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.
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.
Welcome to the
Ariel Avrech Memorial Lecture
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- David Horowitz: “The War Against Judaism on the University Campus” June 9, 2013
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- Rabbi Steven Pruzansky: “Conformity in Jewish Life: Vice, Virtue or Affectation?” June 21, 2009
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