Monday, November 02, 2015

I'm Saying Kaddish for Uri Shamir

One of the last times I spent fun time with Uri Shamir 

was in 2007.

I saw him several more times on his visits and even tried to help him find a house in Rimmonim where he thought he'd like to settle in, finally reestablishing himself back in Israel.  But on 2007, we had a bit of a reunion.

The "we" are the 1964 graduates of Chofetz Chaim Yeshiva High School in Queens or, in English, the Yeshiva Preparatory High School.  Here we were in 2007:

Left to right:
Uri Shamir (Ziegel), Benny Ben-David, Sidney Shimshon Saltzman, Yours truly, Yisrael Medad (Winkelman), David Frankel.

Later joining us was Bennet Ostrov:

Uri was living in Rego Park, Queens. Benny is in Alon Shvut. Sid is in Yerushalyaim
I'm in Shiloh. David in Bet El. Bennet in Efrat.

I checked my Gmail account and the last time I heard from him was in May 2014.

He was a commercial real estate broker with Kaplon-Belo Associates in Long Island City, N.Y. and managed to get quoted in the Washington Post and in a local Queens news site in 2013 on the subject of a library as a "retired resident".  He had lectured at Queens College and was the educational coordinator for the Real Estate program in 2007.  He also taught at the Pratt Institute.  He edited a college textbook and others.

A year and a half ago he sent me this update:
I had spinal fusion surgery a few months ago and have been going to therapy twice a week since then. Other than that nothing special is going on. Stay in touch. - Shalom - Uri
In 2009 he was looking into purchasing property to make a home here and tried Shiloh which didn't work out.  I assisted him at Rimmonim but he disappeared all of a sudden with no goodbye and only later did I catch up with him.  He could be very mecurial at times.

He was diabetic and had emergencies previously but last week, he died, in his apartment. Alone.  He was buried last Friday in Staten Island.

I first met him when I was 13 at the Yeshiva Preparatory High School, aka Chofetz Chaim Yeshiva. Four years together.  After graduation, our paths separated but he had preceded me to the Machon progam in Israel by a year and stayed on, living at HaMaalot Street, sub-letting at the flat of Shmuel Kook, Rav Kook's youngest brother.  He was my guide in Jerusalem that first month of September 1966 and I lost a bet to him.  He managed to get into the Old City of Jerusalem before I did at the end of the Six Days War.  By two days as I was at Moshav Amatzia and only on the second day of Shavuot could I make it to the city. I met him at the Sakhna:

He stayed on and I next ran into him when my wife and I made Aliyah in September 1970. He attended Hebrew University but I do no know if he graduated.  He married and eventually left and returned to the States.  He later divorced.  He came back not infrequently for visits, bringing gifts for my kids and performing magic tricks for them.

Almost 40 years of this routine.  He stayed and visited the others who graduated YPHS in 1964 but I could never pin him down to anything even semi-permanent.  My wife and I did try but I felt as if he just couldn't make a decision.  He complained about his fortunes as a real estate agent.  He even tried to import observation balloons for Israel's security, the company was IsraelSkyship, preceding by at least a decade or more what we now see overhead.  Space enthralled him.  His humor was, well, a bit wacky, but tolerable.

And now he has died.  Alone.

Uri ben Baruch Yehudah Aryeh.

I am saying Kaddish for him.



Life said...

Hi can you please send me a number I can call about Uri
Thank you

YMedad said...

to where?