February 19, 2010

Death comes calling again

Death came calling again -- this time taking Steve Doochin, a former colleague at the Union for Reform Judaism.

Steve had had a massive heart attack ten years ago while at a doctor's office. Because of that close call with death he recognized more than most that every day is precious.  He did all the right things - changed his diet, exercised, and more -- but, more importantly, he made sure to fill each day with love and hope and laughter.

I last saw Steve about a month ago when we met at the Nautilus for breakfast. He was as optomistic as ever about his search for a new position, sure that something was "about to fall into place." The ultimate networker, Steve had spent his life raising countless millions for Jewish causes, and there were large minyons of folks anxious to help.

Then on Tuesday, at the final interview for a position he was about to land, he had another massive heart attack. This time there was no doctor there to revive him.

At his funeral today Steve's son Brian recalled that when his father gave him his first allowance he also gave him three envelopes: one for spending money, one for saving, and one for tzedakah. We always need to set aside some for those who are less fortunate than us, his father told him.

On Tuesday Brian was on a train in Prague when his phone rang. Seeing it was from his sister, he stepped off at the next station to return the call. Waiting for her to answer, he was approached by a woman asking for money, so he gave her the change in his pocket. Then his sister answered and told him the news.

Yes, death came calling again this week, and I am tired of this seemingly endless march of funerals. But, while death took Steve, it could not take his essence: a mench of a man, who left a legacy of caring who will be sorely missed. And so, once again, I will pick up the mantle of life and try to appreciate all I have, each and every day.


  1. Thank you for the beautifully written posting. I didn't know him although I am sure I saw him, and am sorry for that. A person worth knowing and being inspired by. thank you..........

  2. Thanks for posting this, Emily. I did not know him, but reading this makes me wish that I did.


  3. I'm glad you wrote this and let everyone know just what great a guy he was. He was much too young...

  4. Thanks, Emily. I only knew his name; it's nice to know his memory, too.

    -An old friend