Saying Goodbye
Saying Goodbye | Oro shel yoseph > Commemoration > Yossie, My Best Friend 22

Oro shel yoseph > Commemoration > Yossie, My Best Friend > Saying Goodbye

Saying Goodbye

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Yossie's Last Request
Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Aronow
Director of Tzerei Agudat Chabad and Chairman of Agudat Chassidei Chabad in Israel eulogizes the friend of his youth and his senior partner in their blessed work:
The friendship with my closest friend HaRav HaChassid, Yosef Yitzchak Halevi Raichik, takes me back more than 40 years. We first met in 5727 in the Tomchei Tmimim Yeshiva in Montreal. I came to the Yeshiva from my parents' home in Toronto and he came from Los Angeles, where his parents, HaRav HaChossid Rabbi Shmuel Dovid Raichik. a"h and his mother, a"h, served as Shluchim for many many years.
It is most difficult to describe the diverse personality of Yossie, (forgive me for calling him Yossie, without adding appropriate expressions such as 'of blessed memory' or 'Alav Hashalom'. His presence is so strong that it almost seems like adding it to the name of a living person). But I would have to say that what was most prominent in Yossie was his endearing personality.
Already in his youth Yossie had a magnetic personality. Everyone loved him and enjoyed being in his company. It was always most interesting around him, lively and social. I roomed together with Yossie in the Yeshiva, which was the start of our special personal friendship which developed to much more than friendship.
I remember being surprised that even though he came from Los Angeles – perhaps the most American city there is, the most olam hazeh – Yossie had a genuine Yiras Shamayim' 'fear of G-d' and a solid foundation in Chassidus, which apparently came from the special personalities of his parents, both of whom were real Chassidim with mesiras nefesh, who gave of everything they had. This was the education that they conferred on their children (and this is the same education that Yossie and his wife Dinah gave to their dear children.)
When someone came from 770 to Montreal, Yossie would interrogate him with shining eyes. It was most important for him to know every detail from the farbrengens (gatherings by the Rebbe). He wanted to find out the content of all the Rebbe's talks, but equally important, wanted to know what went on 'around' the farbrengen. Did the Rebbe get up in the middle to dance? How many times did the Rebbe wave his holy hand during the singing? Who came up to the Rebbe during the talks? To whom did the Rebbe give Mashke, (liquor to make L'Chaim)?
Back then, in the Yeshiva days, I did not even dream that the day would come and our friendship would grow stronger, and we would even be true working partners. In the year 5749, a few years after I was given the great Shlichus and appointed director of Tzerai Agudat Chabad in Eretz Israel, I asked Yossie to come and assist in the fundraising for the widespread activities of Tzerai Agudat Chabad. After he received the Rebbe's blessings and encouragement, Yossie moved to Israel. His successful efforts provided the driving force to furthering the spread of Judaism throughout Eretz Hakodesh. Tzerai Agudat Chabad became Yossie's passion, every day and hour of his life.
Looking back we can say that Yossie paved the way for many who came after him. A product of a home centered around Shlichus, he embodied the emissaries' famous saying: "Zorim Ruchniyut V'Kozrim Gashmiyut" (To sow ruchnius and to harvest gashmius), using today's modern technologies.
Let us analyze the unique approach to spirituality that Yossie brought into the field of fundraising for Avodat Kodesh, which is expressed in three aspects:
Firstly, when he contacted a Jewish philanthropist to interest him in the Rebbe's projects, he did not approach the person to 'donate' money for this or that project, but instead made him a 'partner' in these projects. It was not 'me' and 'you' but – 'we'. 'We want the children of Eretz Israel to know more about Yiddishkeit." 'We want the IDF war widows to receive Mishlaoch Manot on Purim.' 'It is imperative that we bring yet another child from Chernobyl to Israel.' With his profound truth he involved the philanthropist as a caring partner.
Secondly, his connections with these friends went beyond their donations. So much so that from the moment Yossie made you his 'friend' and a part of his activities, you entered his circle of 'unconditional' friendship. Yossie knew nearly everything about his friends – the names and ages of all family members, their birthdays, their hobbies and the nature of their business. It was a most sincere interest. The test came when a friend-supporter lost his wealth – which unfortunately does happen – and could not continue to support the project; the friendship with Yossie continued as before. Whoever joined the circle of Yossie's friends remained forever.
Thirdly, in all his relationships with philanthropists who became his friends, the Jewish dimension was most prominent. There was hardly a conversation with these friends without a Jewish message woven in – a dvar Torah, an expression of chizzuk in matters of the day, a beautiful interpretation of a verse from the parshat hashavua (weekly Torah portion).
In the year 5750, Yossie was recruited to direct the Rebbe's project: Children of Chernobyl. Here his concern and humanity had an additional dimension. He saw this project as not only saving spiritual and physical lives – but even more than this, as his own personal Shlichus. His strong desire to save another girl, another boy, another group, and yet another one, did not let him rest – not for a moment. All the friends whom Yossie contacted to save the Children of Chernobyl were inspired by his infectious enthusiasm.
