In Memory of Amir Lopatin    
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 An email to Shoshana... Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
 From:  bjnovich  
 Dated:  Monday, April 05 2004 @ 12:44 AM Eastern Daylight Time
Jonathan Novich of Palo Alto, CA sent this email to Shoshana (they've been friends since their Princeton days) after Amir was suddenly taken from us.

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Shoshana-

Since Motzai Shabbat, when we heard of the tragedy, Beruria and I have been thinking.
We thought about Amir -- gosh, I've known him since 1990 -- how much he's grown, how he could "play" on so many levels - from the profound to the profane. I'd see him in shul most mornings ("most" is when I was there). And I admired his passion for life. He reminded me of you when we reconnected. He was studying computers and philosophy and education all in one. Boy, that sounds like something Shoshana could talk about (not necessarily the Computer Science part, actually) - the blending of various disciplines.

And for me it added to my understanding of those characteristics that your parents perhaps nurtured - your vibrancy and zest for life, your tastes for the eclectic. I fondly remember spending 4th of July in DC with you, Uri, and a few others after our sophomore year in college. And that weekend I also learned about that passion - from Uri (we even drove back to NJ together and played a game of Tikken -- an arcade game -- at a rest stop on the way). Uri walked through the Mall with a set of devil sticks juggling and performing. He was all at once - challenging and warm, thoughtful and deep, complete with a facade just in case.

For me, I connected with Amir in a wonderful way - I remember talking to him on our way back to our house for lunch one Shabbat afternoon, and stepping through time with him - talking about Ramaz, yeshiva, Brown, Salt Lake City, Shiva, and his up-to-the-minute perspective on religion. But the part that touched me most was that he was willing to share with me his dreams and his hopes. I remember thinking how much I wanted it to work out for him. A brief interaction with him after Thanksgiving indicated that things were changing course - but I never had the privilege of learning more - and taking his insights with me.

We are so sorry for your loss, Shoshana. It has been my privilege to know your family - whether it was only a few conversations with your father, a few more with your mother, a weekend with your brother, years of interactions with Amir, and most of all - sharing so much with you.

Amir never shyed away from a solid question - so here's my best try: there's a transition from the body of Magid to the Hallel section- it's short, but in light of these events, it will be difficult for me as well. The question speaks for itself - "How, in light of Amir's passing, can we really be obligated to praise? Have we not literally been brought from evel to yom tov -- mourning to festivity? How can we do it?"

From the Hagaddah:
"Lefichach anachnu chayavim - lehodot, lehallel, leshabayach, lefa'er, leromem, lehader, levarech, lealeh, oo'lkales. Lemi, she'asa, l'a'voteinu velanu, et kol hanisim ha'eleh, hotzianu me'avdut le'cherut, meyagon lesimcha, me'evel liyomtov, oo'me'afelah, le'or gadol, m'shi'bud legualah, venomar lefanav shira chadasha, halleluya!"

"Thus it is our duty to thank, to laud, to praise, to glorify, to exalt, to adore, to bless, to elevate and to honor the One who did all these miracles for our fathers and for us. He took us from slavery to freedom, from sorrow to joy, and from mourning to festivity, and from deep darkness to great light and from bondage to redemption. Let us therefore recite before Him Halleluyah, Praise G-d!"

HaMakom yinachem otach betoch sh'ar avelei tzion veyrushalayim.

Best to you, your mother, and brother-

-Jonathan and Beruria

   

 From his Israeli friend Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
 From:  Shelly Hermetz  
 Dated:  Sunday, April 04 2004 @ 08:08 PM Eastern Daylight Time
It has been almost 3 hours now that I've been reading most if not all of the stories and memories about Amir. I feel that I can't internalize what happened. Especially since I haven't seen Amir in a while now...so the fact that I don't hear from him is normal. It doesn't mean that something horrifying just happened. Thinking about Amir in past tense doesn't make any sense to me. It all seems to be a big mistake.

I had the privilege to work with Amir when I lived in NYC 2.5 years ago. I was his Israeli friend. Ever since I've heard about the accident, my brain has been flooded with memories of him, and I have so many of them.
Amir is one of the most curious, funny, genuine people I know. His enthusiasm for life was endless.
I used to have an English-Hebrew-English dictionary that both of us used. Me, trying to find a lost word in English and Amir, not giving up the idea that we should speak Hebrew to one another. No matter how hard it is. Since most of his Hebrew was kind of 'biblical' one, he wrote himself a contemporary dictionary that contained slang and more up to date phrases. He wanted to pass as an Israeli and practiced the 'rough' accent...
I remember he had a green IDF (Israel Defense Forces – TZAHAL) t-shirt he was wearing, asking me if he looks like he had been to the army. Oh, how much he loved asking me about the army service.

