divine light were broken because they couldn’t withhold this strong light. And that is why, in this world we are always trying to mend these broken vessels by doing good deeds. You Tani, you fixed and mended, you succeeded to bring through you this divine light. You were a true Ztadik (righteous one) and our mortal world couldn’t contain the hidden light that you brought in to the world. A year ago, the vessels broke and the light returned to its place. And that is why now everything that we are doing is mending and fixing. If it is the projects about Organ Donation, the Maratani- the project that helps pupils study for their bagruyot exams by your method of teaching and helping others. If it’s the fact the people use you as a role model. That’s what we are doing now. Mending the vessels, your light will forever flow through us and every one who you knew and touched.
This week is a concluding week–a week that concluded one of the most important years for very many people. This week could be used as a model regarding how to deal with death; on the one hand to remember, to cry, and to yell out “Why?” But on the other hand, on Friday we are going to praise your name, sing and rejoice life in the way that fit your personality the most. We are celebrating the dedication of the “Sefer Torah” for your school. We will dance, sing and thank God. The Torah is a source of life, and we are joyful for the life that we have. We should feel the hurt and pain of your death, but always remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
This year has symbolized our love for you, our love that is eternal as opposed to your mortal body. Our relationship will never be the same; we will never gain experiences from your existence. But we will experience all of it in your name. We just need to get used to a new relationship that was formed between us, instead of crying for what we don’t have.
I thank you Tani for the time that you were here, not for the time that you won’t be here. (Of course I will curse the moment that gate closed on you.) I thank you for the direction and way that you gave us all. And now, after a year has passed, a year that was heavy to bear, it’s time to remember you with love, not with pain, to laugh about the things you would laugh from and not to cry about your absence.
The religious framework that we grieve in gives us a chance to conclude, take a deep breath and move on to the next year. Forever we will remember you and forever you will live inside of us.
I love you and darn it, when are you coming back??????????
עברה שנה מאז שנפצעת והלכת לעולמך. כאן למטה, הכל השתנה, כבר שנה הכל נראה אחרת, מריח אחרת וטועם אחרת. אין יותר מקום למחשבות שהיו פעם, לדילמות שהיו פעם. מה שחשוב עכשיו זה שאנחנו חיים. ואת החיים האלה צריך להעביר עם כל המשמעות והעשייה. אתה תני, חיית את המשמעות, חיית את ההחלטות שלך. זה כ”כ פשוט לדבר, הדבר הכי קשה ומאתגר זה לעשות. עכשיו שאנחנו עומדים מול הקבר שלך, אחרי שנה של כאב, שנה עם תחושה של אובדן ושל כבדות ועצבות. אבל יחד עם זאת עברה על כולנו שנה של עשייה, זה כמו שנכנסת לנשמה של כל אחד מאיתנו וחיית דרכינו. כולנו למדנו לא רק לדבר, אלא גם לעשות. אני רואה עכשיו שאתה חי דרכינו בצורה הכי חיובית ובונה. אתה לעולם תזרום בדם שלנו, לא רק בגלל שאתה משפחה, בגלל שאנחנו נגשים את כל מה שאתה לא הספקת, אנחנו רוצים לחיות בדרך שאתה בחרת.
בקבלת האר”י מאמינים שהעולם נברא ע”י האור האלוהי-האור האינסופי. בגלל שהאור הזה היה חזק מדי בשביל העולם הסופי הזה, היה שבירת כלים, הכלים שהובילו את האור נשברו כי לא יכלו להכיל את האור האלוהי. ולכן אנחנו בעולם הזה מנסים לתקן את הכלים האלה כדי להגיע לאור האלוהי. אתה תיקנת, אתה הצלחת להביא דרכך את האור האלוהי, היית היה צדיק אמיתי בכל רמ”ח איבריך. העולם הסופי שלנו לא יכל להכיל את האור הגנוז שהצלחת להביא לעולם, לפני שנה הכלים נשברו והאור חזר למקומו. ולכן עכשיו כל מה שאנחנו עושים זה לעסוק בתיקונים. אם זה העלאת המודעות בציבור על תרומת איברים, המרתני- הפרוייקט שעוזר לתלמידים ללמוד לבגרויות ע”י השיטה שלך, של ללמד ולעזור לאחרים . ואם זה רק העובדה שאנשים משתמשים בך כמודל לחיקוי, אנחנו עוסקים כולנו עכשיו בתיקון הכלים. האור שלך לעולם יזרום דרכינו ודרך כל מי שהכרת ונגעת.
