July 19, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

‘Your davening was whole because you were whole, Donny.’

Editor’s note: Donny’s aunt, Shira Kronenberg, gave this hesped at Yeshivat Sha’alvim on Sunday, May 2, 2021.

Donny, I wish I could explain our relationship to the world so they could understand the pain I feel every time I think about how I will no longer get a Friday morning phone call from you. You were my nephew, yet sometimes you were just a friend and other times when I would hang out with you, Akiva and Gabby you felt like my siblings. I was blessed because I know it is not a given to have a relationship with a nephew, and most certainly not a close one.

Whether you were in camp, on Kollel or in Israel for the year my phone would ring Erev Shabbos and I would feel like the luckiest person in the world. Donny, I never took for granted the times you and I would spend together because I knew I was blessed that you and your siblings lived so close, your parents made me feel like I was literally a part of the family and that you continued to call and want to spend time with me. My heart would literally melt when you would respond I love you at the end of our phone calls. My students knew all about you and your siblings because I was always so proud to be your aunt.

Donny, know each night I write you a letter because I don’t know how else to cope with a loss I know no one truly can understand as I was not your parent or grandparent. I truly believe our relationship is not because I am single and don’t have my own children, but because of you and the big heart you had. I will cherish our road trips to Krispy Kreme, playing board games and doing puzzles, our phone conversations, meme sharing, and making fun of your parents and siblings together. I will miss making you poppers, steak sandwiches and potato kugel. I will miss telling you stories about my students or what I am teaching… I will just miss you!

What I will do is work more on being b’simcha and the way I daven. Like you, tefillah is important to me and I cherish the time I get to work on my relationship with Hakadosh Baruch Hu, however, when Rabbi Lau came to pay a shivah call to your parents this past week he said something that hit home. He said to your father that it was clear from everything that everyone said you were always b’simcha and that since you were always happy and you always davened it meant that you were shalem, complete. Your davening was whole because you were whole and that you fully believed. Donny, you are a true role model to me and I am going to strive to be you, to be b’simcha and shalem in all that is put before me and to have full emunah and be b’simcha with whatever life offers me. I love you so much.

By Shira Kronenberg

 

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