Dear Kalter Family,
I'm sitting in the airplane now, quietly crying, flying back from my close friend Yosef's levaya. Words can't describe how devastated I feel for everyone's tremendous loss. This is not meant to be an eloquent speech, just some words from my heavy heart.
I wanted to share with you what Yosef meant to me throughout all the years that I knew him, and hopefully the fond memories that I have for him will bring you some small amount of comfort.
I first met Yosef when I was 9 or ten years old in Camp Magen Avraham. We spent the next few summers with each other becoming good friends only to meet up again in 9th grade at Wits.
Yosef and I were roommates for 9th and 10th grade. That was when I got to really see the special person he was. Of course besides for the good times and late night conversations we had about everything (and me having to listen to all the Bulls games - and every KABOOM that he would say when Kerr hit a three- ask Yerachmiel what that means...) what stood out was that Yosef always seemed to be mature beyond his years. He had such conviction and passion about everything he felt was important. What a sense of Yashrus he possessed... ( then there was our Failed Donut business that we started together. We still teased each other about it for years, even as recently as last week.) There is so much to reminisce about. Tears well up in my eyes every time I think about these and many more memories.
Fast forward to the last 8 years... A few things stood out to me about Yosef that effect me personally when it comes to my family.
There were two things that Yosef always talked about and focused on so much. Being a good husband, and father.
He would always tell me about the sensitivities we need to have for our wives. Putting them before anything. Doing everything for them. When we used to have the Purim seuda together, he would always be concerned where the women were sitting and that they shouldn't feel left out. Their are so many examples of this.
And his children. What a father. Always making sure that they felt so special. Being mechanech his children properly was so integral to him. They needed to grow up with a strong self esteem. He had no idea the impact he had on me from all these talks we had and what he displayed through his personal example.
When Yosef went through his ordeal with his eye, most people in his position might have given up, complained, and had a valid excuse to not continue and complete what they set out to complete.
Yosef wanted to get Semicha. He asked me to learn with him. He was on fire. Motivated beyond belief to get Semicha. He was learning with a patch on one eye... I was so amazed at what I was witnessing. My dear friend fighting through this obstacle with no complaints. How could I not be motivated to match his enthusiasm!! He would stay on top of me to make sure we always finished our quota for the day. Constantly stopping for him to put his drops in his eye, but when he was finished, right back to learning. What a powerhouse. What Chizuk I received. I owe Yosef so much....
We spoke often during this last year or so. He was always positive. Just wanted to schmooze, joke around. Why didn't I call him more... I have so many regrets. This happened too fast... I'm still in shock... Denial. I feel like when I land I'm just gonna get on the phone and call him... What a good friend... Terrible loss.
I know how much being Marbitz Torah and being Mekarev Jewish Neshamos meant to him. He would always ask how things were going in Dallas. So proud of his Chaveriem... He has such a huge Cheilek in anything we do.
So many fond memories of such a special friend. He was an amazing man.
He loved his while family so much.
I am honored and lucky to have had Yosef as such a close friend. I will miss him so much...
He will no doubt have the same conviction and drive in Shomayim as a Meilitz Yosher and daven for the well being of his wife, their three children, and the rest of his family.
Rabbi Tzvi Wachsman