Here's a link to his NYT obituary.
I'm lucky. He was an incredibly loving man.
He used to say "there are a lot of crazies out there." I don't think he meant it as a judgment. He was a psychoanalyst. Maybe he meant to watch out, or that we're all crazy. No arguments on that one.
He wanted to heal DJT. Seriously. He wrote letters to The White House offering free therapy. Wish they'd taken him up on it.
Here's a bit of what I said at his funeral...
My dad LOVED FEELINGS. His and everybody elses. He loved any kind of emotion, happy or sad.
He loved suffering.
I know, it sounds weird but he didn’t see it as bad, he saw it as a way to connect. Suffering was like the name Belgray or being Jewish. It was a way to forge a connection on a deeper level. We’re all connected because we’re all human. We’re all human because we all suffer. You go beneath suffering, you never know what you’ll discover -- what feelings you might unearth.
My dad wanted everybody to feel as connected as he did. If you boil it down, he just wanted everybody to feel like they belonged.
This happened three days after my dad passed away (the day before the funeral)...
I needed to get a bunch of stuff from Zabars for the shiva. I took the shopping cart my mom still has from the 70’s. It’s huge. (It’s one of those upper west side carts that old people use to cart around their shopping bags. Its wheelbase is wider than any Manhattan grocery store aisles.)
I had ordered my lox and was rolling through to go back and get cream cheese.
I pass this woman sitting in the middle of the store eating yogurt, with her foot sticking out. I say “excuse me” as I try to pass. I thought she’d slide her foot out of the way. Instead, she goes:
“You get out of MY way, Bitch!” I ignored her till she again said, “don’t tell me to get out of the way, bitch!”
I couldn’t believe this was happening. I debated whether to fight back. Instead I said, “Please don’t talk to me like that my dad just died.”
She called out “I don’t care you fuckin’ bitch!”
I was Laughing and crying. I thought of my dad and how he would’ve seen the humor in this situation.
I went back to the fish counter. I talked to the lox guy about it, hoping to get a laugh. Instead he was just sympathetic. He didn’t think it was as funny as I did.
I rolled around to pick up coffee… There she was again. She goes, “Fuck you bitch telling me to get outta your way!”
Me: “My dad just died. Wednesday.”
Her: “I don’t care. I had a father. He died 9 years ago.!”
Me: “I’m sorry to hear that.”
Her: “AND I have cancer!”
Me: “I’m so sorry.” And I rolled along. Rolling over to register, there she is again. This time I confronted her.
Me: “I’m really sorry for your loss.
Her: “It’s not a loss I had to have surgery. I’m sick! And I’m alone!”
Me: “I’m so, so sorry.”
Her: “But I have the best doctors treating me.”
Me: “Well that’s something.”
She was silent. I roll over to check out.
This is something I’ve never said before, but I was in a state I’d never been.
I go, “I’m gonna do a prayer for you. What’s your name?”
Her: “...Thank you. It’s Cindy.”
After that, she starts telling me her mom grew up at 470, she went to Calhoun. I’m like I grew up at 450. I went to Calhoun. Her friend comes over. She’s like “Barbara, this woman went to Calhoun and grew up at 450.”
Barbara’s like “how do you two know each other?”
I said, “we were fighting but now we’re friends.”
That’s my Dad’s legacy for me -- the message he brings: Out of suffering and anger emerges human connection.
And that was his life’s work: making connections and talking to crazy people.
Peace be with you, loving Dad.