Saturday, October 07, 2006

Good Bye Rabbi Graudenz

Rabbi Graudenz

Yesterday morning, my Rabbi passed away. He has not actually been my Rabbi for many years since he retired a while back. I will always think of him as "my Rabbi" though. Rabbi Graudenz was such a wonderful man. He was the Rabbi at my synagogue when my family started our journey with Judaism. He never once pushed us or pressured us to convert. Instead, he embraced us as part of his family as if we had been there from the beginning. We shared many good times with Rabbi G.

Rabbi Graudenz left Modesto a few years back to live closer to his daughter. He developed Alzheimer's. My family and I kept talking about going up to visit Rabbi G but we never got around to it. On Wednesday afternoon I found out that Rabbi G had been admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. I knew that we had to leave at that moment to see him. When my brother and I arrived at the hospital, the Rabbi was not able to recognize us or interact with us. I was able to hold his hand though and feel some sort of connection. Then an amazing thing happened. Another friend from my synagogue was there. He started singing "David Melekh." The Rabbi joined in. I couldn't believe it. It was that familiar scratchy but vibrant voice from the past. I was singing once again with my Rabbi! During my visit, the Rabbi somehow sang a few more songs here and there. It was incredible. I am so happy to have had those last few moments with him.

He will be missed.

More on Rabbi Graudenz
here. (From Nebur's blog)


cindylu said...

I wish him and his family peace.

I remember reading your brother's post (back when he actually wrote) and can tell he had that sort of rare effect on people.

I'm glad you got to sing with him.

miricaro said...

Kelly, I just realized that Rabbi Graudenz was one of the refugees that Sugihara helped. I had no idea. My students just finished reading about him in our 6th grade antholgy and they were fascinated by the whole story. I can't wait to talk to them about Rabbi Graudenz tomorrow! They will love to hear that a survivor lived in our town and how much of an inspiration he was to everyone. Thank you...

Julissa said...

May he rest in peace.

CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

Once upon a time I used to be a pastor. I had to go to a nursing home to take communion to a woman in her late 90s. I went through the motions of the brief service because she was just staring at me--until I invited her to join me in saying the Lord's Prayer. She said it perfectly! Somehow there was a fleeting instant of "connection," the kind you experienced with your rabbi. Wasn't it a blessed moment?

MsAbcMom said...

Thanks everyone. We attended the funeral yesterday. I took the day off from school and spent the day at the synangogue and at the cemetery. It was a good day of reflection, prayer and trips down memory lane.