By: Susan Infeld
My relationship with Levi is a bit different than most who have written thus far.
I met Levi initially through his friendship with my husband Don, who was the Rabbi's close confidant and "Chief Medical Officer". As a practicing RN, I too became part of Levi's medical care team. I was blessed and honored to be invited into Levi and Miriam's "circle of trust" and worked closely with them, both in and out of the hospital, toward achieving optimal pain and symptom management.
I am not Jewish. But Levi and Miriam (and their entire family) welcomed me as if I were family. I am always amazed how Illness breaks down boundaries. Perhaps that is one of the blessings lying deep within the mystery of suffering. These past few years I learned much about the beauty of Chabad and this loving family. And I hope that Levi and Miriam's lives were enriched as well through the diversity that I brought to the table.
As a Hospice RN, I have witnessed many a fighter. But never, ever, have I seen the courage and fierce determination that "Team Levi" demonstrated. And I am not just talking about Levi and Miriam here... although they are legendary. The familiar phrase "it takes a village to raise a child".. in this case became, "it takes a World Wide Movement to fight Levi's cancer". Medical specialists (traditional and non-traditional) from around the world poured their collective wisdom into helping Levi and Miriam find treatments and a cure. It was staggering to witness the tireless quest and unflappable support that Levi received from "the best and the brightest"...and from family, friends and colleagues near and far.
Levi, Miriam, and all of you taught my husband and I so much about the beauty of friendship; one that travels hours and hours.... and more than once.... just for a visit. You taught us much about the beauty of family as we witnessed the love and support Levi received from the countless phone calls, visits, help at home and dinners around the Shabbos table. And with deep and radiant passion, Levi and Miriam taught us by example, what love and commitment in a marriage truly is.
In the heartbreak that everyone feels at this unspeakable loss, I call upon my Irish heritage and of the familiar Claddagh symbol; a heart surrounded by two hands which means "Love, Loyalty, and Friendship". Levi Deitsch was fearless and tireless in all three virtues. In our shared loss of his beautiful life, I respectfully offer the traditional toast "Today, we are all Irishmen".
A Gaelic poet penned the following words that I share in friendship today:
"May we live in peace without weeping.
May our joy outline the lives we touch without ceasing.
And may our love fill the world, angel wings tenderly beating".
"Cead Mil Failte".."A Hundred Thousand Welcomes" to Levi..who rests among angels wings.
Beannacht Levi, (Goodbye and G_d bless)
Susan Infeld, RN