Friday, February 01, 2013

Mayor Koch's Tombstone

Having actually lived in New York during Ed Koch's three terms as mayor, I remember it less fondly than many (Richard Brookhiser agrees, and has a roundup of the Koch Era).

But while Koch identified himself as mayor of New York City first, foremost, and forever, his second great cause was Israel and Judaism, often crossing party lines to endorse those whom he felt would best protect the Jewish people, wherever they may be. 

So while the epitaph he hand-picked for his gravestone is not surprising, I still found it to be incredibly touching:

With due care, he chose the words for his tombstone. He chose to say what Daniel Pearl said, before he was beheaded by terrorists: “My father is Jewish. My mother is Jewish. I am Jewish.” He also chose this: “Hear, o Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.”

Rest In Peace, Mr. Mayor....

"I don't want to leave Manhattan, even when I'm gone. This is my home. The thought of having to go to New Jersey was so distressing to me." -- After purchasing a burial plot in Manhattan's Trinity Cemetery in 2008.


Jim - PRS said...

He was a democrat and a liberal. I disagreed with his positions more often than not, but I still liked and respected the guy. I'll miss him.

The JerseyNut said...

I agree, Jim. He was the last of a dying breed - a liberal whom you could intellectually spar with and disagree with, but who would respect your positions and leave you feeling positive about the encounter.

Today, the best you get in terms of argumentative reason from a liberal is:

"Because...shut up, I said."