Not only his friends – but the Children of Chernobyl themselves felt his endearing and enduring devotion. Girls and boys who came to Israel without their parents and siblings saw in Yossie, who often came to visit them, a 'father' figure who cared about them. When he looked at them with his smiling and loving eyes, the mutual affection that flowed from him to the children and back was palpable. It was therefore not surprising that when this most tragic event occurred and these children, who accompanied Yossie to his final rest, cried bitterly, inconsolably. They knew what the project had lost. Even more so they knew what they had lost.
I pointed out earlier that Yossie made sure that his personal contact with each and every one of his 'supporters' would also yield spiritual results. This brings to mind the last few weeks of Yossie's life.
The Rebbe's Histalkut of the 3rd of Tammuz, 5768, fell on a Sunday. The Shabbat preceding this Yossie spent in New York at the Ohel, the Rebbe's holy gravesite. During the entire Shabbat he studied, davened and then he continued into spiritual discussions with friends he met. The next day, Sunday, the actual day, Yossie spent at the Ohel Hakodesh, we met for a short while there, and went our separate ways, as I was forced to return to Israel to attend to urgent matters.
Yossie stayed in the United States because the following Tuesday he had an appointment with his doctor in the Medical Center in North Carolina. It was already some time that he was having breathing difficulties and he wanted to consult with this doctor whom he had met previously.
The consultation was arranged for Tuesday morning and Yossie intended to fly back to Israel the next day. However the doctor was worried after seeing the test results. He told Yossie that since their last consultation he noted deterioration in his lungs, and was therefore admitting him for further tests.
Yossie was hospitalized for a few days, and I travelled to North Carolina for Shabbat. As a good friend, it was most important for me to be at his side and to spend Shabbat with him. Once there I invited a mutual friend, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Fogelman, from Worcester, who also spent Shabbat with us. With Yossie were his wife and his dear eldest son Eli.
Despite the disheartening circumstances, the Shabbat was uplifting. At Mincha, an auspicious time, we sat singing niggunim when suddenly Yossie asked, 'And what about the Ma'amar?' At that time, I had just studied a Ma'amar of the Rebbe, 'Shalom Shalom, to the Near and to the Far said the Almighty and I will Heal You' (13th Tishrei 5748). This Ma'amar discussed medical matters—both physicality and spirituality. I therefore reviewed this Ma'Amar. The holy words of this Ma'amar spoke for themselves, and the atmosphere in the room was good. Yossie was very emotional. He saw this as Hashgacha Protis (Divine Providence), and hoped that it was a sign of good news to come.
Amazingly, that Erev Shabbat, despite the discouraging news and having to spend Shabbat in the hospital, Yossie called his friends, as always, to wish them 'a good Shabbos' and to tell them a dvar Torah in honor of Shabbat. I was a witness. This is who he was – even in uncomfortable and less pleasant times, he did not forgot his friends or neglect his shlichus.
In the hospital (in North Carolina), the doctors were able, with medications, to stabilize Yossie's condition, enabling him to return home. However in Israel, his condition worsened. It was decided that Yossie would return to the U.S. to continue supervision and treatment. For various reasons, day after day his flight was delayed, until Motzae Shabbat Parshat Shoftim (6th Elul), Yossie was admitted to Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikva.
Here the race against time began. Day by day Yossie's health continued to deteriorate. His family and friends did everything in their power to try and save his life, pulling strings in all directions. Contacts were made throughout the world, and suggestions were pursued, anything to save Yossie's life. The fight continued non-stop for two weeks.
A day after he arrived at Beilinson Hospital it became clear that Yossie had to be attached to a respirator, as he was in critical condition. I was with him during the last few moments before he was sedated. With his last independent breath, he said a few words. I moved closer to hear what he was saying. During those very dramatic seconds, his life hanging by a thread, he had one last request – 'Put on my Tefillin with me.'
And so, after the doctors succeeded, with great effort, to connect him to the respirator and stabilize him, I put his Teffilin on him. In the coming days I came to put on his Tefillin with him. His family did not leave his room for a second, but gave me the z'chus to fulfill his last request and Mitzva.
To our great distress and grief, the tremendous efforts were not successful and the many prayers to the Almighty were left unanswered. On Sunday morning, 21st Elul, the first day of Selichos, the fight was lost and Yossie returned his pure soul to his Creator.
There are no words to express how I felt and still feel over the tremendous tragedy that we have all suffered. There are no words to communicate the profound grief of his dear family, his friends, the many who loved him and the entire Chabad community. There are no words that suffice to convey the great loss to the Jewish world of this dear Jew, a genuine Chossid, a lover of Israel, whose entire life was one of continual giving, and even after his passing at the peak of flourishing and productivity, still continues to inspire us and give us spiritual strength. 
♦ ♦ ♦

