The passing of a wonderful mentor our Rabbi Yonah Geller

Today, our dear and beloved Rabbi passed away. I heard the news that Rabbi had fallen and was in ICU at the hospital on Wednesday evening when several friends performed mitzvahs of their own and called to let me know. An email had been sent from our synagogue that same day saying that the family had requested no visitors at the hospital. After all of those breakfasts spent this past year with the Rabbi and his wife she must have told me atleast 5 stories about how she would go to the hospital when someone was ill and bring “a little nosh” and often times much more. Rabbi Geller and his wife visited my husband and I after both of our children were born. They have been special people in our lives since the day we arrived in Portland, Oregon almost 14 years ago. I was torn about whether or not it was appropriate to go to the hospital. Wouldn’t everyone feel as if this special man and our Rabbi had touched their life as well. I decided even though the email had said no visitors, I would bring some nosh and stop by the hospital and stay just a few minutes. Ironically, the Rabbi’s wife had stepped out just before I arrived his son and daughter in law invited me to have a moment alone with the Rabbi. As he lay in his hospital bed a flood of emotions came back to me and I thanked him for the wonderful man he had been to our family and to me personally all of these years. It was a short visit but I was truly grateful today when I heard that he had died that I had been able to have that moment with him. I feel so much thinking about where I was 1 year ago with my own father being on his last days and realizing that I have learned an incredible amount this year. I know how it feels to lose an important person in your world and also that time does make those terrible feelings of loss subside. Also that the memories help you keep that person alive inside of you. It will be difficult going to the funeral of such a wonderful mentor and friend and I remember several people at my father’s funeral crying profusely and realizing that while they were not only crying for my father they were also crying for the people in their own lives who had died. I expect that it will be that way for me as well. I realize that this mitzvah project has taught me so much and while I celebrate completing my 1st 500 mitzvahs I want to dedicate the next 500 to not only my father but to the memory of Rabbi Yonah Geller. I hope that I touch others in the way that you have touched our family. We will miss you greatly.

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