Alexander Kaufman (June 7, 1928 – January 16, 2022)

by Daniel A. Kaufman

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My father died last night after a three year struggle with congestive heart failure and all that comes with it. Had he made it to June, he would have been 94. My mother remains with us, and in August will turn 90.

“Aba” — which is what I always called him and means “father” in Hebrew — was a remarkable man. To see just how remarkable, I recommend reading the extended quotations I pulled from his most recent book on his life and which I wrote with him. His time on the earth spanned almost the entire 20th Century and part of the 21st. He was chased out of one country, helped found another, and finally came to America to start a family and a business and a life.

I plan to write an extended essay on my father and on our experience of the last three years. For now, let me just say that I am immensely grateful to him: for being a good father to me and an even better grandfather to my daughter Victoria. I loved him and always will.

From his early days in the US, sometime in the late 1950’s or early 60’s.
Not too much before I was born. Late 1960’s.
With me in Key Biscayne, 1974
With my daughter, Victoria, back in 2008
With Victoria and my Mother at Victoria’s Bat-Mitzvah in 2015
Going with Victoria up on the Bimah, for her Bat-Mitzvah, 2015
With some of the family at his 90th birthday, June 7, 2018.
With Victoria and me, sometime in 2017.
In 2018, visiting the grave of his grandfather and grandmother who were buried in Delaware, after moving to the US. It would be the last trip he would take. He and I drove there together. Not long after this, his dramatic health decline began.
From the last set of pictures I ever took of him, 2018.

30 thoughts on “Alexander Kaufman (June 7, 1928 – January 16, 2022)

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  1. He clearly was a remarkable man. It’s wonderful that he had such a long, eventful, and productive life. Thanks for sharing some of it with us.

  2. We Remember Them by Sylvan Kamens & Rabbi Jack Riemer

    At the rising sun and at its going down; We remember them.
    At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter; We remember them.
    At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring; We remember them.
    At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer; We remember them.
    At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of the autumn; We remember them.
    At the beginning of the year and when it ends; We remember them.
    As long as we live, they too will live, for they are now a part of us as We remember them.

    When we are weary and in need of strength; We remember them.
    When we are lost and sick at heart; We remember them.
    When we have decisions that are difficult to make; We remember them.
    When we have joy we crave to share; We remember them.
    When we have achievements that are based on theirs; We remember them.
    For as long as we live, they too will live, for they are now a part of us as, We remember them.

    “Hamakom yenachem etchem betoch shaar avelay tziyon veerushalayim,”

  3. e.e. cummings’ ‘My Father’:

    my father moved through dooms of love
    through sames of am through haves of give,
    singing each morning out of each night
    my father moved through depths of height …..

    and should some why completely weep
    my father’s fingers brought her sleep:
    vainly no smaller voice might cry
    for he could feel the mountains grow…..

    his anger was a right as rain
    his pity ws as green as grain…..

    septembering arms of year extend
    less humbly wealth to foe and friend
    than he to foolish and to wise
    offered immeasurable is.,…

    though dull were all we taste as bright,
    bitter all utterly things sweet,
    maggoty minus and dumb death
    all we inherit, all bequeath

    and nothing quite so least as truth
    – i say though hate were why men breath –
    because my father lived his soul
    love is the whole and more than all

    1. Nick, I wish you, Ian and I were sitting in the old bar at Teddy Hall. Those are some of my best memories.

      Thank you for this, and for your continuing friendship, even at such a distance.

  4. Indeed, a life well lived. Your father clearly made a difference from being in the world. One can see at least one element of how he must have been a great human being just by knowing you, albeit at a distance. The “Startups” is also a compelling read. Trust you and yours can adjust to the passing as well as possible through the grieving process that is a journey to be sure.

  5. My deepest condolences. There is much to say about the ravages of time but, now is the time for a celebration of a life well lived. Thank you for sharing the photos. They really personified your private saga.

  6. Baruch Dayan ha-Emet. May you take comfort in the beautiful memories you have of him, and know that in your time of mourning your friends are thinking about you. Zichrono livracha — may the memory of him be a blessing.
    A big hug, haver 🙂

  7. He sounds like he was a good man, and it clearly shows in the quality of his son and his granddaughter.

    Bless you in your time of need.

  8. I am sorry for your loss.

    I appreciate all the older photos that depict the different eras he lived through. Perhaps, it is just motivated reasoning as I get older myself 🙂 but as I age I more firmly believe that it is fitting to have respect for the elderly.

  9. The true measure of someone’s life is how they will be remembered by those they touched. A great testament to him is not only the fine child and grandchild he raised, but that to carry on his wonderful legacy and memory is so important to them. Even in your sorrow you have much to be proud of Daniel. My best wishes.

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