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Jack - Page Text Content

BC: “Don’t let Jack bring me any chocolate cake.” - Faye “We have to get a piece of chocolate cake for Faye. She loves chocolate cake.” - Jack

FC: The Third Great Raphael | JACKCENTENNIAL | August 30, 1911

1: “There are three great Raphaels in history. The first is the archangel from the bible. The second is the painter from the Italian renaissance. Modesty prevents me from naming the third.” Jacob H. Raphael

2: We all know (or have heard) about GP’s devotion to his family and his love of reading and learning. But some may not know that he loved to travel and to explore the natural beauty of the USA and countries of the world that he had an opportunity to visit. In the summer of 1938, a year after their wedding, GP Jack and GM Lillian took a driving trip across the country. Considering that GP had lived his whole life in New York City and that this was decades before the interstate highway system was built, this was a daring adventure. They visited many of the national parks. I remember seeing photographs of that trip in the old family albums. Through the years, they took many trips to different parts of the US, some with children and some alone. [GM used to say “There are two ways to travel: first-class and with children.”] They attended summer courses in colleges all over the country and took advantage of whatever that state had to offer. Debbie, Alan, Irv and I got many picture postcards if we were at home or at camp. GP tried to write to each of us every day they were away. I think one of their most memorable trips was their first visit to Israel in the summer of 1967. They went on this tour just a month after the Six-Day War and the reunification of Jerusalem. That, as well as later trips to Israel, was the fulfillment of a dream for both GM and GP. In their retirement years they traveled to many countries of Europe, cruised the Mediterranean and through the Panama Canal, and of course spent quality time in the other homeland of New York Jews – Florida. So, for GP’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren who have or will develop the adventurous spirit and the urge to travel and explore the world – you come by it naturally! - Judy

4: One day, I finally asked, “What is it about Julie Andrews that you like so much?” Grandpa seemed amused by the question. “I mean, is it her looks? Her singing voice? What specifically?” Grandpa cleared his throat and placed one hand on his chest. “She SPEAKS beautifully,” he proclaimed. Grandpa loved the music in good speech – the right words, the clear voice, the diction. A magical umbrella doesn’t hurt either. -David

5: Grandpa & I were having lunch at a diner in Queens. The conversation turned to Jennifer & Jonathan Mallen's upcoming wedding and how nice it will be to see everyone. I mentioned that I had spoken with Jonathan who said that most of the wedding planning was on schedule, and all that was left for him to do was to pick out the color of the tuxedos. Grandpa slapped the table hard and in a booming voice for the entire restaurant to hear he shouted, "HOW MANY DIFFERENT KIND OF BLACKS ARE THERE?!?!" The room went silent as everyone stared at us in disbelief, including a number of African American patrons. I still laugh about it. - Danny

6: Here are two things that I heard Grandpa say a lot: 1. "Who's making all those speeches?" (I thought he was saying "peaches." I didn't know what he was talking about.) 2. When he gave me a present, and I thanked him, he would always say, "Use it in good health." "Thank you for the baseball cards." "Use them in good health." - Josh

7: Shortly after moving to Manhattan in 1994, I found myself wanting to learn everything about the history of New York City. I could think of no better way to do it than by spending time talking with my grandfather. In addition to being a life-long New Yorker, Grandpa Jack was a repository of more historical information than any person I knew. And there were coincidences. At the time, I was living in an apartment on 29th street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue. Seventy years earlier, Grandpa lived on the corner of 29th street and 2nd avenue in a building that once stood on the site where I shopped for groceries. I felt as though I was literally walking in his footsteps. I realized that I didn’t just want to learn about New York City. I wanted to learn about the world he experienced. I wanted to learn more about HIM. Grandpa, was it very loud when the 2nd avenue El rumbled past your apartment? Were you close with your family? What was the neighborhood like? Did you watch baseball at the Polo Grounds? What newspapers did you read? Was the old Madison Square Garden by Stanford White as spectacular as it was reported to be? Grandpa was very patient with my questions. He told me that when he was 12, he played stickball outside Madison Square Garden while inside the Democratic National Convention was choosing a candidate to run for President against Calvin Coolidge. But then a pattern emerged. In response to each question, he would begin talking about himself but he always ended up talking about Grandma Lillian. Only then did any real enthusiasm enter his stories. There was the magical night in December of 1932, when he first met Lillian at the 92nd Street Y. There was the slightly disapproving look that Abraham Gorrelick would give him when he arrived in Bensonhurst on Saturday night – a bit too close to sundown – to take out Lillian. There was the home in Flushing and then Whitehall Terrace. There were the summer trips, and the children. As much as I loved hearing these stories again, I had hoped for something else. Something more detailed about his own past. But then something occurred to me, and I listened more intently. The look in his eye and the tenderness in his voice told me much more about Grandpa Jack than knowing the address where he played stickball. -David

