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(This is the first Tribute) Next Tribute: by Clifford Will, Physics Department Chairman
by Ruthi, his sister
To me, Joe is Yossel. My big brother. He was 7 and a half when he got his little sister. No one wanted a baby in 1935 in Berlin, but here I was. I always looked up to him. He took me on imaginary trips throughout the world, pointing out the names of the countries in his Atlas. He picked me up one day, from my first grade and took me on his bicycle to a matinee of "Gulliver" - the first movie I had ever seen. He played the violin and the recorder. He also played the triangle in an orchestra in Tel Aviv.
Our parents did not know Hebrew, and so, Yossel was like a surrogate parent to me, in school matters.
He was a genius, in my book. Not knowing a word of Hebrew, in November of 1939- when we arrived in Palestine, and he was put into the 6th grade, he managed to get a full scholastic scholarship at the end of the 8th grade.
Many years later, I went to the same high school he attended, and as part of his University studies, he came to "student teach" there. There I was, struggling to pass my Math and Physics tests, and my brother teaching in his alma matter, those 2 subjects.
He was always kind and loving to me. He thought that I was "brave" to go into the kibbutz, and leave the parental home, and strike out on my own, when I was 17. He picked me up from the train station when I arrived in New York in 1956. He took me for a week to Rochester, and showed me Niagara Falls (the culture shock - coming from Israel of 1956 to this enormous amount of water!) He attended my wedding in New York later that year.
He made it a point to come and see me in New York when I was living there on my own after 1984. To every trip he took to Washington D.C. for work, he attached a short visit to see me.
Later on, when Orna (my daughter) came to New York, he also saw her on all those visits. He always said that she was just I was at her age. Last year, when my Berlin trip was on the agenda, he sent me endless good tips, and contacts, and reminiscences, which I did not know.
A great gift he left all of us is the videotape of the interview he gave for the Spielberg Project, memories of the survivors of the Jewish people.
We lived in two different worlds, but we connected, always. He will be dearly missed by me, and my children.