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Tribute/Letter to Elie Wiesel 

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...I 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 polished 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 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 would forget me altogether.

No such luck! Two years later, 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 even 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....

Joanie
 


Copyright © 2018 Joanie Strulowitz. All rights reserved. (Photography courtesy of Megan Conrad.)