השבוע הזה הוא שבוע מסכם, שבוע מסכם של השנה הכי משמעותית להרבה מאד אנשים. השבוע הזה משמש כמודל על איך אפשר להתמודד עם מוות. מצד אחד, לזכור, לבכות לכאוב ולזעוק לשמים למה??? אבל מצד שני, אנחנו ביום שישי הולכים להלל את החיים בצורה הכי מתאימה לאישיות שלך ולסיטואציה של מה שהשנה הזאת לימדה אותנו, הכנסת ספר תורה לזכרך, נרקוד ונשיר ונודה לאלוהים. תורה כמקור חיים, הילולת ספר תורה כמו התכנסות של שמחה על החיים שיש לכולנו. צריך לזכור ולדאוב, אבל לעולם לשמוח ותמיד לראות שיש המון אור בקצה המנהרה.
השנה הזאת סימלה את האהבה שלנו כלפיך, אהבה שהיא אינסופית מול הסופיות של הגוף שלך. המערכת יחסים שלנו לעולם לא תהיה אותו דבר, לא נצבור יותר חוויות מקיומך, אבל נחווה את כל החוויות בשמך. אנחנו פשוט צריכים להתרגל למערכת יחסים חדשה שנוצרה בנינו במקום לבכות על מה שאין לנו.
אני מודה לך תני על הזמן שכן היית פה, ולא על כל הזמן שלא תהייה פה. (כמובן שיהיו רגעים שאני יקלל את הרגע שהשער נסגר עליך…) אני מודה לך על הדרך ועל הכיוון שהענקת לכולנו. ועכשיו, אחרי שעברה עלינו שנה קשה מנשוא, הגיע זמן להיזכר בך באהבה ולא בכאב, לצחוק על הדברים שאתה הייתה צוחק מהם ולא לבכות על חסרונך.
המסגרת הדתית שבתוכה אנחנו אבלים נותנת לנו הזדמנות לסכם ולקחת נשימה עמוקה לעבור לשנה הבאה. לעולם נזכור אותך, ולעולם אתה תחייה בתוכנו.
אני אוהבת אותך ובאמת מחכה שתבוא כבר הביתה. חלס
Letter from Jerry to Micah
Letter from Jerry to Micah in September, 2003–on the Hartman annual trip to Poland, in the footsteps of his younger brother, Tani.
It is hard to believe that Yom Kippur, that great day when Penitence, Charity, and Prayer averts the highest decree, and Succoth, where we relive our sojourn in the Dessert on the way from slavery to Freedom, have passed. Again there is a trip to Poland and now you our walking in the ashes of our people who sojourned in the Diaspora and were given the severest of decrees. Penitence, Charity and Prayer did not help them and their sojourn was in Auschwitz and Treblinka on the way to death and not to the Promised Land. I, like so many before me, have great questions about a just and merciful G-d when goodness is rewarded by death and the gate to freedom has been closed by gas, fire and electricity. Yet as you taught me; life after death is the meaning that you give to life. Six million died and a Jewish State was born yet millions also died in Egypt before a Jewish state was born. In both cases, death brought life. It is almost as if the great pain of slave labor and death was to the Pharaoh as it was to the Fuehrer. Our entrance fee into the Holy Land. In death there was a re-birth– in death there was life.
I know what a very special meaning this year’s trip has. Tani walked your path just a year ago. He took it very seriously and was the most meaningful experience of his life. Tani was our symbol of Penitence, Charity, and Prayer. He was also our symbol of Israel: The Jewish State. No man I have ever known was such a lover of both Israel and Torah. His symbol among his friends was a Torah Scroll, his message to his friends was to love G-d, Man and Torah and to come and live in “ Eretz Yisrael” He helped the unfortunate, the Olim, the people who were only here temporarily. He was the last person to deserve the severest decree. Yet in his death he enriched and changed many lives in such significant ways that it gave a rebirth not only to those recipients of his organs but to many lost souls that will now find their Freedom in the meaning that his death gave to their lives.
Netanel Yizchak Goodman was the symbol of every hope that a generation lost in the Holocaust would have dreamed. Tani was there, it changed him, he became not only more dedicated to Torah, he also became more dedicated to his friends and community. His visit to Poland gave him a deeper faith in G-d and guided him back to his love of his friends and surroundings. In the ashes of the Holocaust Tani completed his sojourn and came to the Holy Land.
