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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