 Pesach Sheni Yid 
From the speech by Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Piekarski,
Tel Aviv, at the Hachnasos Sefer Torah in Cracow:
It is with Divine Providence, that the writing of the last letters in the Sefer Torah is taking place between Pesach Rishon and Pesach Sheni, (1st Pesach and 2nd Pesach). In a talk by the Rebbe, this generation's leader, he interprets the difference between these two, based on the well-known phrase: Pesach Sheni shows us that nothing is ever lost, one can always amend.
Pesach Rishon, which is sacrificed at its right time, is an example of the work of the Tzaddik, the righteous man. His service is as it should be—on time, according to all the regulations, in the correct order, step by step.
For Pesach Sheni there are different guidelines, as is stated in the Mishna. Whereas on Pesach Rishon there is a commandment that the chametz not be seen or found in one's possession, on Pesach Sheni there is no such commandment, and chametz and matzah can be found in one's home. On Pesach Rishon – matzah is eaten for seven days, on Pesach Sheni – for only one day.
Pesach Sheni accommodates the Jew who does not necessarily move with the stream. He sees other matters, is exposed to a different world, for whatever reason. However he wakes up with a strong desire to get close to the Almighty. And this desire is because he feels 'something is missing'.
As the Torah relates, there were people who were impure, who had contact with a corpse; they, on their own initiative, went to Moshe and asked, 'Why should we be excluded? Even though we did not arrive on time, we are still part of the nation. Our failure does not mean that we are not connected; on the contrary, our connections are strong.' According to the words of our Sages, actually after they asked the Almighty, who knows man's inner workings, it became clear that they were a very important part.
This is the reason that Pesach Sheni is a holiday of its own, according to the Rebbe, as its boundaries are different.
Pesach Rishon indicates the Jew who is connected to Godliness and ascends step by step; he is forbidden to deal with physical matters, as this could "bring him down". Therefore he is even forbidden to see chametz, which may make him 'fall' – hence the command – "it must not be seen." He is, however a person of his time, albeit with rules and regulations.
In contrast, the uniqueness of the Jew of Pesach Sheni is in his ability to connect in a manner that is beyond measure and limitation, as physical matters do not disturb him. "Chometz and Matzo together with him in his home" the connection passes all the tests. A Jew who exemplifies Pesach Sheni does not see materialism as an obstacle. He uses them as a 'vessel' through which Godliness is revealed in the world, and transforms it into a home for Him to be blessed.
Yossie, my dear friend, you were a "Pesach Sheni Yid"
First of all you were always late…
But your lateness, however reasonable it was, never interfered with your accomplishments, they were always complete, the hour made no difference to you.
You never were confused, you knew that there was a physical world, but it did not disturb you. You were so connected to the Rebbe, so connected to your davening, that we all saw you as a symbol and an example of a genuine Chossid. When you met another Jew, you focused on his 'pnimiyut', his external appearance did not matter. His worldliness never blinded you, as you told me many times over. "Gashmius Shel Yehudi Hi Ruchniyos" the physicality of a Jew is spirituality", and you meant it, and that is why everyone loved you.
You always remained yourself, not swayed by the enormous sums of money that passed through your hands. You remained your father's son (HaBen Hu Raglo Shel Aviv), and really followed in HaRav Shmuel Dovid HaLevi's footsteps.
It's hard for me to believe that you are not here with us. Mysterious are the ways of G-d.
I am certain that now you are busy 'turning the World upside down' – Hafoch Olamot HaYom – and we will soon see you with the Rebbe, with all the righteous and upright Chassidim, V'hoo Yigaleinu. 
 A Close Friend from the Start 
Eduardo Elzstain
a friend and supporter eulogizes his dear friend:
Icould begin writing by saying that Yossie Raichik, of blessed memory, was like a brother to me. But it is so much more than that.
I could begin by saying he was the most masterful, greatest fundraiser I have ever met, and that he played a starring role in the history of the nearly 3,000 children he saved through Chabad's Children of Chernobyl. But it is so much more than that too.
I could begin by saying he was truly a real part of my whole precious family. But it was so much more than that as well.
Truth be told, Yossie Raichik was one of the most endearing and most extraordinary people I have ever had the privilege and honor of knowing.
Our friendship began over 15 years ago, in the early 1990's. A mutual friend wanted us to meet and my first introduction to Yossie was his incredible persistence. He pushed for this meeting between us in a way I have never experienced. He said he would go anywhere, at any time, under any circumstances, day or night, summer or winter, in order to meet me. No one had ever done that before.
To this day, I thank G-d for that amazing persistence of his. Because of it I had the great zchus of being able to count Yossie Raichik as my dear, dear friend.
The moment we met face to face for the first time I knew instinctively that I was in the presence of someone very special, someone who was going to have a profound and moving impact on my life and that of my family.
♦ ♦ ♦

