2nd January 2020
Shabbat Shalom dear friends
This week I am not going to talk about politics, anti-semitism or diplomacy. This week I am going to write to you about an exceptional human being; someone who brought light into every life he touched and he touched many.
Two weeks ago my amazing son Daniel, Dr. Daniel Cammerman, was cycling on his way to work at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, along 96th Street, when he was hit by a bus. Daniel did not survive.
I always knew he had a special wisdom from when he was tiny and he went on to became a brilliant student, an accomplished musician, a caring doctor, loyal, loving and attentive husband, adoring father, loving brother and amazing friend, always ready to put everything into perspective in our lives. I was so proud of everything he was, knew he was special, but until I began to hear his patients and fellow physicians I, even I, had no idea of the extent of his influence on others. I don’t want to talk just about Daniel, I want to explain why he was so special and find in what way he can continue to influence others to be better people.
My son Gideon, in his speech at the ceremony before the funeral, said of his brother “He was the best of us” and I changed it to “He was the best in us”. Daniel brought out the best in everyone by example. Indeed as Gideon also said ““I am the only person who can say that his older brother never said or did a single mean thing to him”.”
So how can Daniel continue to influence you and me? By following his example .
He learned to listen rather than expound; a rare quality in this day and age
As a physician, a paediatrician, he used the same listening powers to understand what his patients needed rather than declare his greater medical knowledge
He treated the road sweeper with the same respect as his fellow professors
He knew how to love and be loved, accepting both with equal generosity
His arms were ever open to those who needed a hug or just wanted a welcome
He accepted everyone as they were, he never expected anyone to change to meet his opinions
Despite exceptional academic achievement, at school for instance, all of his fellow students would turn to him for advice because he was never in competition with anyone else, concentrating too hard on being the best person he could be.
Daniel always saw the beauty around him and on his walks across the Park to work he would take photographs of the changing colours of the trees to send to me.
Perhaps his most endearing quality was his ability to be silly, a wonderfully simple sense of humour which was so contagious it made even passers-by laugh.
I have no more words, I can hardly see the keys because the tears are flowing but I can only tell you that if even a tiny fraction of the people on this earth were like Daniel it would be an infinitely better place than we find today.
I am and will always be proud to be called Daniel’s mother and I know I speak for Philip, his father, for Rachel and Gideon, Stephanie and Igal, for Karen his beautiful wife, Joshua and Callie, Ellen, Michael and Liz for Zvi, Amiad and Leor, Barbara, Elyssa and Leonie and all Daniel’s cousins, nieces and nephews. We were all given the gift that is, was and always will be my incredible eldest son Daniel; above all, Karen, Joshua and Callie who were his very life.
I can’t end this painful missive without saying a huge thank you for the incredible friendship of Paddy, Poodle, Rob, Jeremy, Helene and Martin, Julie and so many wonderful people who held our hands, held us up and cried with us, you know who you are and I love you very much.
Zvi and Barbara your love, loyalty and caring was above and beyond all expectations.
Daniel loved Gilbert and Sullivan, indeed played and sang in G&S in the part of Koko, the Lord High Executioner at Carmel College, which as far as Professor Dwek was concerned ensured his place in Exeter College, Oxford where he went on to achieve a double first in Mathematics and Computation! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWGLi7JmKz4
Having studied piano at Carmel College Daniel loved to play. He would come home from a particularly difficult day at the hospital, would sit at the piano and play Khachaturian’s Toccata, taking his emotions out on the piano. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dB9ezP5e_l4&feature=youtu.be
As a baby he would fall asleep to my singing “Dididi”, his name for Brahms Lullaby; he would fall asleep instantly, but I’d stay, humming quietly, to watch him sleep. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBq9bV9rTHc
The lesson I learned two weeks ago is that when the chips are down nothing really matters except those you love and love you in return. Politics are irrelevant; it’s all up to us. We can change our world, one at a time, by caring about others, being loyal to our principles, by demanding justice and most importantly, by being the best person we can be. Daniel was.
Look up Daniel Cammerman on Google and learn about the most wonderful man who will always be my funny, wise, kind and adored baby boy.
With love from Jerusalem