Friday, April 22, 2005

# Posted 10:14 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

A PILGRIMAGE TO BOROUGH PARK: Is it appropriate to deliver a eulogy in the blogosphere? When my uncle -- my mother's elder brother -- passed away two weeks ago, I wanted thousands and thousands of people, as many as humanly possible, to know what a wonderful human being he was. My uncle had shown so much kindness to me and to so many others for so many years. This much I owed him.

But I decided that delivering a eulogy online was not the right thing to do. Although I have written back and forth to hundreds of you during my time on OxBlog, the blogosphere is still too much of an anonymous place for emotional intimacy and vulenerability.

I do not believe that bloggers, like foreign correspondents, should separate their personal lives from their writing with a thick red line. But some things must remain private, and this was one of them.

I did speak about my uncle at his funeral. Even then, it was uncomfortable talking about so personal a relationship before an audience of many hundreds. Many of those in attendance I did not know. But everyone there was someone whose life had been touched by my uncle. That much we shared.

Instead of recounting what I said at the funeral, I would like to tell a brief story about my uncle. This story is not so much a memorial as it is a source of consolation, primarily for myself.

For more than twenty years, my father and my uncle had made a special trip to Borough Park, in Brooklyn, during the final days before Passover. Borough Park is where my uncle and my mother grew up. Although kosher-for-Passover foods are now more widely avaiable, they used to be much harder to find except in places like Borough Park. So every year, my uncle would drive my father (a non-driver) out to Borough Park in order to shop for the holiday. And every year they would visit Semel's, the same small grocery store at which my grandfather shopped for Passover while he was still alive.

This year, I drove my father to Borough Park in my uncle's car. When I was in high school, my uncle taught me how to drive. When I was growing up, I always knew that he would be the one to teach me how to drive. And now, in this small way, I began to emulate my uncle, whose life of kindness is an example by which I will always be inspired.
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