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Gidi's last Rosh Hashana

Friday, 20 February, 2015 - 10:01 am

Dear Friends,

On Monday I walked, together with hundreds of members of the community, to give the last honor to a friend and a teacher to many, Gidi Nashon Z”l.  One scene was going through my mind during these gloomy moments.  

It was on the second day of Rosh Hashana.  As of every year, soon after we came back from Shul, we got ready to walk to the Jubilee Hospital to visit Jewish patients and sound the Shofar for them.  Our Chazan, Rabbi Minkowitz and our three oldest children helped me pack a nice portion of Rosh Hashana dinner and a honey cake for each patient and we were on our way.

The level of excitement with which the patients accept us is beyond discription.  The joy that the surprise is bringing to the men and women who find themselves on the High Holidays in their least desirable place makes it a very rewarding experience.  But last Rosh Hashana it was more than that.

After visiting some friends the hour was late and Shabbat was approaching, so I asked our Chazan to take the children back home while I was going up to visit Gidi.  When I asked for him in the ward I was told that he was really not up for seeing visitors.  I explained what I was coming for and the nurse allowed me to walk in carefully.

gidi.jpgI walked in behind the curtain and saw Gidi laying there fragile and weak. As soon as he saw me there was a half smile, somewhat bitter on his pale face.  I told Gidi that I came to blow the Shofar for him for Rosh Hashana. Suddenly Gidi’s face was changed.  He was glowing with a full broad smile. After saying the blessings I blew the Shofar,  Gidi closed his eyes and it looked like he was transcending to a different world with profound peacefulness.

In our short conversation thereafter Gidi told me that a few hours earlier he was told that he had cancer and it is not treatable.  The body of Gidi was failing but his soul was in full strength.

I left the room and dashed down the stairs to make it back home before the sun set and Shabbat began. Coming up the stairs was a Jewish nurse I knew, and I offered to blow the Shofar for her. 

As I was leaving the patient care centre I realized that I had only 14 minutes to get home, and the only way I’d get there on time would be if I ran, and so I did . While panting all the way home all I was able to think about was that dramatic change in Gidi as soon as he knew that he was going to hear the Shofar.

This same image was in front of me when saying goodbye to Gidi.  I hope this memory will inspire me forever. 

Comments on: Gidi's last Rosh Hashana

Michael Friedman wrote...

I met Gidi only once, in conversation during an Emanu-El kiddush not long ago when I was a newcomer to Victoria. I had read an article he wrote and we planned to meet in future. Then I began traveling quite a bit so the meeting regretably never took place. I am sorry that my contact with such a lovely man will remain so limited.

Elisabeth Gelb wrote...

I will always remember how Gideon's smile lit up the room.
Gideon, 'Mighty Warrior' Alav Ha-sholom

Sheila wrote...

My darling Gidi - may you rest in peace.

Betty Mortin wrote...

I attended a level 2 Hebrew course (VERBS) Gidi taught in the early 2000"s.I was definitely the "dumbest" student in the class, but he would repeat and explain concepts to me frequently -with his soft way! Because he was so caring I called a friend of mine in Connecticut and said what can I get for a "MENSCH" who has an extensive Jewish library? My friend said that a famous jewish Poet had just published a new book and it was not in Canada yet- and sent it to me! I wrote a note of THANKS in it in Hebrew with"" SPECIAL ATTENTION to the "Hebrew verbs "! Next time I saw him he laughed, and said - "your verbs are fine" ! Shortly after I moved over to Chabad and didn't see him again - but I remember what a wonderful person and great Gabbai he was!