Your mother survived the Shoah. You were born on my father's birthday in the same year that I was born. This year, you left the world on Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day. The last time we saw each other— a Shabbat meal together here in Jerusalem with my family— we didn’t play music as we had before. Still, guitar strings resonate with memories —sound out Vietnamese lunches together where we would share a meal, more conversations, friendship. —sound out walks around the lakes in Minneapolis, talking freely. We planned meeting in Israel on one of those walks, and after that trip, I came again, when I met Aviva, to where I have now made my home. One of my trips to eretz Israel, before moving here, when war broke out, I met a couple at a café who knew you—the first couple you performed a marriage for, they said. In this way harmonic circles hum. You have left the world on a day we will never forget. And today I will visit the Western Wall, leave this poem as a prayer for you, your family, your friends, your congregants, your students, all those you have left behind with memories of laughter, music, lessons learned, and forgotten, I imagine. These connections and memories form gold wires, a fine-tuned antenna for here and the world to come that will keep your soul’s signal singing in the synapses of love.
Poem ©2023 Michael Dickel
Photos ©2010 Aviva Dekel
A beloved rabbi, good friend, and mensch—I will miss Sim. I wish we’d had one more visit here in Israel, one more music session, one more walk around the lakes. May his families and friends be comforted by his memory. May his memory be for a blessing to all who knew and loved him.