Yossie didn't stand on ceremony. I like to say, in the most endearing, respectful way, that he didn't act like a rabbi. By that I mean his informality was so unique. He put people at ease from the minute they met him. He made you feel like you were old friends in the first seconds of your relationship.
I cannot begin to recall the number of times over the years that Yossie took me to visit the Chernobyl children, to see the campus, to sit in on the programs, to talk to everyone, staff, children, teachers, nurses. He was so proud of CCOC, as well he should have been. What he accomplished is nothing short of miraculous.
They say that if you save one life it is as if you save the world.
Yossie Raichik saved thousands of lives and in so doing, earned his proper place in history among the greatest of our heroes and leaders.
Every year, Yossie would come to Buenos Aires to visit us. My love for him is matched by everyone in my family. They adored him. In fact, he was the only one who was ever able to convince my wife to do a formal party. He touched her soul as he touched mine and she would have done anything for him.
Besides the regularly scheduled Shabbatot that he spent with us in Buenos Aires – Shabbatot which are among the most memorable of my life, Shabbatot I often liken to precious works of spiritual art – he also came to share every bris, every Bar Mitzvah, every wedding. He didn't miss one.
He had a magic way of understanding what every person he met needed. He called my mother every year on her birthday, a call she cherished and dearly misses now. My sister turned to him for advice at every crossroad in her life, knowing that she could count on him to be a sound advisor, advice she deeply misses today.
But what is so astounding is that I know that my family is not the only one that can say these things about Yossie Raichik. You can talk to someone in Los Angeles, in New York, in London and they will tell you the same thing – how deeply their families loved and cherished their relationship with Yossie, how much he touched their lives.

Literally hundreds of people can say with conviction that Yossie Raichik was their best friend, their confidante, their brother.

♦ ♦ ♦

Someone asked me recently what I felt was Yossie's legacy. I had to think long and hard about that because there were so many answers I could have given.

