My father’s Hebrew name was Yaakov, and what a powerful voice he had! I don’t just mean that he could command a room without a microphone – though he did that masterfully, with enthusiasm, wisdom, and humor – but that he used his voice to inspire others. In his work, he crisscrossed the globe, running programs to train new Jewish leaders and helping what he liked to call “amcha” become more committed, active Jews.
In everyday interactions, he never failed to offer a good word to security guards, taxi drivers, or customer service representatives on the phone. To me, to his family, he expressed his love constantly – teaching us that if you love someone, there’s no such thing as saying it too often.
Later on, my father published a book of his Torah insights and another of his poetry. Their pages overflow with his boundless optimism and conviction that we should each use our unique, G-d-given gifts to contribute to the world, and especially Klal Yisrael, and thereby become Hashem’s partners in creation. When I read them, I can almost hear my father’s voice and see his beaming face.