Updated 08/26/2011


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Written by Michael Weisblatt

Gabe Arzouan, may he rest in peace, was a close friend not just to me, but to many others. Indeed, he was friends with just about everyone who met him.

He was one of the most sensitive and generous persons that I have ever known. He embraced life, and taught the rest of us how to live it. He went out of his way to bring laughter, joy and happiness to all those who came into contact with him. From classmates to workmates, siblings to friends, he touched all of us in a special way. His sensitivity, caring and generosity towards others showed the rest of us how to behave and live our lives as Jews and people. He lived his life to do Mitzvot and help out others, from young students having trouble coping with Yeshiva, to delivering food to the needy for Tomchei Shabbos. All my memories of him only make me smile as I remember how funny and warm he was at all times.

Gabe’s relationships with family and friends were the most important things in his life, and he gave them his all. He was always surrounded by one or the other, and many times both. Every Shabbos would be a tug-of-war about where he would spend it and with whom. Since his passing last week at the young age of 35, I cannot count all of the wonderful stories and testimonials from friends and family that I have heard, of how Gabe made a positive impact in their lives. He had a way of reaching into people’s hearts, and making an indelible impression.

I do not know how to properly say goodbye to Gabe, who was taken from all of us so suddenly and unexpectedly. I do not know which emotion is proper at this time. Sadness is obvious, but then I remember how happy he always was, how much he enjoyed living on his terms, and a smile comes to me. Shocked? Yes, but then we are always reminded to expect the unexpected; and the more tragic it is, the more likely it can happen. As I think about my feelings, the one that stands out more than any other is loneliness. I already miss him terribly, his voice, his laughter, his friendship. We all have trivial complaints of personal losses and things that bother us all of the time, but this is very different - Gabe was a person whose value to the world was priceless. We need people like Gabe in all walks of our lives, to show us all how to behave and live like a Mensch.

All of this is somewhat meaningless now, as Gabe is gone, lost forever in a simple accident that could have claimed anyone of us, anywhere at any time. We have all lost a dear friend and family member and we do not know how to properly say goodbye. I can only say I know Gabe is with Hashem in a far better place, and I am sure he is bringing joy to everyone there.

Baruch Dayan Emet.

Written by Michael Weisblatt