Of course, first and foremost, are his beloved wife, Dinah, and his precious children, who will carry his love and his teachings into the future in the most personal way.
Then there are the Chernobyl children who are alive today because he wouldn't stop in his quest to bring them to Israel. Not many people know this, but he was there at the airport, no matter what time the flights came in, to greet the children himself. To make sure that they knew how lovingly they were welcomed and how much they were wanted.
Then there are all the other people – people like me – whose lives have been so unimaginably enriched by his friendship. There was nothing he wouldn't do for us. No matter the effort, no matter the time, no matter the cost, Yossie always made things right.
I think, no, I know that one of the most profound impacts Yossie Raichik had on people was his ability to perceive each person's individual needs and feelings in such a very real and sincere way. He was such a caring person in every sense of the word. He took care of people. He remembered them. He understood what each person needed and he filled that need.
And he always made things easier for people. He never, ever gave up on anything. For Yossie anything and everything was possible if you worked hard enough. And the work always started with him.
I can't complete my thoughts without relating one more incident. It happened about ten years ago. Yossie invited me to a Hachnasas Sefer Torah in Rostov.
We got on the plane in Israel at 7:00 am, flew there, went to the mikveh, and went to the ohel of the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Rebbe Rashav. This was followed by dinner and then we went to the Hachnasas Sefer Torah.
We danced and sang until 5:00 am. I have never in all my life experienced anything like it. The only way I can describe it is to say that it was like a thousand Simchat Torahs put together.
These were the kinds of experiences my precious Yossie gave us, experiences that will last for the rest of our lives. Experiences that all of us who were privileged to know him will hold in our hearts forever.
Good-bye my beloved friend.
♦ ♦ ♦
"Think Big"
Bob Book describes his friend Yossie Raichik:
He walked with a bounce in his step, a gleam in his eye, and he wore a smile that could melt your heart and light up your soul. When you were with him, you just felt that all was right with the world. 
Yossie Raichik was the man I met at lunch in New York City ten years ago. What I didn't know at the time was that this lunch meeting with Yossie would change my life forever. 
So, who was this man with the white beard, and the beautiful crystal clear blue eyes? It was Yossie Raichik. From that first meeting, Yossie got me working for the benefit of the Children of Chernobyl. Frankly, I just wanted to be polite to Yossie, and so I thought if I would make a small donation to Children of Chernobyl, and maybe take a table, he would be on his way.
It's two years later, and I find myself Co-Chairing a Children of Chernobyl dinner. Now I have ten tables, and I am a man on a mission to help raise money to make this dinner a financial success for Yossie and the children. By now, Yossie had become a dear friend, teacher, stand-up comedian, Rabbi, and inspiration.
Yossie had a way of imagining opportunities in a big way. He had a great eye for doing it right! Let me share one of Yossie's big ideas to help people in a small, but delicious way. Several years ago, when the rockets were raining down Sderot, Yossie, Yisroel Brod, and I went to visit this battered town in Israel. I could not believe my eyes. We visited a family sitting Shivah for their seventeen year old daughter, who was killed by shrapnel, while shielding her twelve year old brother on their way home from school. I saw rocket shells stacked up behind the police headquarters, that made me both angry and sad at the same time, and in the middle of all of this hopeless and endless cycle of violence against Jews, there was Yossie, who was trying to console and uplift these Jewish residents, who were under relentless attacks from Hamas. 
A few days after I returned to New York, I received a call from Yossie. Shavuot was coming, and he had an idea that he wanted to discuss with me. He could not contain his enthusiasm! He said, you saw with your own eyes how down everyone in Sderot is, so I have been thinking, with Shavuot coming, it would be nice to send every family, and I mean every family, a beautiful, cheesecake for the holiday! I will get the people to deliver the cakes with a holiday greeting, and you can make this possible by funding it. I was about to ask Yossie how much do you think this will cost, when I stopped myself, because I was grateful that he didn't want to send a cheesecake to every Jew around the world! And so he was extremely happy with his anti-rocket cheesecake attack! We did it, and it did make a difference for that holiday!
A few years later, Amy and I, along with the Schottensteins, and Jessica Katz spent Shavuot in Jerusalem with Yossie, Dinah, Chemie, Libah, Mendy, and Shulie. We didn't know it, but it would be our last time with Yossie, before he fell seriously ill and passed away.
Yossie always thought about helping people in a big way, even if it was only a small gesture, like a little cheesecake, or calling you on your birthday to sing Happy Birthday at the top of his failing lungs! For Yossie, there were no small gestures. He helped thousands of people in little ways that made big differences in making the human race more human.
The author of this story is one such beneficiary.
♦ ♦ ♦ 
He Called Me Rebbitzen...
Writer and editor Caroline Burg remembers Yossie:
Ihave so many fond memories of Rabbi Yossie Raichik, of blessed memory, that it is hard to know where to begin when speaking of him.
I worked with Yossie for many years for Chabad's Children of Chernobyl. Our relationship goes back to the mid 1990's.