I can't think of Amir without smiling. He was always making me laugh with his stories, thoughts and crazy ideas. That was what made him so special. It still does.
In Hebrew there is a saying – 'Bemoto Tziva Lanu et Ha'chaim' which means 'In his death he ordered us on keep living'. I presume myself to think, Amir would want that.

Shelly.

   

 Amir remembered Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
 From:  Mimi Kessous  
 Dated:  Sunday, April 04 2004 @ 02:27 PM Eastern Daylight Time
"Action is eloquence"
-William Shakespeare

Amir was perpetually in motion. I realize this now as I reflect on each memory that has flooded my thoughts of him these last days. In each snapshot of my mind, he stands with those striking blue eyes, his hair slightly a muss, his jeans and t-shirt a bit disheveled just following an afternoon Ultimate game in Central Park or an evening bike-ride from work up the West Side Highway (even in winter, my favorite tree-hugging buddy commuted daily by bike). Did he ever sleep? He accomplished more before noon than most could in a week.

He was certainly happiest when he was moving. Once, at an arcade in midtown, Amir actually refused to leave after discovering a game that had been hidden in some far-off corner—the one where you try to follow the dance steps as they get progressively faster. Intent on mastering the game, he was enthralled. Now anyone who has ever met him for even a moment knows that Amir was a brilliant boy, a beautiful boy, a kind-hearted and even athletic boy. But a dancer…he was not. This minor fact, however, seemed incidental to Amir. I can still picture him standing before the machine, eyes aglow, jaws clenched, legs flailing about, pockets brimming with quarters. The challenge, the intensity, the speed of it all simply captivated him. “A-Lo,” as I aptly called him thereafter, was undoubtedly a man of action.

Even when sitting silently, although infrequent, one could see in Amir’s eyes that his mind still raced with ideas, analyses, theories. He worked actively and passionately to understand his surroundings, to learn from others’ experiences, to improve himself and the world around him.

Though we hadn’t been in touch the last few months, I will forever feel at a loss knowing that Amir is no longer around. I will always remember him with fondness and with pure adoration. He was the guy who chatted with the waiter. Who smelled of soap and Clinique’s “Happy.” Who loved making me chuckle. Who gave a compliment exactly when you needed it most. Who saw beauty in the basics. He was honest, playful, optimistic, profoundly affectionate, and warm-hearted. A truly unique and gentle soul.

Thinking back, I can remember, Amir would sometimes refer to certain people he deemed particularly accomplished as being “out of his league.” How ironic as, in reality, those around him felt so blessed to be part of his. His enthusiasm for life was contagious, his energy was boundless and his dreams had no limits. I am undeniably a better person for having known him.

   

 A helpful bucket Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
 From:  urilopatin  
 Dated:  Sunday, April 04 2004 @ 12:04 AM Eastern Standard Time
this was sent to me by a friend. I thought of this when people were struggling for what to say....
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read more (1,054 words)    

 Amir Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
 From:  TamarPrager  
 Dated:  Friday, April 02 2004 @ 04:11 PM Eastern Standard Time
Amir was so special, so unique and so beautiful. Every time I spoke with him, I felt alive and excited. He was able to bring out a gentle spirit in me while unleashing an energy and enthusiasm. Speaking with Amir was speaking with someone whose curiosity was endless. He pushed you to think harder, to contemplate deeper and to be made more aware. I loved that about him.
We spoke about music, ourselves, our interests, literature, just being and experiencing. He always had me laughing...
There will never be an adequate goodbye for Amir. He was a person unlike any other. His amazing, beautiful ways will remain with me forever.

   

 Baruch Dayan Emet Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
 From:  Anonymous  
 Dated:  Friday, April 02 2004 @ 12:28 PM Eastern Standard Time
Although I did not have the pleasure of knowing this amazing, brilliant, athletic and caring man - my thoughts are with Amir's family and friends. One can only imagine the life he lived by the photos displaying a life lived to the fullest and the thoughts describing a friend one would be lucky to have.

   

 From Jason Liss Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
 From:  jliss  
 Dated:  Friday, April 02 2004 @ 12:02 AM Eastern Standard Time
It was hard for me to appreciate in 9th grade what an extraordinary privilege it was for me to spend time with Amir, but I know I could FEEL it every single day of my Ramaz life. Ramaz was intimidating for me coming from a different school and having recently moved to Englewood. Amir recognized this and befriended me immediately, and we sat together on the bus often.

