Stories & Memories of Rabbi Yudi Dukes

By: Shoshana Nocks February 17

A friendship

My husband (Chanan) met Yudi when he was the bal koreh at Bais Levi Yitzchok in Crown Heights. They quickly became friends and used to borrow my husband's car for Sunday outings. Yudi and Sarah also warmly welcomed him into their home as a shabbos guest, where my husband would sing to their 2 oldest boys at bedtime. They made him feel at home, and served as fantastic role models. As a single bachur, they would invite Chanan to family get togethers even though he wasn't a relative, which was so special as Chanan didn't have family in NY.

Soon after I had the pleasure of meeting Yudi and Sarah, when their sister-in-law invited me to Crown Heights for a shabbos. They graciously opened their home and were very welcoming, positive, and non judgemental. I remember Yudi saying thank you for even bringing small things to their home, and Sarah's positivity. While at the time, I realized that they were an amazing couple and family, I didn't realize what giants they were in terms of their character and bitachon. As I grew to know them, I always looked up to Sarah for her wisdom and advice. She always had the right thing to say.

Thank Gd, we had the honor for them and their sister-in-law to be our shadchanim. My husband chose the honor of such a holy man, Yudi, to walk him to veil me at our wedding. It was only natural for Yudi to walk him after everything they did for him!

Last Purim, Yudi chased my son and me for a block (I didn't hear him calling my name), just to deliver shalach manos with a pun. He had a great sense of humor and thougt of a new pun each year to base their shalach manos off of.

Lastly, something that stood out about Yudi was his glowing, holy smile. Whenever he would greet my husband or me, that was the first thing that we'd notice.

May his memory be a blessing and we merit the ultimate redemption speedily!

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