Reuben Mitrani's Journal
A Message From Ron Muroff
Written Sep 10, 2013 6:34am by Leah Muroff
Donna and Albert asked that I share their plans for memorializing Reuben, as this week marks the yahrtzeit, the anniversary of Reuben’s death on the Jewish calendar. Reuben died on the 8th of Tishrei, two days before Yom Kippur. Significantly, this first yahrtzeit takes place on the same English date that Reuben collapsed.
On Wednesday evening,September 11th at 7:15 pm, Donna, Albert and Adam will recite the kaddish memorial prayer as part of evening services at Chisuk Emuna Congregation, 3219 Green Street, Harrisburg. The yahrtzeit observance will continue until sundown on Thursday. (If you are planning to attend this brief service, please let me know – email@example.com )
On Sunday, September 15th at 11 am, family and friends will gather at Reuben’s grave at the Beth El Cemetery, 1100 South Progress Avenue, Harrisburg. Those gathered will be invited to share reflections on Reuben and place stones on his grave.
Donna and Albert wanted me to emphasize that they have no expectations of anyone regarding these memorial gatherings. They wanted you to be aware of this sad milestone and the ways in which they are marking it. They understand that it is not possible for everyone who might want to be with them in person to do so. They continue to be so touched by the love and support that continues to surround them from all corners of their world.
Please continue to share any thoughts and memories of Reuben.
Traditionally, a yahrtzeit is marked by the lighting of a memorial candle, the recitation of the kaddish prayer, Torah study, the giving of Tzedakah and doing good deeds as concrete expressions of the ways in which our loved ones continue to inspire us. As we reach this unbelievable anniversary, as we reflect on the outpouring of love of a year ago and since, please consider:
- Sharing your thoughts and feelings with Reuben’s family via their email addresses or phone numbers or via this website.
- Making a tax-deductible contribution to The REMember Foundation via REMember-foundation.org or by mailing a check made out to The REMember Foundation to 1104 Eric Drive, Harrisburg PA 17110.
- Doing an act of kindness in Reuben’s memory on Wednesday night and Thursday.
- Studying something in his honor.
Donna will post something soon to update us all of some recent efforts being done in Reuben’s memory. Amazing acts of generosity are enabling the REMember Foundation to begin to serve its mission of perpetuating the light that was/is Reuben’s life. Colorado College and Emma Kaufmann Camp are active partners in these deeds.
Below is an excerpt of a piece that I heard on Rosh Hashanah that made me think of Reuben and his precious family and this extraordinary circle of love.
How long is a lifetime, indeed.
Sending love from my family and me to you and yours,
Rabbi Sharon Brous writes:
“Why is the Torah so concerned that we remember? Because our instinct is to work so hard to create space between ourselves and our painful past that we risk mistaking resilience with forgetfulness. So what does our story do? It mandates that we not forget. We ritualize our experience in the darkness by delving back into it with a ferocity and pointedness that will make the experience feel real every single year, for all time. Why? Because the deepest human truths often cannot be discerned in the light; we have a depth of clarity within the darkness that we don’t have within the light. In the light,we are complacent, satisfied, bored. In the darkness, we are raw, sensitive…
The Midrash teaches that it is not possible to see through all parts of the eye: “The eye is made up of white, with black in the middle.Through which part can a person see? Not from the white part of the eye, but from within the black.”
So we revisit the darkness in order to remember the suffering. We remind ourselves to not change the channel when we see grueling images of destruction in far away places. We know what it feels like to be raw and real, and to have a sense of urgency. We know how to be present in the face of pain: ours and others. That’s what it means to see through the black part of the eye — the darkness gives us a clarity we wouldn’t otherwise have.
But we must be careful neither to romanticize, nor to become paralyzed by the darkness. Our story is one of redemption... Our responsibility is to gather up the pieces and begin to ascend.”
Written May 1, 2013 10:48am by donna orbach
We spent this last weekend in the company of Reuben's friends, teammates and professors at Colorado College. It was beautiful and bittersweet. We laughed and we cried and we REMembered. I was asked to speak. And for once, I kept it brief. Some of the students asked if I would post my remarks. So here they are:
I think over and over again about what to say; how to talk about Reuben to people who didn't know him; how to describe our loss; how to answer an off-handed or sometimes, even worse, a well intended, “How are you?” Words flood my mind. I am constantly rewriting in my head; exercising new ways of describing how we all make it through our days.