From that moment on, every time my phone rang and I heard at the other end, "Rebbitzen!!!!" I knew who it was, even before the days of Caller ID.
It was Yossie.
I am not a Rebbitzen, but it always gave me such a warm feeling when he called me that. It felt like a signal of respect and of good friendship.
Without seeing him, just hearing his voice over the phone lines, whether he was calling from Israel or New York or anywhere else in the world that he might have been at the moment, I could see, in my mind's eye, the delightful twinkle that was always in his eyes.
Working with Yossie was a privilege and a joy. His passion for CCOC and for the children infused every aspect of his life. His dedication to his work was all-encompassing.
I think, no, I know, that for Yossie, CCOC was not "work". It was his world. His commitment. His joy. His responsibility. All of these. And he transmitted these feelings to those around him.
I have so many memories of meetings in which I tried to take notes as he talked, his hands waving in the air, his voice excited and impassioned. There I was with my yellow pad, fingers flying over the page, desperately trying to capture every word because each word was a pearl of wisdom in its own right.
I remember sitting on the train once, listening to him on my cell phone and taking out my yellow pad and writing something for him there on the spot. I don't remember exactly what it was but his reaction to it as I read it to him, and the compliments he gave so liberally, were so satisfying.
When you did a good job for Yossie, he made sure you knew it. He did not hesitate to tell you how happy he was and how much he appreciated what you did. That is a rare attribute. Too many people in this world are quick to tell you what is wrong, but slow to tell you what is right. Not Yossie. His praise was profuse and it meant so much.
On the other hand, when I missed the mark on something I wrote, he was also sure to tell me, but always in a kind, gentle, constructive way. His ideas were always so overflowing that sometimes I had trouble following his critique but in the end, the piece was always better and more effective because of his corrections and his edits and his suggestions.
My last memory of Yossie is the dearest and the most poignant.
It was last August 2008, just a short time before he was niftar. I was in Israel with my husband for the Bar Mitzvah of a grandson. Many family members had come and it was a busy time.
Yossie and I had talked about meeting together in Kfar Chabad but it was getting to the end of the trip and there seemed to be no time or opportunity to do so.
I spoke with him on the phone and he said, "I will send someone to pick you up and drive you back. Can you be ready in a short while?"
And, in the midst of the family events, I said yes, I can come.
I will always be deeply grateful to Hashem that Yossie persisted and that I was able to go.
It was my last time with him. We spent two hours meeting together with other staff members. All throughout the meeting, I kept thinking of how pale he looked, how he seemed to be struggling for breath, yet how his eyes still shone as he talked about plans for the future of the CCOC direct marketing program.
Despite his painfully obvious illness, his passion was still there as strongly as ever.
On the way back to Jerusalem, I was so sad. When I returned, I looked at my husband and said, simply, "Yossie is ill."
I learned so much from Yossie Raichik. I learned what it means to dedicate your life to a cause greater than yourself. What it means to pour your heart and soul into your work. What it means to smile with all your being even when it isn't so easy to do so. What it means to trust in Hashem 100% that everything will come out right.
Yossie Raichik was a wonderful man, who is missed so acutely, every day.
Yet he left a legacy for all of us that will carry on into the future. Every child that comes to Israel with CCOC is Yossie's child. Because he paved the way for the children. He made sure that even after he was gone, the children would continue to come, planeload after planeload.
Yossie Raichik was a great hero. And I know my life is better for having had the privilege of knowing him and working with him.
♦ ♦ ♦ 
An Ambassador
"Daniel, from Jerusalem"
sent a farewell message to Yossie on ynet:
Shalom to you Yossie,
How hard it is for me that you have gone. You were a good friend and always ready to help everyone, those near and those far. You never questioned and you never argued, you just plainly and simply offered your help.
You looked after the Children of Chernobyl; you established and operated an incredible campaign, dedicated and professionally organized, to save souls and provide medical treatment. You travelled to all corners of the word to wherever you thought you would find a Jew who would help in this great campaign.
You were a warm person. Your beautiful smile and loving eyes will always stay in my memory. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to help you and to know you personally. I am devastated that you suffered and that we could not help you. Look after us and after our nation who you loved so much, and continue to be our good, loving and smiling Ambassador.
Yossie my good friend, may your memory be blessed. 
♦ ♦ ♦ 
The Letter That Wasn't Sent
Ruchi Stillman of the Chabad staff in Los Angeles writes, "I could not come up "with a story that had a beginning, a middle, and an end – the way a story should be. But Yossie was not necessarily the "way you should be." He was not "of the ordinary" – but how should I say it – actually bordered on the "extraordinary" – because he gave every experience, every interaction, every moment, every smile a 'beginning, a middle and an end'; he made people feel 'whole'"
So how do I begin?
I met Yossie in 1969, a young teenager, and was immediately captivated by the smile... the charm…the goodness… and the lurking wisdom behind it all!
 
