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
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