So, I think that I am supposed to get up here and say a few words about Reuben. And I have a million words and stories to share about my boy, but this time, I am simply going to say that I am proud of him. For so many reasons, but mostly because of his choices. He chose you. And he chose Colorado College. And I think that begins to tell a story of what sort of a man he was becoming.
It is hard for some people to imagine how we can be here. How we can talk of celebrating Reuben's life? I don't know if I can explain it. You energize us. We feel calm here. We are grateful for your love. You knew Reuben. You still know Reuben. So we can laugh. He is not yet the Reuben of glorified elegy. He is a spirit and an energy that you all embody. And we feel it when we are with you. His loyalty as your friend is echoed in your loyalty to his memory. You are a brotherhood. And you are taking that brotherhood and extending it to us. You are mostly young men, and like Reuben was, at the beginning of all that you are becoming. Your continued thoughtfulness makes each of us smile everyday. And we know that soon your lives will get more complicated and more and more demands will be put upon you and the times that you stop your lives to REMember Reuben will become less frequent, but for now, we simply feel gratitude for your kindness. And you should all know that it is worth something. That you make a difference in our lives. It matters to us and you need to know that you help carry us on this harrowing journey and that is how we make it through the days. And that that is a lot.
Your parents should be enormously proud of you as well.
With love forever and ever,
Donna, Albert and Adam
Why We Are Going to Rememberfest
Written Apr 24, 2013 7:49am by Leah Muroff
Seven months ago today Reuben died.
A month from now, on May 27th, we have all been invited by Donna, Albert and Adam to gather at Emma Kaufmann Camp to remember Reuben and help to establish a foundation that will perpetuate Reuben’s legacy.
We are going to REMemberfest because Donna, Albert and Adam have asked. Like many of you, following Reuben’s death we told them that we wanted to be there for them. We asked them to tell us what we could do to support them along this unimaginable journey of grief. Now, they’re telling us that they’d like to gather with family and friends to remember Reuben and celebrate his life at one of the places he loved most – EKC. And so we are going.
We are also going to REMemberfest because we love Reuben. Love not just loved. We love Reuben and all the people who were/are part of his life. We love Donna and Albert and Adam and their whole family and we love all the people who are part of their lives. We are going to REMemberfest to be a part of this circle of love. To laugh and to cry, to play and who knows, perhaps to pray. Most of all to remember and to create new memories.
So many of you we met in the wake of Reuben’s death. There we were – hundreds and hundreds of us – gathered for Reuben’s funeral, burial and shiva. Won’t it be a gift for us to reconnect, to encircle and support our dear friends and each other?
Reuben’s death leaves a huge void in the lives of so many of us. It sounds cliché, but Reuben really was remarkable and he really touched people so deeply. Reuben lives on through his family and friends. We hope that you can be a part of REMemberfest and the work of the Remember Foundation.
Life is so unpredictable. Just in the seven months since Reuben’s death, there have been so many sad events in this country and around the world. There is so much we can’t control. Thornton Wilder was right when he wrote in the final sentence of The Bridge of San Luis Rey:
“There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.”
Love is what endures. We would love to share this first REMemberfest with you to celebrate and savor the love of Reuben Eli Mitrani and his precious family.
Please RSVP today.
Whether you can be there or not, please consider sharing your reflections and memories in the tribute book in Reuben’s memory being produced for this event. So many of you have written so beautifully and shared your thoughts and feelings on Caring Bridge, Facebook and directly with Donna, Albert and Adam. You have no idea just how sustaining your words and pictures have been. From those terrible days in the hospital in Geneva until now, your words and photos have made Reuben’s family cry and laugh and most of all feel held in the amazing web of support of this extended circle of love.
Please use the links below to register for REMemberfest, make a contribution to the REMember Foundation and share something that can be bound up in the tribute book along with photos and writings of Reuben.
Leah and Ron