I can only hope that you will return from this trip enhanced in your belief in G-d and your commitment to serve mankind.
I always love you and Zippy,
Bill and Joyce Love
Jan. 28th, 2003
Dear Margaret & Jerry,
Just wanted you to know that Joyce & I are thinking of you–&
Tani–today, on the 1st anniversary of his death. He was such a great
guy & we feel privileged to have known him. We hope that time, plus the
knowledge that he is in a very good Place, will continue to heal your
You are always in our prayers.
Kathy Ramseur, Maggie’s sister
January 28, 2003
Dearest Loved Ones in Israel,
It seems in January that I have not been able to get all of you off of mind and out of my heart. I wake in the night praying for you and remembering Tani. I have so many wonderful memories of Tani. The time he and his mother traveled to OKC for Mother’s Day when Tani was 2. What a little scudder. He had such a head of curly, blond hair. The time he came in the summer with all the family and you all stayed at the farm. Meg brought Kate and they had such a wonderful time. We spent so many hours laughing with them.
I think of the month that I was privileged to be in Israel with mother and had so many evenings with Tani and Jerry and Tani studied for this Bar Mitzva (don’t laugh at my spelling, I am a goy). The whole preparation and days of the event. The Thursday at the Wall, The time in the shul, listening to Tani read, and of course the big party. I laugh every time I think of Tani going with me to the beauty shop. He was to tell the hair dresser to not cut my hair much at all and when the guy took the first long strand of hair and cut it off, Tani got this horrified look on his face and left the shop. I ended up shorn but lovely.
I remember Art and I picking up Tani at the airport. I am not sure why we picked him up and where Mag and Jerry were but we had a whole afternoon with him and had such fun. I think that was the same summer you guy stayed at the farm and Tani and I played in the pool all the time. He had no other kids around so I became his playmate. He had such a sense of humor.
I remember so clearly when you all came to Mom’s birthday party and stayed at the farm. (The mice moved over in the beds for a few days) After the Shabbat meal someone asked a question and Tani was the one to answer it. He was so bright and clear about all he said and when he stumbled on a word in English he would look to Micah and Micah would smile and tell him… It was so obvious how proud of him Micah was.
My heart will be with you tomorrow all day. I so wish I could be there. I love all you so much and have such a high level of respect of all of you.
Charles Love, Maggie’s nephew
Charles Love, Maggie’s nephew from California.
March 3, 2003
Dear Aunt Maggie, Uncle Jerry, D’vorah, Micah, Yaeli & Avi,
I have been thinking of you (all) and I have written this letter in my heart and head many times over.
I have so much love in my heart for you and your family. I have so many good memories of time we have spent together. I was thinking of the time that you came to California in August 1999 with Tani right after Chaz was born. You were the first of my family to hold my new born son. I have a story I would like to share.
There story is about a two caterpillars. One day the one caterpillar wakes up to find a cocoon instead of his friend. The little caterpillar is so sad because he misses his friend. Then one day the cocoon is empty and the little caterpillar wonders what has happened. The other caterpillar from the cocoon has become a beautiful butterfly and is flying high in the sky above his friend. The caterpillar does not notice the butterfly because he is down on the ground. But the butterfly can see his friend. Only on the top of the mountain can we see the whole view, can we see what we have done and what we can do.
Love never dies. Love is eternal. Life is like a tree. A seed falls from the tree and is but a seed. But when the seed falls into the ground it becomes a tree. The other seeds on the ground do not see or realize that the tree is where life begins anew. We are like seeds. Some of us take years and years searching for the perfect ground to plant. Some seeds need only be here a short time and find the perfect soil of the heart.
Netanel is with us. He is in our hearts. He is in our thoughts. He is with us in our daily lives.
I love you,
Charles (Charlie boy) Love
Dearest Maggie and Jerry,
I only wish that I could have been there with you this week to hug you and sing with you. I often think of how shocked and pleased Tani must be in knowing how much you and I are so connected now. If it wasn’t for Tani’s accident, I might have not met you for a long time, and now, we are in close contact, and I even stayed at your house for two weeks!
My trip in Israel was not to be believed. No matter how much I say that I went to Israel to see my friends and spend time in Yeshiva, the true reason was to meet you. I would have been honored to meet you under better circumstances, but I do not regret meeting you now, at the time when I did…I’ll take a dose of the Goodman family any time and in any form I can get.
Noam Lockshin told me that Micha’s shiur was the most incredible experience. He practically recited the entire shiur to me over email and he was so impressed with Micha’s poise, eloquence and intellect. I know that tani admired Micha so much, and It isn’t hard to see why.
