March 27th, 2007

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Baruch Dayan Ha Emet: David Honigsberg

Today was the day I had planned to post a bit of an update, and an explanation of why I haven't had time to keep up with this blog for so many days.

And then I just got the news that a friend, David Hongisberg, had died this morning of a heart attack. David kept a LiveJournal at dochyel, and in this entry from less than a week ago, Six Months Later..., he talks about recovering from his heart attack last September, and all his plans for the next half-year.

May his family be comforted.
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Eulogy: David Honigsberg, 48

Although I still want to write about the things that have kept me busy over the past few weeks, I find that I'm drawn to reminiscing about David Honigsberg. David wasn't a close friend, but he was a good friend, if you understand the distinction. I met David through science fiction circles, in those places where fandom and writers intersect. Nomi and I used to see him and his wife Alexandra at conventions or at lunches on our all-too-infrequent trips to New York. We heard him sing as part of the Don't Quit Your Day Job Players and we bought one of their CDs. We made sure to send him a birthday card every year.

Among his other accomplishments, David was a rabbi. Although he wasn't my rabbi – meaning he wasn't the rabbi I would go to for a ruling on halakha (Jewish law) – he was a rabbi whose intelligence and education I respected. A few years ago, I found myself interested in learning more about kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism. I knew that David had immersed himself in the study of kabbalah; he had even written a game supplement for Ars Magica called Kabbalah: Mythic Judaism, and I believe somewhere I have an autographed copy. So when I wanted to learn more, I asked him if I could study under him over the Internet. David agreed, and for a semester I learned kabbalah from him. I still have all the lecture notes and lessons he sent me as part of the course, and I recall that he had hoped to turn it into a book one day.

David was also a man of great compassion. I last heard directly from him just after my mother died two months ago. When Nomi and I returned home from the funeral, we discovered that David had left us a long message on our answering machine, offering whatever spiritual comfort and emotional support he could. I have been so busy dealing with my own recent emotional upheaval that I never managed to get back to him. I made a note to send him a thank-you card as soon as I had a chance, and now I'll never get to do that.

David was a mensch, and he made this world a better place. Many of us will miss him. As before, I send my condolences to David's parents and to Alexandra. May they be comforted in this time of great sorrow.