Photo Credit – Emily Sinensky

Neither of us was where we were supposed to be when Nissan Krakinowski and I met. He should have been in Spokane, delivering a speech about the Holocaust to an audience of 900. I should have been home in Montana, fast asleep. Yet because of missed plane connections, we both found ourselves stuck in Salt Lake City, sitting together on an airport shuttle.

Although our flights did not connect, Nissan and I did connect during our chance meeting. Ten minutes together was enough to seal our friendship for life.

Sadly, that life ended on September 20. Nissan was killed by a car while on his way to Temple to say Kaddish for his late daughter.

Profound sadness multiplied tenfold when I learned the circumstances surrounding his death. After the unimaginable suffering he endured in his long life, why couldn’t he have gone to sleep and never wakened the next morning?

Then a friend wrote to me, saying: is there be a better way to pass than on the way to doing something righteous?

I could almost imagine Nissan saying that and I felt comforted.

Other friends sent a prayer written by Rabbi Alan Fine that appears in Gates of Repentance, the High Holiday Prayerbook used in Reform Temples.

Now I offer that prayer in Nissan’s honor:

Life is a Journey

Birth is a beginning and death a destination;
But life is a journey.
A going, a growing from stage to stage:
From childhood to maturity and youth to old age.

From innocence to awareness and ignorance to knowing;
From foolishness to discretion and then perhaps, to wisdom.
From weakness to strength or strength to weakness and often back again.
From health to sickness and back we pray, to health again.

From offense to forgiveness, from loneliness to love,
From joy to gratitude, from pain to compassion.
From grief to understanding, from fear to faith;
From defeat to defeat to defeat, until, looking backward or ahead:

We see that victory lies not at some high place along the way,
But in having made the journey, stage by stage, a sacred pilgrimage.
Birth is a beginning and death a destination;
But life is a journey, a sacred pilgrimage,
Made stage by stage…To life everlasting.

Nissan Krakinowski, Of Blessed Memory.




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4 Responses to OF BLESSED MEMORY

  1. Mary Ellen Gosman says:

    What a truly beautiful memorial.Nissan is surely smiling down from Heaven, seeing all the love and understanding he sowed,while earthly hearts are so filled with sadness at his loss.

  2. Betty Kuffel says:

    Thank you for sharing, Debbie.

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