This week, we memorialized a beloved member of our Sinai Temple community, Bart Kogan. Bart developed so many connections around the country, but each person felt as if they were part of Bart’s family. He had a unique quality of being a leader that lifts someone’s spirits time and time again.
Another board member was sitting at the memorial. I approached her, wondering about her connection with Bart. I didn’t think they knew each other very well. She explained to me that whenever she went to a shiva, Bart was always there. It was clear that sometimes he knew the deceased and sometimes he didn’t. But she continued to be inspired by this man that was devoted to making a minyan, committed to the value of community, and showed up anytime he could. She thought to herself, God-forbid something happened to her, she knew Bart would be there. How could she not show up for him?
Bart didn’t show up to life cycles to be noticed or receive accolades. He showed up because he cared. He cared with a lev shalem, a complete heart. Hillel was known for saying, “Do not separate yourself from the community.” But what does it look like to unite the community? What does it look like to immerse oneself in community? An answer could very well be in what our board member observed in Bart. Showing up for each other because you might be needed. Showing up for the sake of honoring another human being’s story. Showing up because God has given us life to connect and hold each other.
What a beautiful person. What a beautiful legacy. What a beautiful challenge. May showing up for each other be an integral thread of our story.
In partnership with The Jewish Journal, you can also find Rabbi Guzik’s blog post HERE.