As we prepare ourselves to usher in Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, one theme that appears in the Musaf Prayer on Rosh Hashana day is Zichronot: Memories.  In that section of the Musaf, we concentrate on how G-d remembers all that we did, said, and even thought.  Before G-d, nothing is hidden  - everything is revealed. The slightest nuances of both thought and deed go into His calculation, His final Judgment of each and every one of us.

Two short days ago, none of us imagined that we would getting together to compose our own Zichronot our own memories of a man who was a real legend in the Seattle community, Dave Agoado.  I had the privilege of spending some time last  night, after Shabbat, with Dave’s family – and they helped me compose their Zichronot, their memories of their beloved father, grandfather and great grandfather.

The great Ribi Akiva declared that “Va’ahavta Lere’acha Komach” – love your fellow as yourself – is the most all-encompassing mitzvah of the entire Torah.  Dave Agoado excelled at this mitzvah.  He literally loved all people.  This love expressed itself in many ways – from social interactions with visitors to the Summit, where he was the keeper of the keys in the foyer, to his 17 years of volunteer work at the Kline Galland, where his concern for others triggered the famous Shmoozers program. His dedication to Kline Galland  complimented the hard work of the Home’s leadership, as it became increasingly known over the years as a first class, premiere organization, a home for elderly people that cares for and ensures the integrity of its residents.  

If you were fortunate enough to be a recipient of one of Dave’s Keshes – his love barbs – it just meant that he had a special fondness for you.

Dave’s love for people expressed itself in a more concentrated form in the case of his family. 

As the only grandparent Amy and Jennifer came to know, Dave was the quintessential Grand Papoo. He took on this role with great enthusiasm. Oblivious to the aging process, Dave – at the time I think in his 80’s -  was on time for a party for Amy and Jennifer’s friends – who were 60+ years his junior – donning a the garb of a youngster – including wrap-around sunglasses and a tacky purple shirt.   His joy with his great grandson Solomon knew no bounds, peppering the unsuspecting tike with kisses at every opportunity.  

Dave was a proud, supportive and loving father to Joe.  Dave was a very active father, always looking out for Joe’s best interests.  When it came to his son’s welfare, Dave was an out of the box thinker – he founded a Jewish Cub Scouts pack Ezra Bessaroth back in the early 1960’s.  In the 90’s, when Joe sought his Dad’s advice on whether to take on the position as President of EB, Dave told him he was crazy for considering it.  Once Joe took the position, Dave would walk into the sanctuary on Shabbat mornings, gaze proudly at his son, and give him two thumbs up.  Dave had an unshakable connection to EB – helping youngsters, including three year old Stanley (donning an oversized Tallet up the many steps into the old EB synagogue building some 70 years ago) to serving as a chauffeur, ensuring the continuity of the Kehilla’s daily minyan.  Joe’s love for Ezra Bessaroth to this day flows from his father Dave’s lifelong devotion.

These are the Zichronot, the memories of Dave as an engaged father and grandfather and member of the community.

The strongest theme running through many of the anecdotes, the zichronot of Dave, is that he was a nurturer.

There is a Talmudic principle that asserts Mitzvah Bo Yoter M’beshlucho – it is preferable to perform a mitzvah yourself than to do so by way of someone else.  Dave’s character as a nurturer meant that when he had the opportunity to give to someone else, to care for someone else – he would do everything within his power to give himself, instead of assigning another person to do so on his behalf.

This came out most clearly when his wife, Joe’s mother Anita, became quite ill. For over six years, Dave steadfastly took care of Anita himself.  Only when it became very clear that Anita needed assistance that he could not provide, did Dave agree to have his wife move to the Kline Galland home. But even after Anita entered the Kline Galland, Dave continued his nurturing by visiting with her all the time, every day; he would not leave at night until he gave his wife a kiss.

A similar pattern – of engaging personally in the care of others – characterized Dave’s care for his daughter Joanne; A devoted father, Dave insisted on taking care of Joanne’s every need until the law changed, and her needs could be provided for by Kline Galland, even though she was under the age of 65. Dave’s sensitivity to Joanne’s emotional well-being prompted him to set up regular social outings with Joyce, Amy and Jennifer.  Mitzvah Bo Yoter M’beshlucho – at every turn, perform a mitzvah yourself if at all possible. That was Dave’s guiding principle.

On the eve of Rosh Hashana, as we pray that G-d remember, attend to our mitzvot, our positive thoughts and actions, we ask that G-d take note of our Zichronot of Dave Agoado.

For sister Francis Salzberg,

Children, Joe and Joyce Agoado

Grandchildren, Amy Agoado, Jennifer and Max Strassberg  and Dave’s great Grandson Solomon Strassberg, and for all Dave’s extended family and friends, this is a painful loss.  Dave Agoado will be sorely missed by us all.

Menuchato B’Gan Eden