Jackie Danicki to Deliver 15th Annual Ariel Avrech Memorial Lecture

Ariel Chaim Avrech, ZT’L

You are all invited to the Fifteenth Annual Ariel Avrech ZT’L Memorial Lecture that will take place Sunday, June 10, 2018, at 10 AM, followed by brunch.

Location: Young Israel of Century City

9317 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90035

For those unable to attend the lecture will be posted here at Seraphic Secret.

Karen and I are delighted to announce that our good friend Jackie Danicki will deliver this year’s lecture:

“Confessions of a Convert: A Humbling, Joyful Journey to Judaism.”

Jackie Danicki was born in Ohio, christened Catholic at birth, and grew up on a farm. She didn’t meet a Jewish person until she was 15 years old. But before she’d even started kindergarten, Jackie was drawn to Judaism. A seed planted by the story of Moses’ rescue from the Nile germinated in her heart and grew over the next 30 years.

During those decades, Jackie’s path to Judaism led her around the world – including Israel and, Los Angeles. Her unlikely crossing of paths with Robert and Karen Avrech, and the spirit of their son Ariel Chaim ZT”L, powered her yearnings into action.

Jackie will share the revelations gained as she pursued an Orthodox conversion. It’s a story of courage, devotion, modesty, and overwhelming gratitude to Hashem.

Jackie Danicki

When we memorialize our beloved son Ariel, we not only remember the past, we imagine a future that might have been.

Had he lived, Ariel would be in the prime of his life.

We imagine him married to a lovely and modest young woman, perhaps with several of the six daughters he wished for, all named for the expressions of joy and love that appear in the blessing recited at Jewish weddings: Gilah, Rinah, Ditzah, Chedvah, Ahavah and Reut.

Always sensitive to the needs of others, but immersed in learning Torah, Ariel was pursuing a degree in Special Education. But he aspired for more and tormented himself at the age of twenty pondering a choice of career, even when in the throes of critical illness.

Ariel never doubted that he would survive. He sincerely believed that his biggest challenge was finding his life’s path. The physical challenges were incidental compared to the task of learning, and spiritual growth.

Ariel raised our family to a higher level of holiness. He inspired his sisters with his sweet humility and kindness which guided them in choosing their husbands, men he would embrace as brothers.

We feel diminished by his loss, for he was a beacon illuminating our family with a special light. From the time Ariel was born, we always said, “Ariel is special.” We will continue to declare it every day, and especially on the day of his memorial lecture.

Contrary to all logic, as time passes, our memories of Ariel have become more vivid. The images of every stage of his life are easier to evoke in all nuance and detail.

This is a mixed blessing since it intensifies our longing for his smile, his steadfastness, his intelligence and kindness. Yet the enrichment of memory strengthens his role in our family as a luminous spirit, guiding us in the corporeal world.

His goodness, his Torah scholarship and modest piety are a constant reminder of what we should all strive for in our lives.

Indeed, Ariel’s absence has been transformed into a deeply felt presence.

Karen hugs Ariel on his first day as a student at Ner Israel Rabbinical Academy, Baltimore, 1998.

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  1. pigpen51
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    I can never begin to understand the sense of loss that you must feel each day that you wake up without your blessed son. And I can only imagine the sorrow that is felt at the loss of the possibilities that might have been.
    May your hearts be healed, if only for a time, and by a small bit, during this coming celebration of a man who obviously lived in such a way that he touched many. I grieve with you, and I celebrate with you, knowing that one day you will be united again, as David said about the son he lost , in 2 Samuel 12- 21 Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread.

    22 And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether G-d will be gracious to me, that the child may live?

    23 But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.
    I believe that G-d has promised us that when we lose a loved one, we should always remember that while it is right and proper to grieve, it is also good to remember that the day will come when we will be reunited with that loved one. Note the words, ” I shall go to him.”
    They are words that many count on, who are aware of them. And perhaps some of the only ones that I remember speaking about one day meeting our children in Heaven.
    I can’t imagine the pain that you and your beautiful bride must feel even now, at the loss of your son, and even though I have a brother who lost a daughter at the age of 21, it is not the same as if I had lost a child of my own. So while I am not able to be at the celebration of your son’s life, I will be there in spirit. May everyone be blessed, and rest in the knowledge that they too may one day be able to hold his hand, and to speak with him face to face.

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