If I were to summarize it in one phrase and say it directly to Yossie –
Dear friend, co-worker, fellow shliach and family 'lantsman' – "You stopped and you listened."
 
Remember the Melavah Malkahs in your parents' home,
where the spectrum of the entire community gathered
to share Rebbetizin Raichik's home-made nurturing cuisine,
uproarious laughter, outrageous stories…
 
And your Mom called from the kitchen…
You Stopped … and You Listened.
 
Remember the occasional Weddings and Bar Mitzvahs
in the early times,
where everyone danced and sang,
circles of yiddishe and chassidishe joy,
and jubilant shouts above the roar of the music…
 
And a child tugged at your sleeve …
You Stopped … and You Listened.
 
 Remember Friday nights in Chabad House,
the camaraderie of the steady-comers in the kitchen,
the banging on the tables to the beat of the niggunim,
the passing of heaped platters and trays of simple food…
 
And a troubled student in the corner of the room – apart –
You Stopped … and You Listened.
 
 
 Remember the Food Giveaways before Yomim Tovim,
So many outstretched hands,
hollow eye contacts and weak grateful smiles…
And as we all packed the vans to leave,
 
A young woman began to cry…
You Stopped … and You Listened.
 
 Remember the Triumph Magazine, the Chabad publication
that actualized its title under your direction.
Looming deadlines … unfinished articles…
a mass of paper, photos, captions ….
 
And the graphic artist bent over the desk, bearing a burden …
You Stopped … and You Listened.
 
 Remember the Telethons!
Hollywood, Production, Donors, Community, Volunteers,
Chabad –United as One!
 
And a homeless person stood at the secured studio gates …
You Stopped and You Listened.
 
 Remember the "burn the midnight oil" working nights
Empty soda cans, cigarette butts, clipped comments,
You were engaged to be married and the phone rang,
It was Dinah….
 
You Stopped …and You Listened.
 
 Remember coming in for family Simchas from Eretz Yisroel,
and you would spot the elderly woman who showed up for meals
at your parent's table
and the infamous B.H. who was welcomed
and treated like family ….
 
And You stopped and You Listened.
 
My last memory of you at the Bar Mitzvah in Encino Chabad House,
where the guests shared the full spirit of Shabbos.
You were asked to speak.
I recall that you were the last of the "revelers"
to farbreng and inspire with a chassidishe vort…
 
And we all stopped and listened!
 
So, now as you sit on high
pulled away from the world so abruptly,
and we all grapple with the "how and why",
 
Are the Angels stopping by ...
And are they listening …
To a Soul who knew the essence, the depth, the connection of
"I want to stop." "I want to listen."
 
Humbled by your Kav HaChesed,
grateful to be considered a friend,
and awed by your accomplishments.
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Contact Info

Oro Shel Yoseph

NGO: 58-0819-27

P.O.B. 520 Kfar Chabad,
Israel 60840

Phone: (972) 3  9607-499

E-mail: office@oroshelyoseph.org

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