web analytics
April 20, 2015 / 1 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Renaissance Man

Schild-Edwin

The term Renaissance Man is defined by Wikipedia Encyclopedia as “a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas.” Many of us might think we know someone of that calibre, but does the person really have such a span of knowledge and impact on others?

I often speak with clients about one’s legacy. One’s legacy is how he or she is remembered or thought of, often after one’s death. However, our legacy starts very early in life. Are we conscious of our own legacy? In fact, sometimes we don’t even know, or understand, the legacy of some of our own family members. Let me explain.

We have very good friends in Toronto who recently suffered a terrible loss. Over Sukkos the family gathered together at one family member’s home in New Jersey. To their great shock and dismay, their oldest son, who had joined them the night before, passed away in his sleep at the age of 47. This tragedy opened a page in the life of their son which they had not known about. They knew their son had been traveling around the world connecting with people from a variety of backgrounds. Of course, they knew of his upbringing, his schooling, some of his interests, but they didn’t realize until his death the depth of his knowledge, his influence on others and the span of his travels. Now, this was a not a family with a lack of communication. It seems that this son was jut incredibly modest and his profound life journey did not afford the right opportunity to share his adventures with his family and friends. After his death, Azriel was referred to by the Jerusalem Post as the “Mystical Renaissance Man.”

Let me introduce you to Azriel Cohen. He grew up in Toronto where he attended religious day schools. After graduation he learned in Israel for five years. He obtained a B.A. in psychology and a graduate M.F.A. in computer art. Somewhere along the way he also received a diploma in conflict resolution and began body healing through somatic experiencing therapy. His professional years centered on visual arts, promoting external and inner peace and Jewish education. As such, he supervised an Israel summer tour, a Jewish camp and a Jewish student organization. For several years he focused on developing innovative approaches to healing the rifts between different segments of the Jewish communities. In addition to Hebrew and English, he also spoke conversational French, Arabic, Thai and Hindi. Azriel took note of the mass influx of Israeli army youth going to India and set up a huge sukkah in one part of the country and hosted many Pesach sedarim there are well. Azriel was also one of the founders of the eco-village and artists’ colony established by Vertigo Dance Company in Israel’s Eila Valley.

He was best known for the Traveling Jerusalem Café art installation, which he pursued during the second intifada. The Jerusalem Post article written after his death noted, “He knew the ‘in’ places to go and made friends with everyone – he was just that kind of person.”

It was most amazing when his parents recently said to me that they were overwhelmed by the tributes from around the world they have received since their son’s death. His legacy was one beyond their own awareness of their son. In fact, they shared with me some of the letters, e-mails and messages they received. I would like to share with you some of the extraordinary comments about this most amazing young man.

“He was able to connect, it didn’t matter who they were and where they were from,” said a close friend. “You [could] see it in his face, this acceptance of people and love of people.”

A friend from Singapore talked of the magical Chanukah her family spent in Chiang Mai while visiting Azriel last year, when they sent lanterns floating into the night sky for each of the eight nights, and the jazz mural he painted this past August when he visited her in Singapore.

One friend wrote that she had met Azriel when she was a freshman in college. She was “wowed by his art.” Another time he told her about the amazing work he was doing in India. She described him as “humble, matter-of-fact” in how he described his “incredible” work.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Renaissance Man”

  1. Eli Freedman says:

    Beautifully written. Sums up Azriel Z"L and his forever lasting legacy and impact he had on all who knew him. May his memory be always blessed. B"H.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Said Arikat, al-Quds Washington, D.C. reporter. Jan. 29, 2015
More PA Lobbying from the State Dept Briefing Room
Latest Sections Stories
Lewis-041715-Jewish-Soldiers

During the Second World War, a million and a half Jewish soldiers fought in the Allied armies, the Partisan units in Eastern Europe, and the anti-fascist underground movements in Western Europe and North Africa. These Jewish fighters won over 200,000 medals and citations. The Museum of the Jewish Soldier in World War II in Latrun, […]

Jerusalem Heights Penthouse

The 2-day real estate event will take place in Brooklyn on April 26 and 27.

Schonfeld-logo1

She wasn’t paying attention to what the child did when the mother was not in the room. Rather, her main focus was on what the child did when the mother returned.

The Mets at least have hope for the future with some good young pitchers.

French thinkers of the Enlightenment were generally not pro-Semitic, to say the least.

My Jewish star was battered, indeed it was a wreck
But I picked it up anyway and put it around my neck
To know that hatred mangled it was surely very painful
But just the same to me it is still very beautiful.

A compulsion is a repetitive action. But what underlies the compulsion is an obsession or fear.

When any student in the building is in danger of failing, the equivalent of tornado warning sirens should wail around the school.

It goes without saying that when it comes to your kids, safety is always your number one priority.

After the last of Austria’s Jews were murdered, Albert confiscated whatever Jewish property remained.

How can you expect people who go through such gehenom to even know how to give warmth and love?

More Articles from Edwin Schild
Schild-Edwin

Interestingly, sometimes people who have a very high self-awareness may experience intense reactions to circumstances that others might respond to more mildly.

Schild-Edwin

We define stress as the feeling we get when there is too much to do and too little time to do it in.

I’d like to share some valuable insights that, with clear and meaningful understanding, will have a tremendous impact on our family’s future

Josh is only nine years old, yet he’s an addict. How is that possible? You’re wondering where he gets his drugs from, how does his addiction manifest itself and if there are treatment plans.

often find myself telling clients, “There is no such thing as emotions!” Then I wait for their reactions. My hope is that the client will challenge me, as obviously we all experience emotions. It’s the way we are wired.

In Part I talked about celebrating 30 years of Regesh Family and Child Services providing services to children, teens and families. I shared the agency’s origin and the many lessons I have learned through this journey. As I mentioned, it is my hope that my experiences will add to your toolbox of life skills.

As I look back, it is clear that I learned much as an administrator and therapist – and as an individual experiencing life. I hope you will stay with me as I reminisce.

I know what you are thinking. What possible situation could cause a professional to advise a parent to “Pray hard that your children ignore you”?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/renaissance-man/2013/02/28/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: