Elliot Kahan Remembers Yossie Yurowitz, A’H

Most of you know Joe as Yossie, but I have always known him as Joe.

I had the honor to know Joe for over 20 years both professionally and personally.

On a personal level he was a great friend. He was someone that was always available and was always willing to listen. Joe never lost his cool and rarely had anything negative to say about anybody and when I was around him I would try to emulate some of his great traits. He always spoke to Lila and the kids with the utmost respect and love. When I was around Joe and he would talk about Lila or his kids or his grandchildren he would get this great big smile on his face. His face and his smile would just tell it all. That he loved them so very much.

I remember that Joe used to smoke. I used to get into long conversations with Joe about his smoking and that it was so bad for him and that he needed another vice besides cigarettes. He would always fight back in his sweet witty way, and try to convince me that it was not that bad, and that he did not smoke that much. I of course did not stop harassing, him and I used to go out of my way to bother him every time he came back into the office after he smoked. I would harass him so often that after about 1 year he came to me and told me that he was going to stop smoking. Not because he thought it was bad for him, but because I harassed him so much that it was not worth dealing with me and my annoying words every day. And that it how Joe stopped smoking. He had the willpower to do whatever he set his mind to do. This tremendous drive of his was apparent both in his personal life, like when he got involved with Our Place and in his professional life, where he was able to land accounts that nobody else was able to. It was because of his unrelenting drive as well as his fantastic personality.


My favorite memories of Joe are when the entire Yurowitz family would come to our home in Monsey for Shabbos once a year during the summer on their way to visiting day. We did this for about 7 years. Joe would call my Atara and discuss the menu with her and ask her to make certain dishes that he ate the previous year, or he would tell her to make other new dishes. He loved discussing the menu with Atara and then they would have an entire conversation about what side dishes should be served and what paired better with the main dishes. He loved it and he would always be so thankful and complimentary. Atara said that she loved having him over because he was so appreciative of what went into the dishes that were prepared for Shabbos. He had a way of making everyone around him feel appreciated and special. Of course over the course of Shabbos Joe always had plenty of funny stories and divrei torah to share, all of which were told in a perfect Joe manner.

I remember when Atara and I went to visit Joe and Layalah in their new home in Monsey.  Joe was so excited to show me the backyard. He was looking forward to having a sleepover with his grandchildren outside in a tent. That was when I told him that there are bears in the area at which point he said he might have to reconsider. He walked me over to his sprinkler system and said to me that he actually finally had grass that will need to be watered here in Monsey and that he had no idea how to use one of these automatic sprinklers. He continued to show me the rest of his house pointing out how he would be able to have all of his kids and grandchildren over for shabbos and yom tov. His family was his world!! He could not have been more proud of them all!!

Joe changed the atmosphere in a room when he walked in. He was a presence in an unassuming way. We will forever be grateful for having Joe in our lives and we will miss him.

Elliot Kahan

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