Thoughts On The Death Of A Friend

Jhan Moskowitz passed away today after a brain aneurysm he suffered yesterday when he fell in the subway.  He was someone I didn’t see often, but he played a pivotal role in my life.  I knew Jhan since 1974.  He was the first Jewish Believer I had ever met.  He was traveling with The New Jerusalem Players theatrical group and had come to Arizona State University where I was a student.  He was warm, friendly and personable.  Jhan had the kind of personality that everyone wished they had.  He was instantly like-able with a magnetic personality.

I met him several years later, when I was working on my master’s degree in Deerfield, Illinois. I got together with him several times during my student years there.  Sometimes he popped in to the Messianic services I attended.  When I graduated, he tried to recruit me to work for his organization, Jews for Jesus, of which he was one of the founders.  I didn’t have the temperament for it, and just gave him a look.  He smiled and said, “I know, I just had to ask.”

I lost touch with Jhan when I moved back to Arizona, and later to Ohio.  In 1990, he challenged me to consider coming to Manhattan to lead Kehilat Yeshua.  I took his challenge seriously, and wound up moving to New York, and leading KY for eight years.      We rented his house for a time when we first moved there.

I saw him on and off at various conferences, and we would debate various theological issues over cigars, but in the long run, I enjoyed his warmth and friendship.  He used to ask me when would I come back to New York.

The last time I saw Jhan was at a conference in Chicago, shortly after I remarried.  He told me he respected me marrying a woman with a child that I would have to raise.  I told him I was blessed.  He was a blessing and encouragement, and I, as well as everyone who knew him, will feel a great sense of loss.  The measure of Jhan’s life is seen is how many people’s lives were touched by him, in his unassuming, friendly manner.  All I can do is thank God that Jhan was around, he was my friend, and he enriched my life.


4 thoughts on “Thoughts On The Death Of A Friend

  1. While I don’t remember Jhan from any interactions I had with him personally- the fact that it is because if him we moved to New York makes me grateful for him, and terribly sad for the loss of a father, husband and a friend so many have to endure.
    It is his offer that you accepted that brought us to New York. This city has shaped a very significant part of my life and feel a sense of eternal gratitude to Jhan for that.

    I’m sorry you and so many lost a friend.

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