Sunday, April 14, 2024 -
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Rabbi Uriel Malka, of blessed memory

Readers may consult an outburst of pain reflected in variety of pieces in this week’s newspaper about Rabbi Uriel Malka. This beloved teacher and friend met a terrible end at the age of 32, leaving behind a pregnant wife and five children. Along with 40 other prison guards, who were on a humanitarian mission to rescue prisoners from the flames, he fell to the flames themselves in the unprecedented Carmel Forest fire near Haifa, Israel.


In Denver, young students are discombobulated, a family is tortured, disciples (a term too formal and even pretentious for the down-to-earth Rabbi Malka, but the best term we can come up with) are bereft, a school is hit with a wave of sadness, a Sephardi minyan is hit with pangs of loss. A community, in short, is grieving. Like all moments like this, we are at a loss as to what to do.


Surely, we can send our condolences to the family and we can support the fund established at the Denver Academy of Torah to help it.

Perhaps, most of all, we can take a lesson from Rabbi Malka himself, who came to Denver in 2006 very shortly after having lost many of his friends in his Israel Defense Forces combat unit that fought in the Second Lebanon War. Rabbi Malka, no doubt, was grieving when he came to Denver. But we never saw his pain, only his smile. Read further IJN coverage

We never heard him complain against G-d or man, only go out there and do his best to bring knowledge and warmth to his students. We never saw him shrink into himself, but reach out to Jews all over Denver and involve himself in projects, such as a Sephardi minyan, that he wasn’t even hired for. We never heard him dwell on the losses of the past, only take on new challenges with zest and love. We never saw him lose his sense of wonder and awe at the potential of each person; never saw him doubt the efficacy of the Torah to improve and sanctify every human life.

As he did, so must we. That is his legacy.

Copyright © 2010 by the Intermountain Jewish News

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