by Ciro Farina (read by David Rubin)
Israel Rubin was my mentor, my father, my brother, my friend. But most of all he was my soulmate. Though he was a fervent Jew and I a humanistic gentile, our spirits were amazingly in harmony.
He both placed high value on generosity, intellectual curiosity, active pursuit of goals and dreams, a love of laughter and, perhaps most importantly, a desire to cherish the spiritual rather than the material. He was always more successful in adhering to these values than I am. But then that's the best kind of friend to have one who made me strive to be better than I was but somehow never made me feel I was being judged for my differences: He was the only man I knew that I could talk to about anything.
He drove me crazy when I worked for him - and I worked for him for thirty years even though he was my boss for only three. No matter how far away I was or whatever else I was doing he somehow hooked me into preparing documents or doing research on some project he happened to be pursuing at the moment AND HE ALWAYS HAD A PROJECT GOING! But I look back on those times as some of the most productive of my life because Israel could "nudge" me like no other person I've ever known - not even my wife!
I miss him terribly because he always made me want to be better than I am - to love more deeply and openly, to help more often and more consistently, to see the need of others and to do something about it. It's not that I can't continue to pursue this way of life without him but there was more urgency and more impetus with him in this world.
There are few people in my life with whom I can discuss the meaning of life as easily as I can discuss the weather. Israel and I once had a long, serious conversation over why the Jews wandered in the desert forty years looking for the Promised Land when any half decent navigator could have gotten there in a quarter of the time marching a mile a day in any direction other than back to Egypt! When one of those gemlike people passes out of your life the hole left is immense. He filled a huge part of my life and I don't expect that emptiness to ever be filled completely.
Fortunately, however, a soulmate is truly larger than life. Those inexplicable qualities that bound us together transcend time. So long as my memory will serve me I will always have a soulmate.