Thursday, June 5, 2008

Farewell to a very rich man

So, the lady in the pantsuit is singing another tune. It sounds as if she will no longer campaign but will not surrender her delegates, either.

I agree with that strategy, one of the few times this political season I've agreed with the New York Times, other than both endorsing Hillary Rodham Clinton as the Democratic nominee for president. My endorsement meant did the Times'. You know, there is something liberating about that.

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Today's post is going to be (mercifully) short. There is a lot to do in my other lives, and some of it is quite sad.

There is a get-together tonight to mark the end of the 30-day mourning period for Jerome (Jerry) Gross, who died after a car accident. The man who hit him as he was driving across an intersection into his driveway has been charged in the death.

Jerry's funeral was one of the most well-attended in memory, with hundreds of people crowding Jimmy Shure's funeral parlor. The attendance at the funeral and the seven-day shiva period at the family home was testimony to the affect Jerry had on various segments of the community.

Jerry drove for a living. I know from decades of experience that the more time you spend on the road, the better chance of a ticket or accident. But Jerry and his son, Jason, were coming home from synagogue in the morning when this person, who the police say was driving way too fast, slammed into him. He drove scores if not hundreds of times on truck-clogged highways to airports and other destinations in all weather and he was killed while driving home from synagogue. It gives one pause.

I only knew Jerry well for a few years. He was a bear of a man physically, and a pussy cat at heart. If he liked you, there was nothing he wouldn't do for you, and nobody had better say anything against you within his hearing.

There was a whisp of a woman visiting Jerry in hospital a few days before he died. They had little in common except she needed someone to lift groceries and other packages and Jerry, despite a bad back, was there to drive her to the market and lift the packages. No charge, of course.

Jerry gave up his Saturday nights during the winter to help Rabbi David Avigdor with Mizmor L'Dovid Boys' Choir. Jerry wasn't Enrico Caruso, but he did help motivate the boys and keep them in line, if necessary. Jerry wanted to help. It didn't matter who you were. You needed help. That was all that was important.

Jerry Gross was not in the same league financially with Rockefeller or Trump. But when it came to heart and love, Jerry Gross was the richest man in America.

I'll miss you, pal, as will everyone whom your rich life touched.

Until next time...

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