Israel Seen Dear Friend – Dr. Rabbi Moshe Dror – July 19, 1934 – April 29, 2011
My Friend, spiritual playmate and star wars fanatic has dropped his body and freed himself from his struggle to stay on this earth. My first response was an uncontrollable cry. The pain of not having him here to talk to and to share our latest ideas and vision for the future of the Jewish nation and for all humanity has not quite sunk in yet.
This man, educator, Rabbi, meditator, Jewish-Zen master and devoted husband, father, grandfather and best friend lived life to the fullest. We have shared our happy and sad moments together. We have shared our love for the Jewish experiment and our hopes for the future.
Moshe’s wit, intelligence and ability to articulate his thoughts and ideas had me riveted to every word he shared. His love of Liz, my wife and our children was genuine and sincere. He appreciation for our hospitality only made us want to do more to comfort him during his last trip to Tel Aviv to hang out and work on his projects for Israelseen.com
Moshe’s devotion and deep love for Simcha, his wife and children never ceased to amaze. He was a grateful man and a generous spirit.
As a long time loyal friend we shared many laughs together and shared many meditation experiences including a 7 day silent meditation retreat as roommates.
This event in particular solidified an already deep relationship we developed over the years. This retreat culminated in a surreal taxi ride to Haifa and the train home. We were two “wide-eyed mad-men” traipsing through the train security entrance as if we were invisible. The young security guard just looked at us and smiled and never asked us to open our luggage.
All I remember Moshe saying while waiting for the train to Tel Aviv was that this meditation week was the best “high” he had in a while. I agreed, smiling so hard that my jaw ached. We hardly spoke any words but had much to say in the silence we shared together. Our service during this meditation retreat was in the kitchen cleaning up. It most probably was one of the best moments we shared together. Although we did sneak away for about a half-hour like two little kids and went to the kibbutz store and had an ice cream. It tasted like Turkish delight. We just laughed uncontrollably for an endless amount of time.
So now I have lost a very special friend and playmate. We had so many ideas and projects we wanted to do together that are now just unfulfilled dreams.
I am crying tears of sadness having lost a cherished soul that I have been so blessed to love and to be loved by. In spite of my sadness the memories of us together truly lights up my inner world and makes this outer world that much better and hopeful.
If you can hear me Moshe, I love you, miss you and pray that you are now part of the all knowing light that shines in us all. If you get a chance put in a good word with the great ONE .
Moshe Dror, Futurist Rabbi
By Mel Alexenberg. Moshe Dror was my hevrutah (study partner) since we first began studying together 38 years ago. Moshe’s passing is my great loss. I have never known another person with whom I could share in creatively exploring the dynamic interface between Jewish thought, art, media ecology, futurism, new technologies and human consciousness. Moshe’s interdisciplinary imagination and analytic brilliance always made my studying with him intellectually stimulating and a joyous romp through multiple worlds. His cognitive powers were enriched by his kindness, sensitivity and sense of humor.
I was working in the turkey coops at Kibbutz Tirat Tzvi in 1973 when I received a letter offering me a professorship in art and education at Columbia University that I accepted. On the bus from Teaneck to my office at Columbia, I read that a Rabbi Moshe Davidowitz had founded a Center for Art and Jewish Life. I phoned him. We met and spoke about our mutual interests. It was immediately obvious that we had to become a hevrutah for walking together along unpaved paths of torah study. We met each week alternating between Columbia and his office at NYU. We began at the beginning with first verse of Bereshit (Genesis). Four years later when our paths diverged, we had advanced to the middle of parshat Bereshit.
I moved back to Israel with my wife Miriam and our three children to Yeroham, a dusty town isolated in the Negev desert mountains where I founded a regional college. Moshe moved from his houseboat in the Hudson River to a villa overlooking Lake Geneva to accept a two-year role as president of the international humanistic psychology association. We met in the summer in New York. I asked Moshe about his plans after his two years in Switzerland. He said that he planned to return to NYU unless a more interesting opportunity arose. I invited him to come to Yeroham to work with me on building the college there.
The following spring, my secretary Simcha told me I had a call from an American named Moshe. He asked if my offer was a serious one. As soon as I said it was, he replied that he’d come before Rosh Hashanah and that I should find him an interesting place to live. Having been on his houseboat, Miriam was upset that I had invited him to Yeroham sight unseen. The clue that he had no idea what he was getting himself into was his housing request. The only housing in town was in run-down Soviet-style buildings. Moshe lived with Miriam and me for a month until a small apartment became available.
We returned to studying together, created an educational program on art in Jewish life, co-authored a paper “Educating a Jewish Artist” that was published in Hebrew, and built a new arts building at the college. However, the brightest happening at the college was the blossoming love between Moshe and Simcha. We celebrated their wedding at the college. Every time Moshe spoke to me or Miriam for nearly three decades, he thanked us for our matchmaking that brought him so much happiness with Simcha and her daughters who Moshe adopted. Miriam and I became parents to Moshe Yehuda in Yeroham 18 years after our youngest son Ron was born.
After seven years in Yeroham, I accepted a position at MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies. Moshe and I worked together to create the exhibition “LightsOROT: Spiritual Dimensions of the Electronic Age” at MIT for Yeshiva University Museum. Moshe flew to the States for our planning sessions at the YU Museum. In 1990, I was invited to be dean of New World School at the Arts in Miami. A few years later, Moshe, Simcha and their three girls came to live in Florida. They would babysit for our little Moshe Yehuda.
In 2000, Miriam and I joined Moshe Yehuda when he decided to return to Israel to serve in the IDF. Moshe and I renewed our dialogue by phone, Internet, and in meetings when Miriam and I visited our son Ron and his family in Yeroham and when Moshe took the train to Petah Tikva. I wrote about Moshe’s collaboration with me in “LightsOROT” in my 2008 book on digital art and Jewish thought. The editor of Intellect Books/University of Chicago Press chose to print Moshe’s review on the back cover and front page of my 2011 book The Future of Art in a Postdigital Age: From Hellenistic to Hebraic Consciousness. Moshe was at work on an essay to have been included in an anthology Zionist Artists in a Networked World that I am editing. The world will miss his highly original insights.