Written by David J. Chernobylsky
“David, isn’t this beautiful? Look at the sun, the sky. It’s so clear today. The water, it’s like crystal. I couldn’t have ordered better weather today myself! David? David! Stop playing with your Batman cape and take a look around! We’re in Venice, for goodness’ sake!”
I was around 10 or 11 at the time of my family’s first Euro trip together (we would later travel together to Europe another 7 times), but never in my most disturbing nightmares could I have predicted that in a mere 10 years, my dear father would pass away and leave my mom and me seemingly alone in this world.
But we are not alone. This is why these words are so vital for me to express right now. After everything that has happened in the last several weeks, there is absolutely no way in heaven upon this earth that I could possibly claim that my mom and I are alone. With great emotion and happiness, I know now that we are never alone and will never be alone. We are Bruins, through and through, and we are Jews. After the amount of support and care that my UCLA community and greater Jewish community have shown to my mom and me in our time of great need and grief, I cannot claim that we are alone. We are a part of a large, vibrant community of a people who care, and, more importantly, who are not afraid to show that they care.
After learning the news of my father’s passing and publishing the memorial fund that I established, my phone, ears and heart became a receptacle for the warmth of the community around us. We could not believe it. How many people shared, posted and message my mom and me in our time of difficulty and distress? How many people stood by us when we didn’t expect a single person to do so? I cannot say how many singular individuals — because it was one, blessedly large community for which we are so thankful.
My friends, acquaintances and people I had met only once before came to our aid and did everything they could to find a way to help, be it to share the memorial fund, message me and send their condolences, or ask me if I needed their assistance in any shape or form. It was so heart-warming and inspiring. Words will never be enough to express the gratitude I have for my UCLA community and larger community of friends and families that extends further out, including my Jewish community on campus and off.
The only thing my mom and I can really offer at this time is a tribute to my father and each and every person who helped me and my mom in our time of need, in any form in which they could. This tribute is a dedication page I have established that links to my father’s memorial fund, which shall now serve as a tribute page to my father’s spirit and lust for this wonderful life.
I truly want to thank my Jewish community from the bottom of my heart.