February 8, 2019 3:47 pm at 3:47 pm #1676447
He was a Holocaust survivor who longed for the Jewish life he had been denied, having been a child given refuge by a Christian family during the hell that had befallen his people.
In exile in Toronto, Eddie Ford lived in the city’s Jewish neighborhood. But he always lived on its margins.
Ford lamented not having learned Jewish teachings, and not observing a kosher diet. He had vague memories of singing in a synagogue choir in Budapest.
Those regrets burned inside him, even as cancer wracked his body at end of his life, reported the National Post. The 85-year-old wanted a proper Jewish burial, but told some who visited him at a hospital that he likely did not deserve one.
Zale Newman, a volunteer rabbi who visited Ford regularly at the hospital, worked with his new friend to teach him about Judaism. “He asked me to teach him certain basics,” said Newman. “How could I not?”
“It’s like the purest act of kindness, the best people could offer,” said Newman. The rabbi decided he would do what he could to make the survivor’s last wish come true.
Newman took to Facebook to ask for mourners who were willing to go to Ford’s funeral and help meet the 10-man quorum need for a proper Jewish ceremony.
To his amazement, what began with the response of three people turned into something beyond his most optimistic imagination. “Four is four. It’s better than one,” he said to the Post.
He drove toward the gravesite, but could not reach it because there were numerous cars, obviously, he thought, for another funeral. He asked a crowd of mourners which funeral they were attending. were there for since he was curious about the popular deceased person that was drawing such a crowd.
The answer was: “Mr. Ford.” The scene by Ford’s gravesite gave Newman pause
“All I see is a hundred people dressed like ninjas” because of their bulky cold-weather clothing, he said. The mourners were of all ages.
Among them was even Ford’s estranged brother, who found out about the funeral. An overjoyed Newman felt compelled to express his gratitude on Facebook.
“My friends, yesterday I was afraid that I would perform a funeral for a charming Holocaust survivor without a minyan, in fact, without anyone else,” he wrote. “How sad and amazing it is to be part of the Jewish people who, at short notice, would leave everything, go a long way, stand in an open field in a freezing wind to accompany a small Jew from Budapest, who was unknown to most of you, on his last journey.”February 8, 2019 3:59 pm at 3:59 pm #1676471
Sounds like he did teshuva at the end of his life and was niftar a tzadik.February 8, 2019 4:04 pm at 4:04 pm #1676476
Joseph: what makes you say that?February 9, 2019 7:54 pm at 7:54 pm #1676573
funnybone: From additional details I’ve read elsewhere.February 9, 2019 8:55 pm at 8:55 pm #1676597
Joseph: you write something without being able to quote a source??February 9, 2019 9:15 pm at 9:15 pm #1676602
funnybone: On Aish.com the Orthodox rabbi who first met him seven months ago wrote about how Eddie became frum, started putting on Tefilin and making brochos.
That qualifies as a Baal Teshuva in my book and hence my judgement that he was niftar a tzadik.
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