1. Back in the 1960’s my grandfather was on a plane and “discovered” yoga. He was having a drink in the lounge (double-decker plane!) when he met a couple that looked incredible for their age. He, of course, wanted to know what they did to take care of themselves. They replied that they practiced yoga. Zeyda went out and bought the book Yoga for Americans and started practicing in his bedroom each morning before catching the train from Long Island into Manhattan for work. He was so impressed with how yoga made him feel that he bought the book in bulk and started including it as a ‘thank-you’ gift for new clients to his textile business Keep in mind that my grandfather was a 40-something Jewish business man with a family at this point, not a hippy or beatnik. He continued practicing yoga for the next 50 years.
2. I’ve always been extremely proud of my Zeyda. He was exceptionally generous and very successful in business but what impressed me most was that he was a progressive thinker and kept an open mind.
3. Although he never attended college, my Zeyda felt like education was really important and encouraged each of his seven grandchildren to go to school. I definitely felt pressure to get a degree but my grandfather always encouraged me as a dancer and artist, I never felt pushed into a more traditional career path. He and my grandma have always supported the arts and have seen at least as much modern dance as me!
4.My Zeyda thrived on family and community and was never happier than when multiple generations were gathered to celebrate. He would walk around with a huge grin on his face and snap pictures of anyone and everything. His love for photography led him to have envelopes printed up that read “You’ve been snapped by Abby” and he used them for decades to gift people with shots of themselves. This proclivity for the camera was passed on to his kids and grand-kids, we are all fond of taking pictures and my cousin has made a career of it.
5. My grandfather was a very generous man and thrived from giving. He was always ready, willing, and able to offer anything from money to advice to a shoulder to lean on or an ear to bounce an idea off of.
6. “Never stop moving”. My Zeyda knew how important exercise was and until recently walked at least 2 miles a day, did water aerobics, played golf, and practiced yoga.
7. A man of faith. Judaism played a starring role in my Zeyda’s life and he was always excited to pass on his beliefs to the next generations.
8. When I started this blog in 2010 one of my first comments was from my Zeyda. He continued to be one of my biggest fans, despite being, ummmm, not exactly my target demographic. 😉 He would print every post and bring it with him to coffee dates with friends to share. I was always so proud that he was proud of me for this endeavor.
9. I get my travelers spirit from my grandparents, I’m pretty sure they have seen every continent!
10.Adventurous! Zeyda was up for anything, from whitewater rafting to skiing to hang-gliding!
11.The ultimate optimist. This man’s glass wasn’t just half-full, it was full and sometimes even overflowing! He once said “we can maximize our pleasure by trying to see the positive side of everything we do.”
12. My Zeyda accomplished great financial success but believed that “who we are and what we do are the most dynamic and satisfying qualities” not how much money we make.
13. Described by his rabbi as a “sweetheart of a man”, my grandfather was always giving hugs and kisses and huge smiles.
14. A food lover. Zeyda had three specialties that I knew of; waffles, air-popped popcorn, and grilled fish. Okay, so he wasn’t much of a cook, he loved food though and when I once asked him if there was anything he didn’t like he thought for a while then replied “well, I don’t really eat pork”. Of course he didn’t eat pork, he was a devout Jew! I’ll take that as a ‘no’, there’s no food he didn’t like.
15. Zeyda was a fighter and a survivor. In 1982 he was diagnosed with lymphoma but made a complete recovery after a series of treatments.
16. My Zeyda loved gadgets and got a huge kick out of technology.
17. Zeyda never stopped learning, adventuring, or seeking knowledge and connections with others.
18.My Zeyda used the following quote as one of the guiding principles for his life,
Do more than exist, live.
Do more than touch, feel.
Do more than look, observe.
Do more than read, absorb.
Do more than listen, understand.
Do more than care, love.
In LOVING memory of
June 18, 1918-April 2 2013
*Zeyda is a Yiddish word for grandfather and 18 is a symbol for life in Judaism.