Remembering a Teacher, SOLC 2015, 1 of 31

Last night, in my dreams, I was remembering the spirit of an old teacher, Joel Goldman. I have no idea why. Joel was my teacher for 7 weeks in Israel in the summer of 1990. Last December I learned that he had passed away some time ago.

Joel was part of the teaching staff of the Alexander Muss High School in Israel program. He was an American who had emigrated to Israel and joined the Israeli army. His army background was always quite secretive – the, “If I tell you, I’d have to kill you,” sort. But he was passionate, enthusiastic, funny and motivating. He guided us through a summer of learning about Jewish history, self-reflection and realization, friendships, hiking through canyons, mountains and to the top of Masada. He was with us every step of the journey – literally, just a step ahead.

Joel believed in us. Truly, he connected with his students and his smile, passion and compassion drove us to do our best, be our best and believe that we could be anything we wanted to be.

I kept in touch with Joel for a short time after we left HSI (High School in Israel), but haven’t thought about him in a long time. In December, four of us who had been on that trip together had the opportunity to reunite and immediately we spoke of Joel. It was one of them who told me of his passing.

I’m not sure why I thought of him last night, but just remembering his spirit is a good reminder of how to live life largely and fully. Good enough for me.

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