By: Zvi Gluck
This past year has been the most difficult year that I can remember. Like everyone else, my life has always had its ups and downs, but this year has been exceptionally trying. My mentor, my friend, a person who served as a father figure and taught me so much about life and family, left us suddenly. Unexpectedly. And tragically.
Five years ago, a giant of a man named Mendy Klein z’l came into my life. With his boundless compassion, support and encouragement for the work that I had been doing as a lone soldier, Mendy gave me wings to fly. He was the heartbeat of Amudim, challenging me beyond my limits, forcing me to aim higher and do more and with him pushing us all ever further, Amudim has the ability to do more than anyone could have ever imagined.
The list of things that Mendy taught me, and the way my life has changed since our first meeting, is limitless.
Here I stand, facing Mendy’s first yahrtzeit.
Naturally, on this day, I am overwhelmed by sadness and grief, I know in my heart of hearts that Mendy would insist that I use his yahrtzeit as an opportunity to do something meaningful. In addition to his generous contributions to Amudim, Mendy’s main priority was getting out in the trenches and championing the cause without mincing any words. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I heard him say, “We need to end this mageifa” and “This problem is everywhere.”
In tribute to a man who bridged the gap between all segments of the Jewish community, a person who dedicated his life to creating lasting peace and working relationships and an individual who cared more deeply than anyone I know, Amudim is releasing its newest PSA (Public Service Announcement) video titled This Is Not Us. This video personifies but one of Mendy’s missions and it seemed fitting to release this PSA both on his yahrtzeit and Lag B’Omer, a day that marks the end of a period of mourning for 24,000 of Rabbi Akiva’s students who died prematurely because they lacked respect for their fellow man. There can be no greater lack of respect than ignoring the cries of those who are in pain, and the notion that someone could turn their back on someone who is suffering ran counter to everything that Mendy believed in.
May the neshama of Menachem Moshe ben Naftali Herzka have an aliyah.
Miss you my friend,
If you would like to make a donation to Amudim in memory of Mendy Z”L, please click here: https://donate.amudim.org/
Zvi Gluck is the director of Amudim, an organization dedicated to helping abuse victims and those suffering with addiction within the Jewish community and has been heavily involved in crisis intervention and management for the past 19 years. For more information go to www.amudim.org