15th anniversary in 2017
Tani’s 15th memorial at the Goodman home
My dear friends and family, Tani’s friends and family, and all of our children’s friends and families,
It has been 15 years since Tani physically left us at 17 years and 3 months old, but his presence is felt: because we talk about him, we have projects in his name, and we speak about him in the present tense.
Tani, like Yoseph, left his family at 17 to a new unknown world that– if it is according to Tani’s “Emuna Shalema”– is in Gan Eden; studying Torah, playing basketball, shmoozing, teaching and learning with his new heavenly friends while also welcoming the new arrivals.
My Grandmother, Fanya, left her home in Belarus when she was 17, the 3rd of 18 children. She was the daughter of a Shochet ( a ritual slaughterer). My grandmother walked from Belarus to Hamburg to come to take to ship to America in 1905. As she left home waving good bye to her family, her mother shouted at her : “Feigala Feigala (little bird), do not fly away.” She never saw or had contact with her parents again, yet she lived another 75 years.
A few years ago, I had a phone call from a man in Baltimore, Maryland, who told me he was my cousin. And he sent me a photo of my grandmother’s arrival certificate from Staten Island (where she landed by boat in NYC) and a picture of my grandmother’s whole family from 1907 in Belarus. The family was young, and my grandmother’s Grandparents looked younger than I do today. Yet my grandmother and her family lived in two separate, different worlds–with no connection to each other.
Happily she was re-united with her youngest sister in 1927. She came to be with my grandmother in America after 22 years. My Grandmother had been illiterate, but somehow made it day by day– in the Goldena Medina—America.
Yosef also did not see his family for about that same amount of time. He was 30 when he stood before Pharoah and led his adopted country’s economy and wealth ( Egypt was the Goldina Medina of the time) for 7 plentiful years and at least two years of ??famine, 22 years, until he met his brothers again. Except for those brothers involved in the plot, all thought that Yosef was killed by a wild beast while he was actually finding his way to becoming the leader of a foreign yet Golden Land. Egypt.
So that while our 17 year old Tani, who was injured on 02-02-02, is still physically the same in our memories, his soul and our vision of him changes with the years just 15 years later.
Tani was a young man with his strong points and his weaker ones but he has grown into a Legend that sometimes has allowed us to forget about the real Tani that we all knew during various if not all phases of his 17 years and 3 months in this world with us.
I want to take the opportunity tonight of talking a bit about Tani’s life as it was and calling on friends and family to join in.
Tani was born just after midnight on the 20th of November 1984. He was known as a Mamma’s boy, was spoiled, eat amazing amounts of food and was a bit awkward with his big size.
Now for comments by Tani’s siblings: Yaeli, Dvorah, Avichai, Micah
Comments by Tani’s friends : Netanel: Your 6th Birthday together Yaya, Moshik, Adam, Omer, Liron, Avital, Avishai Farchi, Ariel Gino, Yonatan Reiner.
As you have just heard, Tani lived many and sometimes amusing ways of life during his 17+ years. Maybe the most important change was when he was 16 and 17 when life made more sense to him and he quietly but very openly became very religious and remained so until his passing. So many of his family and friends were deeply influenced and continue to be influenced by Tani’s death.
I think that Tani would be so happy to see his friends together and I know he loved each and every one of you as you are.
When Tani died, he actually saved the lives of 4 people and gave sight to two others through his organ donation. These 6 people are all alive and well today. We do not have regular contact with these recipients, but they each have been given the gift of 15 added years to their lives as of today. Tani’s heart still beats and his kidneys and liver are still functioning with their new owners. His corneas still allow sight, his vision lives on and we promise to carry on his wide smile and ready sense of humor.
My grandmother and Yoseph HaZadik waited 22 years for a family reunion.
So just as Yoseph fed and sheltered his family, just as my Grandmother took in her sister and others and gave them food and shelter, so I hope that Tani’s physical and spiritual memory will continue to be a sustenance for us all. So, 15 years are but a drop of time for a man whose light will not go out and whose presence we feel always as we gather to remember him. Let’s hope that after 22 years we will all still be united in the memory of Tani who will always be thought of in the present.
Finally, Omer, lets sing a few of Tani’s favorite songs to your accompanying guitar. Than you everyone for coming to be with us tonight.
Howie and Elaine Nixon
Maggie and Jerry,
It was an incredible evening and you guys were fantastic as were the kids. I was so moved by everything, especially by Gino and that incredible statement of Tani, that when you can’t breathe, that doesn’t mean you don’t keep on going. In Tani’s case, that’s exactly what you did: when Tani stopped breathing, he kept on going, both spiritually in the hearts and minds of all who loved him and physically in the bodies of those people he saved.
My Micha always reminds me that in physics nothing is ever lost, mass or energy just gets converted into something else. I feel that is what has happened with Tani, nothing is lost, he just now exists in other forms.
Love you both so much,
Dearest Maggie and Jerry,
I wanted you to know that I am thinking of you and remembering beautiful Tani.
I wish I could be there in person to hug you and tell you how much I love you all.
I will see you in the summer.
Dear Goodman Family,
I often think about Tani’s warm welcome when I was a Bronfman Fellow. I want you to know that his warmth, his generosity, his intelligence and commitment to scholarship, his thoughtful nature, and his gratitude for every day continue to inspire me and so many others around the world. I will never forget his absolute joy not only in singing at the Bronfman retreat or admiring the stars over the water at the retreat center, but in sharing new songs and insights with others, teaching us to have the same sense of gratitude and awe in every moment.
May his memory continue to be a blessing.
Dear Maggie and Jerry!
Another year has passed and I am all too aware of the sadness you go through every February missing that darling Tani. We really are kindred spirits even without seeing each other. May God bless you with all lovely memories of your son. Hope you both are doing well. If you have a current photo of your family, will you send it through email?
With much love,