Rabbi Joseph Topek, the executive director of Hillel at Stony Brook University, attended Julian Sandler's funeral with other Hillel field professionals. Below is his report to colleagues.
My wife Susan and I attended the levaya (funeral) for Julian Sandler on Sunday. Our Hillel field professionals were well represented. Hofstra Hillel's Rabbi Meir Mitelman and Rabbi Moshe Shur of Queens College Hillel were also there, as were Hillel President Wayne L Firestone, Chief Financial Officer Aryeh Furst, Director of Governance Nurite Notarius Rosin, and Vice President for Institutional Advancement Eran Gasko as well as countless lay leaders including former Chairman of the Board Chuck Newman, and Board members Diane Wohl and Bluma Stoler.
The Dix Hills Jewish Center was overflowing, and the line of cars proceeding to the cemetery was the longest I have seen. The outpouring of emotion was palpable and a testament to Julian's memory. Wayne delivered one of five eulogies and spoke eloquently about Julian's passion and commitment.
Yesterday members of our staff made a shiva call to Julian's wife Nina and sons Ian, and Joel. We offered condolences on behalf of the field and mentioned the many expressions of grief shared among Hillel colleagues. Ian told me how Julian insisted on signing the document establishing the professional training endowment as his last act.
It is not often that we encounter lay leaders with such a remarkable commitment to the mission of Hillel. Julian was also a recognized leader in the local Suffolk County Jewish community, and while he worked on a national level now, many sought his advice and counsel, which he gave without reservation.
It was a sad moment for those who knew Julian, or who benefitted from his tireless leadership, but also a proud moment for the Hillel movement as we all paid tribute to one of our most committed leaders and helped to comfort his mourners. I think that Nina, Ian, and Joel know how much Julian meant to us and what his work has done to benefit Jewish college students. Yehi zichrono l'vracha, may his memory be a blessing.
If you would like to make a gift in Julian Sandler's memory, Hillel will inform the Sandler family.
Julian Sandler story.