8: . | During the spring of 1963, we were planning our wedding. I was stressed out over the guest list, the menu, the seating arrangements, the members of the wedding party, etc. etc. (and so forth). We were trying to please everyone but that was impossible. One day, Dad casually said to me, “Those who mutter don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mutter.” Those words of wisdom have helped with many stressful situations even to this day. - Debbie

9: It was July 1, 1994 and Jonathan had just asked me to marry him. (Obviously I said "yes.") After we told Mom and Dad the news, we started to make phone calls. I called Grandpa in Philly - he was spending time with the Shragers. When Aunt Judy answered the phone I asked to speak to Grandpa. Here's the conversation: Sheryl: "Hi Grandpa." GP: "Hi my darling. What's new and exciting in sunny southern California?" Sheryl: "Well...Jonathan and I are engaged!" GP: "What's that darling?" Sheryl " Jonathan and I are engaged!" GP: "I'm sorry dear I can't seem to hear you." Sheryl: "I'm getting married!" GP: "Can you repeat what you said? I wasn't able to make it out." Sheryl (talking much louder now): "Jonathan and I are engaged to be married!" GP: "I'm sorry. What did you say?" Sheryl (talking even louder): "Jonathan and I are getting married!" GP: "One moment Sheryl. I'm going to switch phones." (Yes, we all knew that it was the phone that was the problem. Had nothing to do with his hearing aids). GP: "Let's try this phone now. What were you saying?" Sheryl (Basically screaming into the phone): "Jonathan and I are engaged." At which point Aunt Judy, who was across the room from Grandpa, takes the phone out of Grandpa's hand and says, "I heard that!" Sheryl: "Great. Thanks Aunt Judy. Could you possibly tell Grandpa?" So, that's how Grandpa learned that Jonathan and I were getting married. -Sheryl

10: In land of Israel there are 2 famous bodies of water. In the north lies the Sea of Galilee. It receives water from the upper Jordan River and the melting snows from Mt Hermon and the Banias. It gives up its water to the lower Jordan to flow South . It's waters are sweet, fish abound in the Sea, birds fly overhead, cities trees and parks surround it, children play and swim at it's shores. Further south lies the Dead Sea. It receives water from the lower Jordan but does not have an outlet. It takes but does not give. Its water is salty and cannot be drunk, no fish swim in it, there are no cities around it, it cannot support life. We can all learn from this comparison. If we live life like the Sea of Galilee, give back from what we receive, we can expect to be surrounded by sweetness and life. If on the other hand we refuse to give and only take, we will be like the Dead Sea - without real life. Grandpa was a prime example. His entire life was spent giving of himself at all levels - profession, education, family. Being with him was joyous, children of all ages gravitated to him, the sun always shone about him, life was sweet not only for him but for all who were near him. He was truly the Sea of Life ! - Irving

11: One day when I visited with Dad in Fresh Meadows (1997?) he said to me, “What’s the matter with your children? When Mom and I were your age, we were grandparents.” I replied, “Dad, it’s out of my control Besides, I want to be a mother-in-law before I become a grandmother.” Without hesitation, Dad responded, “Take whichever comes first! I almost fell through the floor. - Debbie

