gallin Remembrance of Synagogues Past - The Lost Civilization of the Jewish South Bronx

Ken's Eulogy

Seymour Perlin
Memorial Service
19 November 2010
Ken Perlin © 2010

I knew that this day would come. But I didn't realize it would be so soon.

It has been said that the most important decision we make in life is our choice of parents. My siblings and I chose very well indeed. And in order to talk about our dad, it's important to talk about his relationship with my mom, because never did a man love a woman as much as my father loved my mother.

In some ways they seemed to be complete opposites. While my mom is and has always been superwoman, charging around like a shooting star, a rocket ship, making things happen, saving the world, my dad has been the rock, the oak tree, the quiet and secure center that allowed us to know that we were all safe.

In their complementary ways they were perfect together. And it was always this union, this marriage, from which my father drew his strength, that great strength from which he gave with such kindness and generosity to everyone around him.

I knew that this day would come, but now that it has, I realize why all four of us, his children, have gone into professions that help people and make the world around us a better place.

And I think upon how he was always trying to see the best in everyone, and how he brought out the best in everyone, from the teachers and children in P.S. 39 and P.S. 59 and St. Thomas Aquinas College, to the person who worked in the town library and in the local supermarket checkout counter. He really cared about people, and would ask them about themselves, and all of these people considered him a friend.

I knew that this day would come, but now that it has, I see how profoundly my dad has touched every time of our lives, and how we all continue to be influenced by him, every time we choose to be kind and generous, to take an interest in the people around us, and to have the courage to listen to our better angels.

And I realize that my father has not really gone at all -- he is still here with us.