Karen and I would like to invite all our Seraphic Friends to the Third Annual Ariel Avrech Memorial Lecture.
Sunday, June 11, 2006.
The Young Israel of Century City
9317 West Pico Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Time: 10:00 AM
The lecture is free.
The Avrech Family & Friends are honored to present as our guest lecturer:
Mrs. Friedman is a world renowned scholar on The Five Books of Moses, and The Prophets.
The title of her lecture is: How Can We Come to Know G-d?
What does “knowledge” mean in the Bible? How do our ancestors come to “know” G-d in biblical times? In an age devoid of prophecy and open Divine revelation, how can each of us come to “know” G-d today?
Through an exploration of selected Torah texts as well as Midrashic and medieval commentaries, we will explore how the Torah defines and guides the relationship between G-d and human beings.
Mrs. Friedman was inspired to explore this topic by some of Ariel’s comments ZT’L in his article Bringing Purim Into Pesach on p. 113 of The Book of Ariel.
Rachel Friedman is Director of the Yesodot Foundations Program at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education in New York City. She also coordinates the Tanach program for the Drisha Scholar’s Circle. Rachel is an instructor of Bible and exegesis and has taught in Drisha’s Continuing Education, Beit Midrash, Talmud/Tanach and Scholar’s Circle Program.
Rachel is lead author of Joshua of the Tanach Yomi , Daily Torah Study series published by AMIT. She also contributes to each of the Tanach Yomi volumes on the Five Books of Moses.
Rachel has taught Bible at the Frisch School and at the Ma’ayanot Women’s Adult Education Program in Northern New Jersey. She has also practiced law at major law firms including Weil Gotshal & Manges in New York City.
Rachel has an MA in Bible from the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Yeshiva University and a JD from Columbia University School of Law. She also did graduate work at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.
A delicious brunch follows the lecture. If you want a taste of Offspring #2’s wedding, well, we’re using the very same caterer.
Interpolation: a short tale of food, medicine and Shabbos.
When Ariel was in the hospital waiting for a lung transplant, a transplant that never happened, there was a fine young physician, J., who cared for Ariel on a daily basis, and who’s relationship with Ariel expanded well beyond the normal doctor/patient boundaries.
This young doctor was and is Shomer Shabbos, a Sabbath observer, but naturally he does not keep the Sabbath in the hospital for his duties as a physician, the commandment to preserve life comes first–as prescribed by Halacha, Jewish law.
Shabbos in the hospital: after the sun fell, after Ariel and I davened, prayed, I poured grape juice for Ariel, and as if by magic, J., the young physician appeared in Ariel’s room, and Ariel chanted the Kiddush, the blessing over the grape juice.
J. sank heavily into a visitor’s chair.
“Ahhh, Shabbos,” he sighed.
We sang Shabbos z’miros, songs, together, and then Ariel gave a short d’var Torah, a Torah thought, without preparation, just off the top of his head.
J. never failed to be astonished at Ariel’s iron fortitude. You see, our son was hooked up to, gosh, so many machines. He was not even breathing on his own. And yet, and yet, Ariel insisted on living his life as prescribed by the Torah and the Mesorah–without one complaint, without conceding any of the holy parts because the whole was so damaged. Ariel ignored the broken parts. Karen called it, “healthy denial.”
Once, in all seriousness, J. confided to me: “Ariel, your son, he might be, have you ever considered that he’s one of the Lamed Vovniks?”
This is not something we Orthodox Jews suggest to one another very often, or lightly. In fact, pious Jews almost never seriously consider this notion. And yet J. is a deeply serious man and there was not a flicker of irony in his eyes nor a hint of self consciouness.
And since then, several people, all G-d fearing and learned, have proposed the very same thought to me.
Which makes me tremble. For the more time that passes the more vividy does our son come into focus and yes, there was something otherworldly about our Ariel Chaim.
And if you’d like a peek into how a writer loots material, read my book The Hebrew Kid and the Apache Maiden, where you will discover a whole storyline about the Lamed Vovniks.
When Ariel was niftar, when Ariel’s soul left his body, and J. found out, it’s the only time I ever saw one of my son’s doctors weep. J. was at Ariel’s funeral. J paid a shiva call.
And J.’s father catered Offspring #2’s wedding and will be catering the Ariel Avrech Memorial Lecture.
Attention Seraphic Secret University Students!
1. You will get extra credit for attending the lecture.
2. There will be a Seraphic Secret table reserved.
3. Bring your computers so you can communicate with one another if talking face-to-face proves too challenging.
4. No food fights.
5. Memo to Randi: No need to bring babake or coffee. Consider this your day off.
Karen and I can think of no more appropriate venue for meeting our Seraphic Friends. To us, you have extended great measures of comfort and generosity. We’d like to give something tangible back in return. The Third Annual Ariel Avrech Memorial Lecture would be a fine way indeed. And do keep in mind that by attending this lecture, you will be participating in the Mesorah. Yahrzeits have been observed since Talmudic times. It is a sign of reverance for the deceased. And yahrtzeit lectures, memorial lectures, are just as ancient.
Karen and I look forward to seeing you in a few weeks.