In Memory of Josh Schur z’l
Joshua Noah Schur z’l changed the world. It was because of him that Libenu was founded, and thanks to Josh, an organization was created that has touched and improved the lives of thousands of people across the country and around the world. To look at Josh from the outside, you might not have recognized the power of his inspiration or the ripples of goodness that emanated from his life, but he completely changed the landscape for people with disabilities and their families, creating a future that was filled with hope instead of despair. An amazing accomplishment for anyone, let alone someone who spent a good portion of his life in a wheelchair.
But I want to talk to you about Josh, not as a person with a disability, but as a person. I’ve known Josh since he was a young child – inquisitive, bright, and with a wicked sense of humor that often caught people off guard. I still remember when he came to my office at the age of 7 for tutoring, and I’d ask him what is 3 x 3 and he would answer “None of your beeswax”, or when he asked a magician for his autograph, and then asked him to sign it from David Copperfield (the magician in question was decidedly not Copperfield)
His incredible parents, Baruch and Joyce, moved mountains to ensure that Josh could reach his fullest potential. I still find it a bit crazy that his father gave Josh pilot lessons, but Baruch and Joyce were never going to let Josh’s physical limitations define him.
Josh’s brothers Meyer and Ezra, were so dedicated and stood by him to make sure he was fully included in everything. Ezra took care of his older brother, walking him to shul and taking him everywhere Josh wanted to go. When Josh was at Camp Moshava, Meyer – Josh’s older brother and champion – carried him from activity to activity so he wouldn’t miss anything. Zach, who was like another brother to Josh, and Julia were always there for him with friendship and support.
Josh was also surrounded with love by his grandparents – Bubipup Sandy Schur and Bubbi Harriet Rimell – as well as many aunts, uncles, cousins, a niece and nephew, extended family, and friends.
These past 14 years that Josh has been with us at Libenu, he had a world of friends, both peers and the staff who lovingly cared for him. Words are inadequate to express the gratitude we feel toward Davy, Henry, Noemi, Dina, Kaley, and others who took excellent care of Josh with kindness, compassion, and love, always making sure to maintain his dignity.
For all of us at Libenu, Josh was one of the great loves of our lives. It sounds cliché, but his smile lit up a room and touched our souls. If you were having a bad day, spending five minutes with Josh made it better. Josh taught us how to measure the value of kindness through the smallest of gestures and how to give fully, with open hearts. He enriched our lives immeasurably and we are all better people for knowing him.
Our world is an emptier place without Josh. Since it is impossible for us to conceive of a future without him, we will carry Josh in our broken hearts, always and forever. We will always love Josh beyond measure.
May Josh’s beautiful, pure neshama soar to the heavens, and may he be a meilitz yosher for his family and for us all.