Dear, dear Elie Wiesel....
The entire time that I sat reading NIGHT, the sky raged with a thunderstorm. I read the last page, closed the book—and in that instant—watched as sunlight suddenly filled the sky. You will always serve as a light for the Jewish people, and for humanity as a whole. How beyond fortunate we are to have you with us, even though you are no longer on this plane.
I first met you at a party in NYC when I was 23 and, for the first time in my life, was taking myself seriously as a writer. I've never been the type to bubble and gush when meeting someone who is celebrated. And I looked poised and sophisticated in my forest green gown. But YOU were ELIE WIESEL. So as I shook your hand and said hello? I babbled like Porky Pig. About your brilliance...about how I was seeking publication for my book for the parents of high-risk premies...and more about your brilliance. I was beyond mortified even as the words slipped out.
But you were beyond gracious; you said to send my manuscript to you, and that you would read it! Even in that moment, I knew there was no way that I would ever impose on you like that. But how could I write a note to thank you for your kindness without saying, "I'm the one who...." So I just hoped that you'd forget me altogether.
Until two years later, when I was standing with a friend at another event, and turned around just as you were entering the lobby. We looked at each other...you paused in the doorway...and I burst out laughing.
"If you come in, I promise I won't bubble and gush over you tonight."
You got a huge smile...and walked into the event...beside us.
Thank you, thank you, Elie Wiesel. For being a light that will always shine, even from afar. A light that will always bring tears to my eyes.
Shalom, shalom, and l'hitraot....