12: "....Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?" During a visit with Jack at the home in Syracuse, David & I were chatting with him in his room. He had given us a tour of the facility, outlined his daily routine, and enthusiastically introduced us to the staff that we met along the way. All of whom lit up when they saw Jack. True to form, he knew every name and had a smile and a question relating to an earlier conversation for each person, listening with genuine interest as they answered. As members in good standing of "The Pointers Club," we talked about what each of us was reading. In mid-conversation, he looked down & drew out the elastic waistband of his sweatpants, exclaiming, "Let's see what we have in here!" My initial thought was that he needed the nurse to assist him, but he reached into his pants, and withdrew a banana which he then politely offered to me. Bewildered, I managed only, "I...(long pause)" Not wanting to offend darling Jack, but now aching with suppressed laughter, I slowly turned to look at David for a cue. But his face, with an expression suspended between astonishment and hysteria, didn't help me. I repeated, "I....." David managed to rebound and said, "No thank you, Grandpa...we're not hungry." To which Jack cheerfully replied, "You don't have to be hungry to eat a banana!" I crumbled forward feigning an untied shoe, while David graciously took the banana & set it on the window sill "for later." I cannot walk past a book store, nor a fruit stand, without thinking of Jack. - Nicole

13: " Your Confederate money is no good here!" - Jack

14: Here is the speech some of you heard me give at Jacob’s bris. We think of Grandpa Jack all the time as our smiley redhead brings us more joy than we ever could have imagined, and we pray that he’ll grow to become a mensch like his namesake (and his Grandpa Alan too). Happy 100th Birthday Grandpa Jack and Happy 1st Birthday Jacob! Darling Jacob, You are named after your Grandpa Alan’s dad, my Grandpa Jack. He was the patriarch of the Raphael family and had so many wonderful qualities that Daddy and I hope you will emulate. Grandpa Jack loved New York - he was born here, he and my Grandma Lillian raised their four children here, their 12 grandchildren all felt at home in their Queens apartment, and it was in New York City public schools that your Great Grandpa made his mark in the field of education – first as a teacher and ultimately as an esteemed high school principal. My Grandpa, whose birth name was Jacob, was exceptionally gentle and kind. He believed wholeheartedly and his actions always reflected that all people – no matter their standing – deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. From the janitor to the superintendent, he displayed patience and warmth, gave everyone the benefit of the doubt, and made time for anyone who needed a hand. He was an incredible listener and problem solver. When asked for help, which was often, because he was many people’s go-to adviser, he would offer his undivided attention, making you feel like you were the only person who mattered, and then use his sound judgment and keen intellect to offer counsel. “Grandpa, can we brainstorm ideas for my middle school graduation speech?” A draft with his detailed thoughts arrived in the mail the next morning. “Grandpa, should I go to college on the east or west coast?” He helped me weigh pros and cons 20 times over. I didn’t need to take his advice; I simply had his unconditional support. Your Great Grandpa was a happy, optimistic, fulfilled man. He had no interest in or time for complaining and he never raised his voice. On a cloudy day, he would say, “Let’s just make our own indoor sunshine!” When he and my Grandma Lillian would babysit us, no matter how much mischief I stirred up, he would report back to my parents: “She was a darling precious good girl!” Decades later when he was in a wheelchair, if you asked how he was doing, he answered with enthusiasm, “Everything is go, go, go!” He had a Jewish heart through and through: From being president of his shul to starting more than a dozen Hebrew schools on Long Island and making numerous trips to Israel, Judaism and Zionism played a central role in his life. We will follow his example by infusing our home with Yiddishkeit and a commitment to Tikun Olam, making this world a better place. And we hope you will follow his example by living life with passion, always finding the good in any situation, showing empathy and speaking kindly toward others, and leaving your mark in this world with humility and grace.

15: Absolutely nothing was more important to my Grandpa than his family, and he and my Grandma would certainly be schepping nachas over this moment, watching you, their 12th great-grandchild, fill our lives with joy. Every month Grandpa Jack would send out a family bulletin enumerating everyone’s accomplishments and celebrations. He worked hard to keep our extended family close – very much like your Grandpa Alan and Grandpa Harvey do, and we aspire to pass that legacy on to you. Your six cousins in California – Liat, Adam, Lila, Frisco, Addie and Ruby can’t wait to meet you, and we promise that the 3,000 miles will never come between us. Daddy and I are so lucky to each have parents who have been incredible role models for us with their loving, respectful, thriving marriages of 45+ years. We promise to follow their example by taking good care of each other, of you, and building you a home filled with love and laughter. Daddy is already leading the way – supporting and listening to me, showering you with kisses, dancing with you, singing songs I didn’t know he even knew and saying “I love you sooooo much!” to you more times than I can count. Daddy and I love each other and you more than words. We hope to be a family that will make your namesake proud. - Rebecca

18: Notes:

19: Quotations:

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