Sheloshim Memorial for Arthur Grant
On Wednesday evening, April 30, the College family in Cincinnati gathered for
a service in memory of our friend and colleague, Arthur Grant. The service was
beautifully conducted by Dr. Ed Goldman, Dr. Richard Sarason, and Cantor Sharon
Kohn, with appropriate psalms read by Dr. Nili Fox and Yoni Sarason. Dr. Jonathan
Cohen spoke at the service.(I have attached a copy of his memorial message).
Dr. Cohen's moving words expressed our deep sorrow at the loss of our friend,
as well as our hope that our love and concern will continue to provide a measure
of solace to Enid, Jonathan, Ben, and Jeremy.
In memory of Arthur Grant, April 30, 2003:
Arthur and I never concluded our conversation about the predicament of being
in one location and feeling the need to be in another; that internal urge to
go that somehow persists after you get there. It may have in part been the recognition
of a traveler's soul that attracted us to him. However one may wish to define
this longing, it is not an unknown phenomenon among Jews. Occasionally, it is
even reflected in our writings.
While our history is riddled with travelers affected by this condition, one
prominent figure stands out: that of the prophet Yonah ben Amitai. Tradition
tells us that Yonah was born to the tribe of Zebulun, a tribe of sea-farers
and traveling merchants. He was a regular pilgrim, as (incidentally) was his
On one famous occasion, Yonah traveled south, to Yaffo, from the north of Israel,
to take a boat to Tarshish, not wanting to go to Nineveh. According to Pirkei
d'Rabbi Eliezer, having been cast into a stormy sea and swallowed by a large
fish, he toured the depths of existence and saw the wonders of the universe.
He ultimately reached his destination to become the victim of his own prophetic
success; sitting on the outskirts of a big city, exposed to the elements. The
Talmud tells us that following these experiences he learned to control his prophetic
inspiration, and turned quiet.
Little wonder that we often see the risk, discomfort, and unease associated
with the lifestyle of the true pilgrim - traveler. But we should not overlook
It was in the abyss that Yonah struck a deal with his maker. He was identified
as a `zadik gamur', and true prophet. We read in the Yerushalmi that it was
in the context of a pilgrimage that he experienced the Joy of Jerusalem in `simchat
beit ha-sho'eva', and encountered the `shechina'. We learn that those who had
not experienced `simchat bet ha-sho'eva' -- the water festival -- never experienced
joy, and that this simcha was not created but for pilgrims.
May we celebrate the life, gifts, and qualities of a true pilgrim-traveler.
Arthur, always arriving back in Cincinnati to soon meet friends, eat Chinese,
and talk Toronto, Europe, and Jerusalem. Tactfully, cautiously quiet, experienced
in life's turmoils, sensitive -- Arthur. A fine friend, generous, and truly
world-embracing. May his memory be a blessing.