The following was written by Ami's brother Hadar, and read by one of Ami's sons at his funeral at Rehovot on Thursday.
It is shared with the kind permission of his kin.
Eulogy for Ami Isseroff
Wednesday June 29, 2011
When Ami was born with a congenital heart problem, the doctors said he would not survive, but his mother, Batia, refused to listen and through her perseverance he was able, after several operations, to lead an almost normal life. She always felt that he was destined for greatness.. Today, she would be very proud of him. He fulfilled her fondest dreams in that he married a sweet and caring girl and had three exceptional children, Asaf, Amit and Michal. He will always be remembered in their hearts as a loving, if irascible husband and father. But the rest of us, will remember him for his wit, intellect and unique outlook on life. He and I shared many adventures and their retelling always brought us much pleasure.
Early on, we in his immediate family recognized his superior mental abilities as he excelled in his studies throughout high school and college. His memory was phenomenal. He played the piano and guitar as a teenager and his love of music continued throughout his life. With Ami's talent for writing and oral disputation, the family thought he would choose to study law. Instead, his Zionist inclinations led him to join a kibbutz in Eretz Ysrael.
There, for a time, he was happy to perform socialistically heroic tasks such as driving tractors, moving irrigation pipes, feeding pigs and cleaning out their pens. Difficult as these jobs were, it was the lack of an intellectually stimulating environment that caused him to leave the kibbutz. He couldn't believe that at the end of the workday kibbutzniks preferred to watch television rather than have a rousing discussion on some aspect of world affairs, politics or the class struggle. Hence, he embarked on a program of graduate study in Psychology at the Universities of Jerusalem and Haifa.
It was at the University in Jerusalem that Ami met the love of his life, Ruth. Through his long and exhausting, years as a graduate student that included many disputes with his faculty advisors as well as exasperating turf wars between them, it was Ruth"s love and support that kept him from giving up and returning to the States. When the warring parties and their various factions finally agreed to award him a Doctorate in Experimental Psychology we thought that he would be offered secure employment. However, the weak economy and an excess of trained Psychologists made it difficult for Ami to find and keep a University job, despite post-doctoral training at Yale and Worcester Universities.
Fortunately, in the course of his graduate studies he had developed a number of computer skills, including the ability to write complex programs that were at the cutting edge of the technology. These skills made it possible for him to earn a living and to pursue a new vocation as a respected observer and opinion maker in the World's media and on the internet. It was here that he found his true calling as an outspoken advocate for peace and good will between Palestinians and Israelis.
I know that Ami believed that if ever these two peoples should arrive at a state of mutual trust and respect his major life-effort would not be in vain.
With sadness and love to you all,
It is with the passing of great people that we finally understand our greatest triumphs.
We, Ami's internet community, have lost a friend and ally - he was for many of us an inspiration and a profound source of encouragement.
We join his family in grief; may the Omnipresent console you among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.
HaMakom yenachem et'chem b'toch shar avay'lay Tzion vee'Yerushalayim.
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
I wish you a long, happy and healthy life.
Hadar, I first encountered Ami online when I first took up hasbara work. We exchanged many e-mails over the years, and he sent me his numerous invaluable articles, always immaculate in their thought and structure. We agreed on much and disagreed on the lesser things. I truly believe he was the greatest Zionist of our day and that his absence will not be easily filled, if it ever is. I just heard of his death, and though he and I had never met in the flesh, it felt as though I had lost a friend. When I do next visit Israel, he won't be there to visit, and that's very sad. He was a special guy. May he be at peace.
After the mysterious death of Dr. Dan kliman in San Francisco, I noticed that Ami continued to maintain Dan's "virtual garden" on Facebook. It was such a sweet gesture...
I had a few e-mail exchanges with Ami a few years ago regarding an editorial I had written, his comments where insightful and the genuineness of both his Zionism and liberalism were immediately obvious. Israel has lost a great advocate.
I dealt with Ami many times over the past 5 years.
He was forthright but open about the issues.
I always valued his judgements.
My condolences to his family.
His greatest scorn was reserved for Israeli politicians who made empty threats and right-wing bloggers who made Israel appear to be belligerent. One well-known blog had a banner that read “There is only a military solution.”
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