What a comfort, and what fun it was to retreat to Amirland every day (and that’s the only way to describe it!), to experience his refreshing take on everything in our lives and to become sharper, more self-confident and more at ease every day because of it. A conversation with Amir was a trip into his sometimes impractical but always brilliant world of thoughts you never could have had yourself (or understand), but which made a heck of a lot of sense once he explained them. His compliments and encouragement for me never stopped coming and I know it’s because he felt I needed them.

Amir laughed at everything that made Ramaz a difficult place for some, socially and academically, all the while excelling in both departments and blazing his own path, to the awe of those around him. Who else could be clever enough, like Amir was, to even think of putting the names of “popular” kids from school on the high score list of his computer games at home “so that when friends come over they’ll think I have all these cool people visiting me?” Who out of those could be independent and self-confident enough to be doing this only in jest, because he wasn’t bothered by such silliness?

How many people devoted to Salinger, Vonnegut, chess, computer code and hilarious social commentary could find the time to develop that running, right-handed, off-the-wrong-foot, quick-release scoop layup over Prager and Schwalbe’s outstretched arms?

My blessings and prayers to the Lopatins, and my thanks to all for this website which beautifully tells the story of Amir’s life of invaluable contribution to the world around him. We fortunate enough to know him, and the many others who would have benefited from Amir’s endeavors, have lost someone incredibly special.

I saw Amir in the park last year, with a Frisbee of course, and his beaming smile and genuine friendliness brought me back instantly to the warm comfort of those days we spent together. How I wish I had gone up to Stanford this year to hang out. How I wish he were with us. Amir, I realize now that you created a part of me that will always be with me. Thank you. I miss you.

   

 Open our Hearts Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
 From:  rebezra  
 Dated:  Thursday, April 01 2004 @ 09:59 PM Eastern Standard Time
Rocking out at the allman finale in the beacon sunday night while in nyc for pesach, and sadly oblivious to the news of amirs passing, my thoughts momentarily detoured back through the hallways of high school. To a small, somewhat irksome chevra- amir, john, eli... who already back then had figured out that Godliness dwelled not just in gemara but in the words of Tolkien and jam bands as well. Wow, how i wish i knew that then. My life now is a desperately intoxicating attempt to synthesize those worlds. Among other things, I spend my days sitting and learning gemara in the hills of Bat Ayin in Gush Etzion, and my nights delving into the inner meanings of the Simarillion and Dick's Picks 26. To John, a refua shleima and may we dance at your wedding in Yerushalayim. To Amir's family and friends-- honor his memory by fighting with respect for what you believe in no matter what (usually the establishment!) bars your way- may his memory always make us smile.

Hamakom Yinahem Etchem Btokh Aveilei Tzion Vyerushalayim-

Ezra Friedland-Wechsler

   

 A pleasure to think of you, Amir Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
 From:  Moti  
 Dated:  Thursday, April 01 2004 @ 05:25 PM Eastern Standard Time
I met Amir at yeshivah. He was accepting, generous and remarkably lacking in pretense. Being around him felt good because he was so comfortable in himself. In the picture that always comes to mind when I think of him, his eyes are twinkling with pleasure at the conversation he's having. He took a wonderfully decadent pleasure in literature conversation. He was affectionate, intelligent and modest. He was also extremely funny and I still laugh when I think of things he said years ago.

   

 The Wizard-Warrior President of the world in the future Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
 From:  Anonymous  
 Dated:  Thursday, April 01 2004 @ 10:13 AM Eastern Standard Time
“Amir hopes to become the Wizard-Warrior President of the world in the future.” Those are the words that my talented and able friend asked me to use as inspiration for his caricature in the Moriah Yearbook. It was my best one. Amir -in action and in words- inspired me to do many things, among them to always push myself harder, believe in myself, and make myself better. Many of my most defining childhood moments were spent with him. He was the cowboy hat-toting star of my bar mitzvah video. We went skiing and rode bikes. He told me I could be a power hitter when others made fun of my awkward swing in the batters box; he assessed that I needed to keep my elbow up, and I hit my first home run. He introduced me to Salinger, Vonnegut, and others who are now among my favorites. Over the years we didn’t get a chance to spend as much time together as we lived our own lives and went to different schools, but I would always look forward to catching up with him when we’d eventually come home for Shabbat or the holidays. Amir was always doing something interesting, something different, something unique: past the times of his youth when he could be found torturing elementary school teachers with his superior intellect, Amir was now programming a tank simulator and sliding ass backwards down a frozen Alta chute in Utah. I relished his interesting stories, his smile, his laugh, his humor, his insightfulness, his refreshing sincerity… His eyes were always thoughtful and attentive whenever we spoke. The last time I saw Amir was smiling, laughing and closing the door as an Edei Yichud at my wedding. I wish I could still fly home for his. I will miss you Amir.
-Eric London