Ninth Annual Ariel Avrech Memorial Lecture

Ariel's high school graduation picture from Yeshiva Gedolah, Los Angeles, June 1998.

You are all invited to The ninth annual Ariel Avrech ZT’L Memorial Lecture that will take place Sunday, June 3, 2012, at 10 AM at the Young Israel of Century City, followed by brunch.

Young Israel of Century City
9317 West Pico Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90035

RSVP to Rebekah at the synagogue office: (310) 273-6954

Karen and I are proud to announce that Joel Pollak will deliver this year’s lecture: “The Mainstream Media’s Betrayal of Israel.”

Joel grew up in Chicago where he attended Solomon Schechter Day School and graduated Niles North High School as class valedictorian. He attended Harvard College and then earned his law degree from Harvard Law School.  Additionally, Joel has a Masters Degree in Jewish Studies from the University of Cape Town, South Africa where he was born.

Joel is a brilliant and articulate commentator on talk radio, Fox News and CNN. Currently, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief and in-house counsel to the influential websites. The lecture will address the following questions: At what point did the mainstream media turn against Israel and why do they consistently demonize the Jewish State? How should supporters of Israel combat this insidious betrayal?

When we memorialize 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, turning thirty-one years-old.

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 Jewish expressions of joy: Gilah, Rena, Ditzah, Chedvah, Reah, Shalom, 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.

Karen and I wish all our friends and relatives a lovely and inspirational Shabbat .

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  1. elizabeth.onstad
    Posted April 25, 2012 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Dear Robert and Karen,

    A beautiful and moving testament to your beloved son Ariel’s life and presence. In the midst of sorrow and loss, you have articulated reason for hope.

    This year’s memorial lecture addresses a critical and mind-boggling question. I look forward to listening to a recording of the lecture.

    May G_d bless this event and multiply it’s influence.

    Warm Regards,

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted April 25, 2012 at 8:05 am | Permalink


      Thanks so much for the kind words and your prayers. 

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  2. DrCarol
    Posted April 22, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    One of these days I will get to this lecture series.  In the meantime, I am grateful that you post the video for those of us who are unable to physically be there.  Of course we are there in spirit, and praying for all of you.

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted April 23, 2012 at 11:28 am | Permalink


      We’d love to see you at the lecture. And maybe you could bring your bagpipes.

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  3. Johnny
    Posted April 20, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    That is a striking photograph of Ariel. You can practically see the good in his heart. 

    I look forward to hearing Pollak’s lecture and will be with you and your family in spirit that day.

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted April 22, 2012 at 8:03 am | Permalink


      Your spectral presence will be greatly appreciated. 

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  4. Bill Brandt
    Posted April 20, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Robert – the best definaton i have heard concerning grief was learned going through my own bad time –
    Grief is A hole In Your Soul”
    Over time the hole can decrease but it never really heals –
    One of these days I am going to surprise you and show up down there – with a mad Blues Brothers type drive

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted April 22, 2012 at 8:04 am | Permalink


      If you showed up at one of the lectures that would make us very happy. 

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  5. alterbentzion
    Posted April 20, 2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Wow – another year. Wish we could be there.

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted April 22, 2012 at 8:04 am | Permalink


      Perhaps next year you can attend. 

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