On Tani’s Yarzeit I went to minyan, and then late that night, Ariella and I learned in the beit midrash. We sat in the room and spoke about Tani and all the reasons why we wanted to dedicate our learning to him: Maggie and Jerry, he had and continues to have such a profound impact on us, that we owe him so much–our talmud Torah was for the aaliyah of his neshama.
The news of Illan Ramon and the 6 other crew members was absolutely devastating. Perhaps the most disturbug part is how ironic it all is: he had a tanach on board, kosher food, and he made kiddush on Friday night. Illan went out of his way to show pride in Israel and his Judaism, and yet it seems as thouugh there were other plans in store…
On another note-
School is starting off wonderfully and my classes are enjoyable. I have become involved in chesed and more learning, and I hope to get involved in other ways as much as possible. LA was most gorgeous and hot. WOW, i love home!
I miss you and think about you daily, at LEAST TWICE, and can’t wait to see of hear from you soon.
all my love,
Sara Brodbar Nemzer
Jan. 23, 2003
As my 19th birthday approaches I have been trying to figure out how I am going to celebrate it and how to explain to my non-Jewish friends what a yartzeite is. I wanted to share with you some of my reflections on how I will mark these two important anniversaries, and also how I marked another meaningful one this year.
Tani’s yartzeite falls on my birthday (January 28th) this year. I am afraid that it is going to be a hard day. But a part of me knows that there is a beautiful lesson for me to learn from this.
I cannot remember if I e-mailed you guys after Tani’s birthday this year. I definitely wrote you many e-mails in my head, I just don’t know if I sent any of them. If I did and I am repeating myself I apologize.
For Tani’s birthday this year people all around the world took a firmer hold on life—at least that is how I see it. There was a big big event in Jerusalem, but what I want to tell you about is what happened in my little corner of the world that I lovingly refer to as the middle of nowhere. As some of you know I am in Halifax Nova Scotia, where I have become friends with Tani’s sister Yael (what a good Israeli girl is doing in this frozen city is another question…but she is here for the year). I could spend hours talking about the “beshert” nature of the situation, but what I really want to tell you about is the birthday present that Yael gave her brother.
For the 18th anniversary of his birth Yael held an evening in his honour. She got a spectrum of members of the Jewish community together and held an evening on organ donation in Tani’s memory. What an amazing lesson. What a perfect way to celebrate his birth. For me the first two things when I think about Tani are his flare for life and his generosity of spirit. Both of which are so present in organ donation. It seems as though without him to share his birthday with we should try to share with the world what made his birth special. I think about this a lot. How to remember the gifts that Tani gave me without him here to remind me of them. He is not here to remind me how to do it so I have to make sure to remind myself.
I feel like on my birthday this year a part of me will be mourning our loss. But another part, or maybe even the same part, will be trying to remember that Tani would have viewed my birthday as an important date. That his gift to me for my birthday is a reminder that this life is here for me to live. I think that a lot of people say things like this (Carpe Diem type thoughts) after someone they know passes away, but I don’t think, no, I know, that it is not just Tani’s death that makes me think about this, but more importantly his life. So rather than it being a day when I think about death I am going to try to make it a day when I think about life. When I can be grateful for mine and grateful that it intersected with his, and yes sad that it can no longer.
Paul Simon was on in the background when I started this letter. The cd just finished and I put on the BYFI cd from March in its place. You guys are singing Havdalah right now. How can we let the light of two different things shine on each other, keeping their own integrity, but still letting the brightness of one enrich the other? Shabbat with Saturday night. Mourning with Joy.
Now Elisabeth and Adam are singing/playing the song to Tani and I am going to go do my reading for class tomorrow. Finding a balance might just be what this world is all about.
Ps-I miss you all very much and think about you often…I would like to eco Eli’s observation of our lack of use of this list serve. I would love to hear about what is going on in your lives
Ps2-here is an amazing link that Yael gave me about Jewish views on organ donation. You should take a look and then try to pass on the info to anyone else who you think might be interested. www.hods.org it is a great cause
Ps3-It really is a small world. The evening event for Tani’s birthday was also in memory of a boy named Yoni Jesner, who has some family living here in Halifax. He was killed in an attack in Israel this year, and was a classmate of Noam’s. Small small world. Yael also shared some things about his life at the event and I met his relatives (I think they were cousins). He seemed to have a lot in common with Tani too.